“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Can Charles Dickens famous introduction to A Tale of Two Cities properly describe the current situation or is it too hopeful? Here’s the good news; the vaccine trials are bearing fruit, the New York Giants have won two games in a row, Bruce Springsteen’s new album is pretty good and you may not have to worry about discussing politics with your least favorite relative this Thanksgiving.
PETERSON V. MTA (9331/12)
REDUCED: November 8, 2017, Appellate Division, Second Department
VENUE: Supreme Kings
TYPE OF CASE: Automobile Liability
FACTS: A 67-year-old woman was sitting on the bus when it made a sharp turn, causing her half gallon bottle of milk to slide across the floor. When the bus came to a stop, the woman tried to retrieve her milk, but the bus made a sudden jerk, causing her to be thrown to the ground.
- Immediately after the accident, the plaintiff complained of head, neck, and shoulder pain. She was treated at the hospital, prescribed pain medication, and released.
- The plaintiff began chiropractic treatment four days after the accident, which she continued for one year.
- An MRI taken four months after the accident revealed that she had a torn rotator cuff and labrum in her left shoulder.
- The plaintiff underwent arthroscopic surgery on her left shoulder, followed by a year of physical therapy.
- Two years after the first surgery, an MRI of the right shoulder revealed a torn rotator cuff (from overuse) and supraspinatus muscle and fusion in the subacromial space.
- The plaintiff underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right shoulder, followed by seven months of physical therapy.
- The plaintiff claims to suffer from permanent significant range of motion deficits in both shoulders.
- The plaintiff claims to suffer from continued intense pain which at times radiates down her arms, spasms and limitations in both shoulders.
- The plaintiff claims that she is unable to carry groceries, cook, clean the house, play with grandchildren, travel, or jog.
- The plaintiff claims to suffer from intense lower back pain which prevent her from sitting for long periods of time.
- The plaintiff’s treating orthopedic surgeon testified that the plaintiff should not expect any further improvement or deterioration in either shoulder.
- The defense’s expert opined that her left shoulder surgery was successful, and she should only suffer from minor range of motion deficits.
REDUCTION: The jury awarded $800,000 for the past 3.5 years and $1,500,000 for the future 17 years of pain and suffering. The Appellate Division, Second Department reduced the award for future pain and suffering to $800,000. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, $1,600,000 in 2017 is equivalent to $1,715,625.58 in 2020.
DANIELLE S. COOK V. JOSEPH J. SIRENO AND ALBERT L. SIRENO (507922/18)
VENUE: Supreme Kings
TYPE OF CASE: Automobile Liability
FACTS: A 30-year-old social worker was making a right turn when her car collided with a car travelling on the westbound side of the street.
- Immediately after the accident, the plaintiff complained of pain in her back, left shoulder, and neck. She received minor treatment at the hospital.
- The plaintiff claimed that she suffered a sprain of her lumbar region and a strain of her cervical region.
- The plaintiff claimed to suffer a nonspecific injury of her left nondominant arm’s shoulder.
- The plaintiff claimed she developed tendinitis of her left shoulder’s supraspinatus tendon (component of the rotator cuff) and that her left shoulder developed bursitis.
- The plaintiff claimed her cervical region’s injuries caused impingement of a spinal nerve and resultant radiculopathy involving numbness of fingers.
- The plaintiff claimed that the injury to her left shoulder has caused her to overuse her right shoulder resulting in tears of her right shoulder’s glenoid labrum and subscapularis tendon (part of the rotator cuff). She also claimed she developed synovitis (inflammation of joint-lining membrane) and impingement of her right shoulder.
- The plaintiff received acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, and physical therapy multiple times a week for six months.
- 5 years after the accident, the plaintiff resumed physical therapy.
- 5 years after the accident, the plaintiff underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right shoulder including debridement of damaged tissue and removal of a spur. After the surgery, she resumed physical therapy.
- The plaintiff claimed that she was unable to work for 35 weeks following the accident and then again during the immediate after math of her surgery
- The plaintiff claims that her back and left shoulder painful and that she suffers decreased range of motion of left shoulder.
- The plaintiff claims that residual effects hinder her performance of physical activities.
- The defense counsel argued that the plaintiff did not suffer a serious injury as defined by Insurance Law §5102(d) and did not suffer from limitations relating to the accident.
- The defense’s expert orthopedist opined that the accident caused nothing more than injuries of she soft tissue, which have since resolved.
VERDICT: The jury found that the plaintiff suffered a serious injury, significant limitations of use of a body function or system, and a medically determined, nonpermanent injury or impairment that prevented her performance of substantially all of the material acts that would have constituted the usual and customary activities of 90 or more of the first 180 days that followed the accident. The jury awarded $15,000 for past and future pain and suffering.
STOCK V. AIR & LIQUID SYSTEMS (412 CA 19-01975)
AFFIRMED: October 9, 2020, Appellate Division, Fourth Department
VENUE: Supreme Erie
TYPE OF CASE: Asbestos Exposure
FACTS: The plaintiff was exposed to asbestos used in and on valves manufactures and supplied by Jenkins Bros. when he was employed by New York Wire Mills from 1979-1986. The plaintiff was admitted to the hospital for abdominal in August 2015. By December 2016, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
- The plaintiff suffered from abdominal and chest pain for the three years before the trial.
- The plaintiff underwent four rounds of chemotherapy and one round of radiation with complications.
- The plaintiff underwent eight surgeries including: a thoracotomy, rib resection, extra pleural pneumonectomy, and bronchial stump resection.
- The plaintiff claimed that he was unable to engage in recreational activities such as hunting, golfing, and working out.
- The plaintiff also claimed that he was unable to play with his grandchildren or perform household chores.
- The plaintiff was unable to continue working as a police officer.
- The plaintiff was 60 years old at the time of trial and passed away in September 2019 while the appeal was pending.
AFFIRMED: The jury awarded $4,500,000 for the past three years and $1,500,000 for the future one year of pain suffering. The Appellate Division, Fourth Department affirmed.