We hope this edition of WIW finds you well. We are happy to report that anecdotally it appears that a few more cases are being tried each week with verdicts generally favoring the defense. We expect that starting in the first quarter of 2022 more and more cases will be tried throughout New York City, Nassau and Suffolk Counties. That said, one never knows. Now on to this week’s cases.
JIANG LINK ZHEN V. SAFETY-KLEEN SYSTEMS, INC. AND CHRISTOPHER MEYER (1:18-cv-6015)
VENUE: U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
TYPE OF CASE: Automobile Liability
FACTS: A 43-year-old salon owner was struck or collided with a truck as it was executing a left turn. The plaintiff claimed that the collision occurred in the crosswalk, the defendant claimed that the impact occurred outside of the crosswalk when the plaintiff suddenly emerged from between parked vehicles.
- The plaintiff suffered a comminuted, displaced fracture of her right femur.
- The plaintiff sustained a fracture of her pelvis’ pubis ramus.
- The plaintiff fractured her right sacral ala, one of the sacrum’s two bony projections.
- The plaintiff suffered degloving of portions of her buttocks and thighs.
- The plaintiff underwent an open reduction, internal fixation, and eternal fixation of her fractures.
- The plaintiff was transported to the hospital via ambulance and remained there for two months.
- The plaintiff underwent a short course of physical therapy which concluded within three months of the accident.
- The plaintiff claimed that her injuries prevented her from returning to work for approximately a year.
- The plaintiff claims that her back and thighs are permanently painful, which limits her functionality.
- The defense’s expert orthopedist opined that the plaintiff had nearly fully healed and said that any lingering lumbar pain could be resolved by removal of the sacrum’s fixation hardware.
- The defense’s expert neurologist opined that the plaintiff regained full motor strength and has no permanent neurological deficit related to the accident.
SETTLEMENT: After presentation of the plaintiff’s counsel’s case in chief, the parties negotiated a settlement in which the defendant’s insurer agreed to pay $1.85 million from a $5 million policy.
MICHAEL PARTRIDGE V. PECONIC CROSSING, LLC, CONIFER REALITY, LLC, CONFIER CONSTRUCTION, LLC, AND CONIFER-LECHASE CONSTRUCTION, LLC (616181/17)
VENUE: Supreme Suffolk
TYPE OF CASE: Workplace Liability
FACTS: A 22-year-old laborer and machinist was working with other laborers to unload steel pilings that were stacked on a flatbed trailer when a piling fell off the trailer in the direction of the plaintiff. The plaintiff fell to avoid the piling, injuring himself in the process.
- The plaintiff suffered a fracture of his left ankle’s lateral malleolus, the bony protuberance that extends towards the right leg.
- The plaintiff suffered a comminuted fracture of his left ankle’s posterior malleolus, the rear tip of the ankle’s tibial component.
- The plaintiff suffered a displacement of his left ankle’s talus, the small bone situated between the bones of the heel and leg.
- The plaintiff suffered a disruption of the syndesmosis, ligamentous tissue that minds the ankle’s primary bones.
- Four days after the accident, the plaintiff underwent an open reduction and internal fixation of his left ankle fractures.
- The plaintiff underwent four months of physical therapy for his ankle.
- The plaintiff underwent surgical removal of his left ankle’s fixation hardware.
- After the surgery, the plaintiff completed 13 weeks of physical therapy.
- The plaintiff claimed that his injuries prevented him from returning to work for 101 days.
- The plaintiff claimed that his ankle remained painful and that he suffers residual diminution of the ankle’s range of motion. He claimed that both effects are permanent.
- The defense counsel argued that the plaintiff had made a full recovery.
- The defense’s expert neurologist submitted a report in which he opined that the plaintiff only exhibits subjective residual effects.
SETTLEMENT: The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement in which the defendant’s insurer agreed to pay $800,000 from a $1 million policy.
MAZAL BEN JACOB V. SIBERIAN ICE, LLC. AND ARISTOKRAT CORP. (713055/2016)
VENUE: Supreme Queens
TYPE OF CASE: Premises Liability
FACTS: A 57-year-old hair-removal technician slipped and fell in a puddle created by a nearby decorative ice sculpture at a party.
- The plaintiff suffered a nondisplaced fracture of her left leg’s tibial plateau, a lower component of the left knee.
- The plaintiff claimed that she suffered a tear of her left knee’s medial collateral ligament.
- The plaintiff claimed that she sustained a tear of the posterior horn of the left knee’s medial meniscus.
- The plaintiff claimed that the knee developed synovitis: inflammation of joint-lining membrane.
- The plaintiff only completed two months of physical therapy, claiming that the treatment as too painful.
- The plaintiff received pain-killing injections, however she claimed they did not provide lasting relief and that her left knee developed osteoarthritis.
- The plaintiff underwent arthroscopic surgery on her left knee including a chondroplasty, which involved repair of cartilage; a meniscectomy, which involved excision of a damaged portion of the knee’s medial meniscus; and a synovectomy, which involved excision of inflamed tissue.
- After her surgery, the plaintiff resumed physical therapy.
- 28 months after the first surgery, the plaintiff underwent a left knee replacement.
- The plaintiff claimed that she continued to experience residual pain and limitations.
- The plaintiff claimed that she will require a second knee replacement in 10-12 years.
- The plaintiff claimed that she would require physical therapy and pain-killing injections in the future.
- The defense’s expert orthopedist opined that the plaintiff did not fall in way that could have caused a tear of the left knee’s medial meniscus, that the plaintiff’s osteoarthritis predated the accident, that the knee replacement surgery was not related to the accident, and that another knee replacement would not be necessary.
- The defense counsel argued that the plaintiff suffers little to no residual effects of the accident.
VERDICT: Following a bench trial the plaintiff was awarded $350,000 in past and $72,000 in future pain and suffering as well as $20,000 in future medical expenses.