Marion Wickersham, MS, CICA, Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination Consultant ::::
Case Synopsis: The self-employed owner of a pizzeria restaurant was allegedly injured in a trip and fall incident in 2014. Plaintiff’s expert argued that as a result of the injury, the plaintiff would have to close the pizzeria, but could obtain alternative employment elsewhere, claiming a loss of almost $1 million dollars.
Expert Analysis: Based upon an analysis of the documents provided in this case, specifically the plaintiff’s tax returns, it was determined that the plaintiff did not incur a loss directly and solely as a result of the subject incident. According to the tax records provided, the pizzeria’s net profits averaged around $30,000 for the five years preceding the subject incident, which were comparable to the net profits earned the year after the subject incident in 2015, also totaling around $30,000. Net profits of a business are subject to fluctuation based on many factors or variables including the economy and competition, among others. This is highlighted by the pizzeria’s gross sales, which fluctuated as high as around $250,000 in 2014 and as low as around $189,000 in 2013. Following the subject incident, the pizzeria’s gross sales remained in that same range; around $203,000 in 2015 and around $184,000 in 2016.