What a week! Looking at the glass half full it appears that everyone agrees that the vaccine needs to be distributed more quickly to more people in more places. Places like Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. Everything else is a bit of a mess unless you are a fan of either the Cleveland Browns or the Buffalo Bills. More to the point of our newsletter, this week’s cases give us some hope that we can actually get good jury verdicts and good decisions on damages from the Appellate Divisions.
SAMLAL V. GHANBARPOUR (301554/15)
INCREASED: November 17, 2020, Appellate Division, First Department
VENUE: Supreme Bronx
TYPE OF CASE: Slip and fall
FACTS: A woman slipped and fell on ice in the parking area of the multi-family house she was renting.
- The plaintiff suffered from a bimalleolar ankle fracture (injuries to both the medial and lateral ends of the fibula) with lateral angulation of distal fibular fragment.
- The plaintiff underwent a closed reduction of her ankle and received a cast on the day of the accident.
- The plaintiff underwent an open reduction internal fixation surgery with insertion of metal plates and screws.
- The plaintiff remained in a cast for two weeks after the accident. Once the cast was removed, she used a boot and crutches for two months.
- The plaintiff received physical therapy for one year.
- The plaintiff claims to suffer from loss of range of motion and daily pain.
- The plaintiff also claims that her injuries have hindered her ability to stand for long periods of time, wear high heels, and perform household chores.
- The plaintiff suffers from three very visible scars at the surgical site.
- The defense counsel argued that the plaintiff was in no distress at the time of the trial as she walked without a limp and had no residual disability.
ADDITURE: The jury awarded $150,000 for the past four years of pain and suffering. The Appellate Division, First Department affirmed $150,000 for past and awarded an additional $200,000 for future pain and suffering for a total of $350,000.
HADJIDEMETRIOU V. JUANREZ (13268/14)
INCREASED: October 28, 2020, Appellate Division, Second Department
VENUE: Supreme Queens
TYPE OF CASE: Automobile Liability
FACTS: A 68-year-old man was stopped at a red light when his car was struck in the rear, resulting in his knee striking the dashboard.
- The plaintiff declined medical attention at the scene.
- Five days after the accident, the plaintiff reached out to an orthopedic surgeon due to pain and swelling in his knee.
- The plaintiff underwent an MRI which revealed a complex tear of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus.
- The MRI also showed mild degenerative changes of the lateral meniscus, and high-grade cartilage loss of the central patella.
- Over a year after the accident, the plaintiff underwent an arthroscopic surgery including a partial medial meniscectomy.
- Following the surgery, the plaintiff received two months of physical therapy.
- The plaintiff claims to continue to experience pain going up stairs and inability to jog.
- The plaintiff claims that he will require a total knee replacement in the next seven years.
- The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon opined that the plaintiff did not tear his meniscus in the accident and therefore did not need the meniscectomy.
- The defense’s expert orthopedic surgeon also opined that the plaintiff’s injuries were due to degeneration, aging, wear and tear. He noted that the plaintiff had pre-existing osteoarthritis and chondromalacia in his knees.
- The plaintiff claimed that before the accident, he did not experience any symptoms related to the pre-existing conditions.
ADDITURE: The jury awarded $2,000 for the past three and a half years of pain and suffering, nothing for future pain and suffering. The Appellate Division, Second Department increased the award for past pain and suffering to $50,000.
ABDELZAHER V. SALLUSTIO
REDUCED: September 10, 2014, Appellate Division, Second Department
VENUE: Supreme Kings
TYPE OF CASE: Assault
FACTS: The plaintiff is a livery driver who drove the defendant’s daughter home, where she resided with the defendant. When a dispute arose regarding the fare, the defendant hit the plaintiff with t a baseball bat. The defendant plead guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge; therefore, liability was already determined. The case then proceeded to monetary damages.
- The plaintiff was taken to the emergency room immediately following the accident where he was treated and released.
- The plaintiff’s treating physician opined that the plaintiff sustained a fracture of the little finger of his left hand. The finger was immobilized in a case for six weeks.
- The plaintiff claims to have sustained permanent limitation of range of motion of his left hand.
- The treating physician also testified that the plaintiff sustained a knee injury.
- The plaintiff received therapy for two to three months following the incident.
- The plaintiff claimed that he was afraid to go out at night and was unable to work for eight months following the accident.
- The plaintiff claimed that he was unable to work in the hotel industry, as he was trained to, because he could not carry heavy luggage.
REDUCTION: The jury awarded $50,000 for past and $125,000 for future pain and suffering. The Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed $50,000 for past pain and suffering and set aside the verdict as contrary to the weight of the evidence and excessive and remitted to the Supreme Court, Kings County for a new trial on the issue of damages for future pain and suffering unless the parties agreed to reduce the damages to $75,000 for future pain and suffering. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, $125,000 in 2014 is equivalent to $136,785.78 in 2021.