Welcome to this week’s “What’s it Worth?”! We are excited for “jury trial pilots” to begin in Suffolk and Westchester Counties in the coming weeks and civil jury trials in Richmond County in mid-October. County administrative judges have reached out to attorneys who handle criminal cases in an effort to resume criminal trials in October. Although we cannot predict when any of our cases will be called in for trial, or how the court will respond to requests for adjournments, we expect that we will start to receive notices on our older cases within the next few weeks. What happens thereafter is anyone’s guess. Should you wish to discuss please give us a call.
CLARINGTON FORTUNE V. NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY (521950/17)
VENUE: Supreme Kings
TYPE OF CASE: Workplace Liability
FACTS: A 70-year-old laborer and his coworker were repairing a water tank that was located on the building’s roof. While completing the task, the coworker fell off the roof 20 feet onto the plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed that the NYC Housing Authority failed to provide a safe workspace and that it violated Labor Law §240(1).
- The plaintiff suffered a severely comminuted, displaced fracture of his left hip’s acetabulum (the round pelvic cavity that receives the head of the left leg’s femur).
- The plaintiff also suffered from a fracture of his pelvis’ ischium (another component of the hip).
- The plaintiff sustained a fracture of his pelvis’ left superior public ramus.
- He sustained damage of his left leg’s sciatic nerve.
- Immediately after the accident, the plaintiff underwent an open reduction and the internal fixation of a total of four plates, which were secured by screws.
- The plaintiff received skeletal traction.
- After 15 days in the hospital, the plaintiff stayed 106 days in inpatient rehabilitative therapy.
- Two years after the accident, the plaintiff received a left hip replacement, for which he was hospitalized for 10 days and underwent inpatient therapy for 4 weeks.
- The plaintiff claimed that the injury to his left sciatic nerve resulted in a foot drop (weakness or paralysis of the muscles that control the front part of the foot).
- The plaintiff claimed that the hip replacement produced a limp reduction and subsequent limb-length disparity, which has resulted in required use of crutches and a permeant brace that prevents dragging of his left foot.
- According to the plaintiff, the injuries have prevented his performance of many basic physical activities such as applying or removing his socks and shoes, as well as performing any type of work.
- The plaintiff’s expert physiatrist opined that the plaintiff requires further physical therapy and the assistance of a personal aide.
- The defense’s expert orthopedist opined that the plaintiff did not suffer from limb-length disparity.
- The defense’s life-care-planning expert opined that the plaintiff does not require aide or further treatment.
VERDICT: The jury awarded a total of $3,000,000 in pain and suffering: $2,000,000 for past and $1,000,000 for future 10 years.
ANGEL MOREL V. THE STATE OF NEW YORK (131498)
VENUE: Court of Claims, Manhattan
TYPE OF CASE: Auto Liability
FACTS: A 61-year-old shuttle bus driver was driving through an intersection when his bus was struck by a car driven by an on duty policeman. The plaintiff claimed that the policeman failed to stop at a stop sign, however a witness testified to seeing the defendant stop before proceeding through the intersection.
- The plaintiff claimed to suffer herniations of his C4-C5, C5-C6, L4-L5, and L5-S1 interverbal discs.
- The plaintiff received 5 months of physical therapy, however he claims to continue to have ongoing pain.
- The plaintiff received 2 epidural injections of steroid based pain killers, one directed towards his cervical region and one to his lumbar region, however he claimed that they did not provide long-term relief.
- Almost one year after the accident, the plaintiff underwent surgery which included a disctomy, excising his C4-C5 and C5-C6 discs, and a fusion of the corresponding levels of his spine.
- After his surgery, he received more physical therapy and two more epidural injections to his lumbar region.
- 8 months later, the plaintiff received a surgery including a discectomy, excising portions of his L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs, a laminectomy, excising a portion of the adjacent vertebra, and fusion of his spine’s L4-L5 and L5-S1 levels.
- The plaintiff received 2 months of physical therapy after the surgery.
- The plaintiff claims to suffer from residual pain and limitations, including an inability to sit or walk for long periods of time, hindered ability to sleep, and preform basic activities like cleaning or shopping.
- As a result of his injuries the plaintiff claimed that he was no longer able to drive long distances and unable to work.
- The plaintiff claimed that he will require more physical therapy.
- The defense counsel claimed that the plaintiff did not suffer a serious injury as defined by the no fault law, Insurance Law §5102(d). She claimed that the injuries were age-related degenerative conditions that predated the accident.
SETTLEMENT: The parties negotiated a settlement before the damages were tried. The State of New York agreed to pay $2,300,00.
DOO Y PARK V. MAURIZIO VIVIONA (710899/17)
VENUE: Supreme Queens
TYPE OF CASE: Auto Liability
FACTS: A 67-year-old man was driving when he was sideswiped by another car traveling on the same side of the street. Each driver filed a suit against the other driver, claiming negligence. The suits were joined for trial, however Maurizio Vivona’s claim was dismissed.
- 7 days after the accident, the plaintiff visited a physiatrist complaining of neck and back pain.
- The plaintiff claimed that he suffered a herniation of his L4-L5 interverbal disc.
- The plaintiff also claimed to have suffered from trauma induced bulges of his C3-C4, C4-C5, C5-C6, C6-C7, C7-T1, and L5-S1 discs.
- The plaintiff received chiropractic manipulation and physical therapy, however he claimed to experience continued pain.
- Approximately 1.5 months after the accident, the plaintiff underwent a percutaneous discectomy, involving an excision of a portion of his L4-L5 disc. Following the surgery, he received 6 months of physical therapy.
- The plaintiff claimed that the pain has hindered his ability to perform activities such as lifting objects or seating himself.
- The plaintiff also claims that he is no longer able to do activities that he previously enjoyed such as golfing.
- He also claimed that he will no longer be able to travel as he had hoped to after his retirement.
- Defense counsel claimed that the plaintiff did not suffer a serious injury and that the injuries were the result of age-related degeneration.
- The defense did not produce an expert witness or request an independent medical examination of the plaintiff.
VERDICT: The jury found that the plaintiff suffered a serious injury and awarded the plaintiff $75,000.