Reasons to be cheerful. Election Day is less than two weeks away and the robo calls and political ads will soon come to an end. The Word Series is being played and some fans are actually in attendance. In New York City, it is still warm enough for outdoor dining and Mayor Bill DeBlasio has only 377 days left in office. No email was found with your name on it on Hunter Biden’s laptop. You were not on the Zoom call with Jeffrey Toobin. Juries were actually selected in civil cases in New York City in Supreme Court, Richmond County earlier this week. Finally the outcomes of the following cases were predictable.
MICHAEL SCOTT V. APNI CAR CORP AND SULEMAN ARIF (514565/16)
VENUE: Supreme Kings
TYPE OF CASE: Automobile Liability
FACTS: A 63-year-old photographer was riding his bicycle when his rear tire was stuck by a trailing vehicle, propelling him onto the road.
- Immediately after the accident, the plaintiff complained of pain in his back, neck, and his left, nondominant hand. At the hospital, he received x-rays and minor treatment.
- The plaintiff claimed that he suffered a tear of his left shoulder’s glenoid labrum (a fibrocartilaginous structure rim attached to the margin of the ball and socket in the shoulder blade).
- The plaintiff sprained his left, nondominant thumb,
- The plaintiff experienced herniations of his C2-C3, C3-C4, C7-T1, and L4-L5 intervertebral discs, and trauma induced bulges of his C5-C6, C6-C7, L1-L2, L2-L3, L3-L4, and L5-S1 discs.
- The plaintiff claimed to suffer from residual headaches.
- The plaintiff received physical therapy and chiropractic treatment for 14 months.
- In the four years following the accident, the plaintiff underwent the administration of five pain-killing epidural injections. Three directed at his lumbar region, two directed at his cervical region.
- The left thumb injury required an injection of cortisone.
- The plaintiff received neurological treatment to address the headaches.
- The plaintiff claims that his back, shoulder, and neck remain painful with limited range of motion, which has resulted in an inability to lift heavy photography equipment and has hindered his ability to do his job.
- Defense claimed that the plaintiff did not suffer a serious injury as defined by Insurance Law §5102(d). Counsel argued that the shoulder and back injuries were degenerative and therefore not a result of the accident.
- The defense’s expert neurologist and orthopedists both opined that the plaintiffs cervical and lumbar injuries resolved. The orthopedist also opined that the plaintiff’s back, neck, and shoulder all exhibited normal range of motion.
VERDICT: The jury found that the plaintiff did suffer a serious injury. The jury awarded the plaintiff $200,000, however the parties stipulated a high/low agreement prior to trial, so the plaintiff only received $100,000.
FLORICA PURKARI V. CAROL A. CARBONE (375/17)
VENUE: Supreme Queens
TYPE OF CASE: Automobile Liability
FACTS: A 58-year-old office manager was crossing the street in the crosswalk when she was struck by a motor vehicle.
- Immediately after the accident, the plaintiff complained of pain in her head, back, neck, rib cage, and body’s left side. At the hospital, she underwent x-rays and minor treatment.
- The plaintiff claimed that she suffered a nondisplaced fracture of a rib.
- The plaintiff suffered a partial tear of her right knee’s medial meniscus.
- The plaintiff claimed to experience a sprain of her left hip.
- The plaintiff claimed that she suffered herniations of her C5-C6, C6-C7, L2-L3, L3-L4, L4-L5, and L5-S1 intervertebral discs.
- The plaintiff received approximately 70 sessions of chiropractic treatment in addition to physical therapy.
- The plaintiff claimed that her injuries rendered her housebound for three months following the accident, causing her to lose her job.
- The plaintiff claimed that she continues to experience pain in her back and neck, which prevents her from walking or standing for long periods of time.
- The plaintiff’s treating orthopedist opined that she may require the administration of steroid-based pain killers as well as a fusion of portions of her spine’s cervical and/or lumbar regions.
- Defense claimed that the plaintiff did not suffer a serious injury as defined by Insurance Law §5102(d).
- The defense’s expert radiologist opined that the plaintiff’s injuries were not related to the accident, instead they were due to degenerative conditions.
- The radiologist also opined that the plaintiff did not fracture her rib. This opinion was confirmed by the defendant’s expert orthopedist.
- The defense’s expert orthopedist opined that all of the plaintiff’s injuries were resolved, a opinion which was supported by the defendant’s post-accident surveillance, in which the plaintiff performed her everyday activities without restriction.
VERDICT: The jury found that the plaintiff suffered from a serious injury, awarding $265,000 In damages. It is unclear from the available information if the award included lost wages.
MOLINA V. NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY (11858 303734/09)
REDUCED: March 4, 2014, Appellate Division, First Department
VENUE: Supreme Bronx
TYPE OF CASE: Slip and Fall
FACTS: A 47-year-old building engineer was walking down the stairs of the subway station when he slipped on a plastic bag. The jury found the defendant liable for the injury as the employees knew that there was regularly debris on the stairs, but they failed to take additional measures to clean the area.
- Immediately following the accident, the plaintiff was treated at the hospital with pain medication and a sling for his arm.
- The plaintiff claimed to suffer tears of his rotator cuff and labrum in his right shoulder, which in turn caused a rotator cuff tear of the supraspinatus tendon in his left shoulder due to overuse.
- The plaintiff suffered from a herniated disc at L5-S1.
- The plaintiff received physical therapy two and eventually three times a week for eight weeks.
- Six months after the accident, the plaintiff underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder to repair the tears.
- For the four months following the surgery, the plaintiff’s shoulder was immobilized in a sling.
- Eleven months after the accident, the plaintiff underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder to debride the tissue.
- The plaintiff suffered significant and permanent range of motion in both shoulders.
- The plaintiff received two epidural steroid injections for his herniated disc and will likely require future surgery.
- The defense argued that the plaintiff’s injuries were not nearly as extensive as he claimed. Counsel claimed that the plaintiff had preexisting arthritis and impingement of his right shoulder and preexisting degenerative changes in his lower back.
- The plaintiff’s counsel concede that the plaintiff had some preexisting conditions before the accident, however they were never so severe to require treatment.
REDUCTION: The jury awarded the plaintiff $600,000 for the past 3 years and $1,300,000 for the future 27 years of pain and suffering. The Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the jury’s award for past pain and suffering but reduced the award for future pain and suffering to $800,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, $1,400,000 in 2014 is equivalent to $1,542,119.32 in 2020.