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Acosta v. United States

March 31, 2009

BEATRIZ ACOSTA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeffrey W. Johnson United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS OF FACT

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

1. Plaintiff Beatriz Acosta brings this action against defendant United States of America pursuant to the provisions of the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b), 2671-80, seeking damages for personal injuries.

2. Prior to filing this action, plaintiff timely submitted an administrative claim in the amount of $750,000, which was denied.

3. On March 23, 2007, this Court ruled that plaintiff is limited to the $750,000.00 amount requested in her administrative claim.

4. Plaintiff alleges that she sustained severe injuries to her low back in a car accident when a vehicle driven by an employee of the United States Army hit a motorcycle and the motorcycle then slid into the front of a Volvo station wagon in which plaintiff was a passenger.

5. A man gave plaintiff a business card from the Law Offices of Anthony Lopez (hereinafter "Mr. Lopez's office").

6. From the scene of the accident, plaintiff was taken to Olive View Hospital where she was x-rayed and released later that evening.

7. At Olive View, x-rays revealed that plaintiff had no fractures; she was told to take Tylenol for her pain.

8. Mr. Lopez's office referred plaintiff to all of her treating physicians, except for the emergency room treatment she received at Olive View on the day of the accident.

9. Mr. Lopez's office told plaintiff that she had to receive treatment only from the doctors they referred and could not seek treatment anywhere else.

10. Mr. Lopez's office first sent plaintiff to the Fields Health Center for chiropractic care.

11. Dr. A.M. Elbitash, the medical doctor at the Fields Health Center, testified that when he examined plaintiff, she had none of the indications for any surgical intervention for her low back.

12. Dr. Elbitash further testified that he was surprised to learn that plaintiff had later undergone multiple surgeries on her back because "the CAT ...


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