$31 Million Lawsuit: Orthopedic Surgeon Seeks Justice After Attack
Jessica Mehta • Tue, January 10th, 2017
Dr. Jamie Alexandra Dale, a (now former) orthopedic surgeon based in Virginia Beach, Virginia, filed a $31 million lawsuit against ex-boyfriend, ex-NFL Washington Redskins safety Curtis Jordan.
The civil lawsuit was filed in December 2016, nearly two years after the incident. A criminal lawsuit was filed 18 months ago. Both lawsuits are being handled by lead attorney Stephen M. Smith of the Brain Injury Law Center (Virginia Beach). Dale claims that Jordan, based in Texas, beat her so badly during a domestic altercation on January 2, 2015 that she can no longer practice orthopedic surgery.
Dale filed a criminal complaint with a Virginia Beach detective on January 22, 2015. Jordan was arrested on January 25, 2015, but was released the next day on a $20, 000 bond. The criminal complaint includes specifics of the attack including Dale’s head trauma, elbow bursitis, torn tendons, and loss of consciousness. Dale’s lawsuit details “horrific injuries” as the result of a “brutal attempted murder, leaving her with a brain injury and permanent physical injuries.”
The Dale vs. Jordan complaint states that following verbal arguments Jordan “swept Dr. Dale’s legs out from underneath her, slammed Dr. Dale into a door frame, held Dr. Dale down and repeatedly slammed her head and body against the floor, restrained Dr. Dale against the floor and choked her, and abandoned Dr. Dale to die without any medical attention.” Dale, now 47-years-old and Jordan (62-years-old) have a trial scheduled for March 21, 2017.
According to Dale, the two had been visiting various friends’ homes and bars watching college football games throughout the day on January 2, 2015. However, the fight broke out and turned physical when the couple arrived home just after midnight. Jordan allegedly “left her for dead, ” as stated in the lawsuit. Dale suffered from cuts and bruises on her face, head, spine, chest, neck, shoulders, knees, ankles, and wrists. Her right deltoid was torn and there were numerous tears in both ankle ligaments.
Dale’s lawsuit states that Jordan left, but it took hours to get help since she was largely unconscious. Neighbors finally noticed and called the police, but by that time she was also severely dehydrated. Her attorney, Stephen M. Smith, says Jordan “beat her almost to death and he has not shown one bit of remorse.” Jordan is a former safety for the Washington Redskins, rising to fame as a Texas Tech college star, and played for the NFL from 1976-1986. He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and in the 1983 Super Bowl XVII Washington Redskins vs. Miami Dolphins. Since completing his NFL career, Jordan has owned numerous restaurants in Texas including Five Guys Burger and Fries franchises.
Ending an Orthopedic Career
Dale and her attorneys filed the $31 million civil lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Norfolk. Claims include assault, intentional infliction of emotional duress, and gross negligence. Dale previously charged Jordan with three criminal felonies in the Virginia Beach Circuit Court including claims of strangulation, felony theft of a firearm, and malicious wounding. During the altercation, court documents reveal that Dale retrieved her (legally acquired gun) in self-defense after Jordan had repeatedly slammed her head into the floor. He forced the gun from her, resulting in the felony theft of a firearm charge. No shots were fired and the gun was unloaded.
To save herself, Dale then locked herself in a bedroom and Jordan allegedly began cleaning up and taking personal items. Her lawsuit states she went “in and out of consciousness” while “bleeding profusely on her bed, close to death.” Neither Dale nor Curtis called 911.
Jordan’s attorney, James Broccoletti of Zoby, Broccoletti, & Normile (Norfolk, Virginia), claim that Jordan is exaggerating claims to mar Jordan’s reputation.
Dale’s attorney included numerous photos of her battered, bruised body as part of the lawsuit. Broccoletti points to Smith’s discussion of the case with various Virginia and Texas media outlets as evidence of a smear campaign. Broccoletti also notes that Dale was released from the hospital in less than 24 hours and that “the emergency room wouldn’t have released her if she had such significant injuries.”
However, for Dale the fallout includes side effects beyond the alleged physical, mental, and emotional pain suffered—she’s also been told she’ll never practice orthopedic surgery again. Instead, she can “only consult.” Smith says that the sustained injuries were so severe and permanent that it’s ended her career. The lawsuit claims Dale’s injuries have left her with “an inability to perform her prior precision work as a highly respected orthopedic surgeon.”
As an orthopedic surgeon, Dale was affiliated with the Sentara Leigh Hospital and had enjoyed her career for 19 years before the altercation. According to the Medscape Orthopedist Compensation Report, the average income for orthopedic surgeons is $422, 000 per year, with the average earning of orthopedic specialists hovering around $730, 000. Orthopedic surgeons are regularly touted as the top-earning surgeons according to several compensation surveys and Orthopedics This Week. By contrast, the average “consultant” salary is on par with a general physician according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—approximately $184, 390. Although Dale’s salary details are not public, it’s relatively safe to assume that her earning potential has been at best cut in half.
Civil and Criminal Happenings
The criminal charges were filed nearly one year ago and it’s common practice to wait until criminal lawsuits are completed before filing civil charges. However, Smith wanted to act fast. He says the criminal lawsuit has been stagnant, left pending, and repeatedly postponed. The statute of limitations is getting close, and Smith wants to ensure Dale sees justice. “It’s outrageous this has gone on for so long, ” he says.
Although the lawsuit doesn’t provide compensation details, Dale is suing for $30, 768, 456 in compensatory damages and $350, 000 in punitive damages. It’s likely that part of the multi-million dollar request is to offset her lost wages, both since the attack and in the future.
Forced Career Changes
According to the American Medical Association, doctors are enjoying longer careers and retiring much later. Doctors also tend to retire later than most other professionals. Between 1970 and 2008, the number of physicians over the age of 65 has increased 408%. Some of that incredible spike is due to Baby Boomers and general population growth, but that doesn’t account for the full increase. The Health Resources and Services Administration estimates that once a physician has completed his/her residency, the average “career span” is 35 years. Dale had been a renowned orthopedic surgeon for just 19 years when Curtis’ alleged attack left her unable to continue her career.
With an estimated 16+ years of a lost career, and given the average orthopedic surgeon’s salary, Dale likely lost millions of dollars in future earnings.
However, Dale’s stopped career is only part of what will be a lifelong path of healing, recovery, and pain management. Her sustaining injuries will also impact many other aspects of her life, from enjoying hobbies to maintaining quality of living. Dale’s lawsuit claims that the “permanent personal injuries of body and mind” have led to ongoing and future medical costs and expenses, permanent injury, loss of income in the past and future, loss of earning capacity in the past and future” as well as incredible mental anguish, physical pain, and aggravation of pre-existing conditions.
Dale is currently affiliated with various hospitals and healthcare centers in the Virginia Beach area including Sentara Leigh Hospital and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. A graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, she continues to see patients (current and new) while pursuing the criminal and civil cases. Her attorney, Smith, is hopeful that there will be no more postponements and that the lawsuits will be promptly handled so Dale can move forward in her new, unexpected, role as an orthopedic consultant.