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Kersta v. Inserra T/A Shop-Rite

A male in his late 70s allegedly suffered bacterial endocarditis, with attendant mitral valve prolapse as a result of a 25-pound box of motor oil striking him in the face and causing dental injury. The box of motor oil was inadvertently knocked over by an employee of the store. Plaintiff underwent dental repair without advising his dentist of the need to have prophylactic antibiotics as a result of a mild mitral valve prolapse, which had previously been diagnosed. Defendant contended that the mitral valve prolapse was becoming more severe prior to the accident, that the left anterior descending artery blockage was unrelated to the mitral valve prolapse or the bacterial endocarditis and that the $103,000 in medical bills was primarily related to surgery to repair the mitral valve prolapse and the left anterior descending artery blockage.

Likewise, defendant contended that plaintiff was negligent in failing to advise his dentist of the need for the prophylactic antibiotics as a result of the dental work that was to be performed as a result of the accident. The trial lasted eight (8) days. The jury, after 2 1/2 hours of deliberation, returned a verdict in the amount of $35,000 assessing 75 percent liability against defendant and 25 percent against plaintiff for his failure to advise of the need to take prophylactic antibiotics. Accordingly, the net verdict was $26,250. Plaintiff’s demand throughout the course of the trial was $500,000.

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