Woman seeks damages from 2014 collision in Port Townsend

Attorney: Client has not recovered

PORT TOWNSEND — A woman who was struck from behind by a bus is seeking damages in a civil trial scheduled to start today at the Jefferson County Courthouse.

The trial will be in the Superior Courtroom at the courthouse, 1820 Jefferson St.

Harmony Pinette was driving her 2013 Subaru Outback on Water Street in downtown Port Townsend when she stopped to allow another driver to enter traffic on April 27, 2014, according to court documents.

When she was stopped, she was hit from behind by Timothy Rote, who was driving a bus for EJB Facilities Services, a contractor for the U.S. Navy.

Neither party disputes Rote being at fault for the collision, but Pinette’s attorney said she also sustained a minor traumatic brain injury and several other ailments from which she hasn’t recovered.

Those injuries include a cervical sprain, thoracic sprain and lumbar sprain as well as a left shoulder rotator cuff tear, according to court documents.

“Unfortunately, Ms. Pinette’s brain has never fully recovered from the subject motor vehicle collision,” attorney Rafael Urquia filed Wednesday in a trial brief. “She continues to experience daily traumatic brain injury symptoms.”

Pinette is seeking unspecified damages “for personal injuries, property damage, loss of use of [her] vehicle, costs of medical treatment, loss of income and earning capacity, past and future pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, and loss of enjoyment of life, as well as any other damages that may be shown at trial,” according to the complaint filed in July 2016.

Scott T. Schauermann, an attorney from Hitt Hiller Monfils Williams LLP of Portland, Ore., said in response that Pinette’s negligence contributed to her injuries because she stopped “abruptly without apparent cause or reason,” according to court documents.

The trial may take as many as seven business days with expert medical witnesses available to be called from both parties.

Pinette allegedly stopped to allow a car into traffic that had been parallel parked near Waterfront Pizza in the 900 block of Water Street, according to the complaint.

Rote was an employee of EJB Facilities Services acting within the scope of his employment, and the company was the registered owner of the vehicle, the document said.

Pinette was transported by ambulance to Jefferson Healthcare hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with a lumbar strain, Urquia wrote in his trial brief.

She was discharged but returned the following day, and doctors diagnosed her with a concussion, according to court documents.

Two days after the collision, Pinette started to receive chiropractic treatment, court papers said.

Then she saw a neurologist at Olympic Medical Center, where Dr. Kelvin Ma diagnosed her with a mild traumatic brain injury caused by the collision, Urquia said.

“In order to treat her neck, back and shoulder, [Pinette] visited multiple providers since the collision, including physical therapists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, massage therapists and primary care providers,” Urquia said in his trial brief.

They included Dr. Jennifer Zumsteg, a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle who specializes in brain injuries, according to court documents.

Pinette also started cognitive speech therapy at Jefferson Healthcare in December 2017, court papers said.

Exhibits submitted from both parties include vehicle photographs, traffic collision reports and medical records.

Schauermann has asked for the complaint to be dismissed with prejudice and that the defendants recover their court costs.

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Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at [email protected].

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