Friday, October 27, 2006

Sali's Lawsuit (Long post)

In May, 1998, Bill Sali was in an auto accident and subsequently sued for damages. I post below excerpts from various documents filed in that lawsuit. Most, if not all, of this info was reported by Dan Popkey in 2000, and led to the infamous Sali statements about having “brain fade” and "Much of the time in the legislature critical thinking skills are not necessarily needed.”

I have been sitting on these documents since June, wondering whether I should publish them. However, Sali recently brushed off a Grant request to correct a misleading statement and Sali replied that "politics is a contact sport". So, some highlights from the court file.

Sali, who was wearing a seatbelt, was driving about 35-40 mph in his Toyota Cressida and t-boned another vehicle. He described the accident here in a document prepared and signed by him.

Note the fractured syntax and grammar where he writes “When I looked back ahead, [back ahead?] the Defendant’s did not yield from her stop sign...” He made “Defendant’s” possessive, and if it was supposed to be plural, he has a tense error with the singular pronoun “her.” No wonder it took him “30 drafts to find acceptable language” for his parental consent abortion law, “delaying action from 1999 to 2000. (Popkey Article)

Is this the guy we want for our Representative? He’s either sloppy or poorly educated, and incredibly inefficient; 30 drafts to write bill that was later overturned in the courts.

In his answer to Interrogatory No. 12, Sali wrote "the impact threw Plaintiff [Sali] forward and Plaintiff hit his head on the molding at the top of the windshield. Dr. Tobe at St. Alphonsus Emergency Room on the day of the accident diagnosed "Acute Closed Head Injury" Dr. Jutzy's diagnosis was a "concussion" on follow up 4 days later." This is either a run on sentence or Sali omitted a period after "Injury". More sloppiness.

A physician who later examined Sali provided more detail. Apparently Sali went to church and then home after the accident rather than straight to the emergency room.

Sali alleged various injuries from the accident in addition to the closed head injury, which is another way of saying brain damage. Sali said that he suffered low back and left leg pain, weakness and loss of coordination of his left arm and leg, and more. He reported to his doctor in June 1999 that he experienced stuttering, poor sleep, difficulty concentrating, and slow thought processes. He said he felt like there was a tight band around his brain, and as if his face was sagging. The doctor considered psychomototor retardation and reactive depression. The doc also wrote that Sali had been making some progress in therapy, but "His therapist notes some inconsistencies in his lower limb weakness...". Sali tried various modalities, including Paxil, Zoloft, Acupuncture, and Ritalin.

As more doctors examined Sali, they learned more and doubts began to emerge. It appeared that Sali was exaggerating in an effort to pump up damages.

Intermittant stuttering. Good short and long term memory.

Pain with virtually any movement, but normal motor testing. Weak (2/5 power) in foot and toe, but full strength walking. In other words, faking it.

Examination grossly exaggerated and inconsistant. Unable to move a muscle group but later able to move it fully.

Even though he alleged leg pain caused by the accident, Sali had been seeing docs for similar symptoms. A chiropractor over 100 times, and another doc around 80 times.

Sali's doc refused to give Sali a handicapped sticker and discharged Sali as patient. The doc said he was concerned about being "used" for "secondary gain purposes", i.e., to pump up damages.

Sali's doc summed it up thus: "inability to perform certain physical maneuvers while being obviously observed, but the patient was able to perform the same maneuvers freely when he though[t] he was not being observed."

I'm all for making your best case in a lawsuit. That's the point of the game. Lying about symptoms goes too far, however, especially when you're not smart enough or devious enough to be consistent. Don't take my word for it. A physical therapist, an MD and psychiatrist all concluded that Sali's complaints were inconsistent. Sali's own treating physician discharged Sali as a patient because the doc didn't want to "help this man build a large settlement case..".


Robert P said...

Irony is when you suffer from closed head injury, then cut funding for the research and treatment of those same injuries. This type of injury is extremely common in Iraq, often because they are speading to avoid IEDs and get into wrecks.

Anonymous said...

You really shouldn't misspell "grammar".

Anonymous said...

looks like you smoked him! alright!

Anonymous said...

I was going to say the same thing as the previous Anonymous poster... it's probably a good idea to check your grammar and spelling if you're going to pick on someone else's.

That said, this is an excellent post. When Sali leaves his office for the final time, I wonder whether he'll walk with a limp?

Anonymous said...

And he hates "Trial Lawyers" unless he needs one for a bogus lawsuit. If this guy wins then Idaho deserves him.

Alan said...

Thanks for the grammar/grammer catch. I ran spell checker and had a friend proof the text, but still missed. Indeed, mea culpa for committing the same mistake I zinged Sali for.

I have now fixed the error.


Anonymous said...

Yet another of the anti-trial lawyers community using a ... trial lawyer??? Santorum pulled a similar stunt in PA. His wife sued over a "back injury" and won a sizable award. Instead of amending his previous anti-"frivolous" lawsuit remarks, Santorum tried to take the tack that it gave him feminist credentials that his wife was "free" to do things he disagreed with. LOL.

Daniel said...

"...sloppy or poorly educated"?

Be careful, they might accuse you of insulting our troops!

El Ranchero said...

RE: tense error: Tense applies to verbs, e.g. "did not yield" vs. "will not yield" vs. "is not yielding."

Number applies to nouns and pronouns, e.g. "her" vs. "their."

Anonymous said...

Not to defend Sali, but I don't think that you can blame him for the poor writing in the interrogatories. I am a trial lawyer in Michigan and more often than not you or your secretary prepares typed interrogatory answers to written ones your client has prepared. Commonly, your client waits until the day the answers are due to give you his notes and it is a mad scramble to get them in on time.

Alan said...

Anonymous trial lawyer in Michigan, I agree with your comments about interrogatory prep. In this case, Sali was representing himself so is responsible for any mad scramble.

I guess the sloppiness criticism is not a big deal; I was guilty of such with this post as well. The dissembling is a bigger deal.

el ranchereo, thanks for the clarification on tense vs. number.

lileaster said...

PS - Sali is backed by the trial lawyers..check out the FEC report kids. Really should not post comments on shit you do not know.

Ron Grant said...

Voting against Tort Reform must be what Candidate Sali means when he says he'll stand up to Republican Leadership...

Diaried here:

Clayton said...

Oddly enough, I know enough people who have actually been through traffic accidents that I would say that your case against Bill Sali isn't very strong.

My then fiancee, now wife, was in a bad traffic accident in 1979. Right afterwards, she felt fine. The next morning, she had me take her to the E/R because she was in a lot of pain. That's not an uncommon reaction.

The problems of inconsistent responses may indicate fraud, but they may also indicate a psychosomatic response to pain. Remember that a body can respond to pain in ways that things worse. (I'll introduce you to my upper back for more details.) The problem of soft tissue damage being impossible to prove or disprove is part of why this is an area where fraud is widespread--and part of why the doctor admitted that "I could be wrong."

Alan said...

I agree that soft tissue injury may not manifest for some time after the accident. It often takes a while for the tissue to swell and begin to hurt. I litigated car crash cases for several years and am familiar with the delayed response.

A true closed head injury may cause changes to mentation, but they won’t come and go, and they certainly won’t come and go based on whether you’re being observed.

It is a pretty extreme step for a doc to jettison a patient and to allege that the patient is using the doc to build a case. I think that’s why the doc waffled with the “I could be wrong” statement.

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Michael J Brown said...

Its funny how you critisize his ability in language, yet you ask us to trust a doctor who can't even spell Bill's name correctly. This guy's a PhD, yet he can't even spell his clients name right? Dude, get this, your entire blog is flawed for the following reasons:

1. You emphasize that brilliance is dependant on your grammar ability, yet your only source can't even get his name right.

2. If you want to argue politics, none of this is relavent because it does NOT pertain to Bill Sali, for it pertains to a Mr. Salli... sorry bro, you effectively defeated your own blog... Idiot

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man said...

PS - Sali is backed by the trial lawyers..check out the FEC report kids. Really should not post comments on shit you do not know.
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