Some cases of note that were handled by our attorneys:
Giaccotto v. NYCTA, 184 A.D.2d 355 (1st Dept. 1992). The plaintiff pedestrian was injured in a fall into a subway air shaft and brought an action for negligence against the New York City Transit Authority. After a jury verdict for $660,000, this office undertook an appeal which resulted in a reversal. On appeal, the Appellate Division, First Department, reversed and remanded holding that the failure to submit to the jury a factual question as to whether tampering with subway air shaft grate was sufficiently overt and took place over a sufficiently long period of time to afford the Transit Authority, in the exercise of reasonable care, an opportunity to discover and remedy the situation and required retrial. Upon the retrial, the matter was settled for only $25,000, approximately 3.5 percent of the verdict.
Pena v. New York City Transit Authority, 185 A.D.2d 794 (1st Dept. 1992). In a personal injury action brought against the New York City Transit Authority, the Supreme Court, Bronx County, Shapiro, J., set aside the jury verdict against the New York City Transit Authority and directed a new trial. The Appellate Division held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in setting aside the verdict and affirmed the trial court below.
Feaster v. New York City Transit Authority, 172 A.D.2d (1st Dept. 1991). Plaintiff, who fell to the subway tracks as a train was entering the station during a World Series, was run over resulting in the amputation of his leg. The verdict in favor of the plaintiff was $3,250,000 and reduced to almost $2,250,000 for 30 percent comparative negligence. We won a unanimous reversal. This decision is the only one known to the writer that specifically deals with treatment of video accident reconstruction which we employed and the standard to be applied for its introduction into evidence. Upon retrial, the case was settled for $120,000, about three and a half percent of the original damages verdict.
Echevarria v. New York City Transit Authority, Supreme Court, New York County. The plaintiff in this case had claimed that he had his foot caught between the train and the platform at 23rd Street on the A line on March 14, 1998, when he was propelled across the platform and injured his shoulder. Against the demand of the plaintiff for $300,000, a verdict was obtained in favor of the New York City Transit Authority.
Pendleton v. New York City Transit Authority, Supreme Court, Queens County. In Pendleton, the plaintiff was stopped waiting to make a left turn when he was hit in the rear by a bus operated by a NYCTA bus operator that pushed his vehicle into oncoming traffic where he collided with another vehicle. Although the plaintiff testified that he was stopped and ready to make a left turn when he was hit in the rear, the defense interposed on behalf of the New York City Transit Authority was that he had stopped short. Although the case was settled just before the verdict was handed up, it should be noted that the jury found that the plaintiff was, in fact, negligent, but there was no finding of proximate cause.
Manning and Dockery v. New York City Transit Authority, Supreme Court, New York County. Plaintiffs were New York City police officers on duty driving back to their command when their vehicle went out of control and hit a lamppost a block away. The plaintiffs claimed that the bus operator, in pulling away from the patrol car, skidded and caused them serious injury. The passenger was settled within the authority given to us by the Borough Chief. The driver refused to settle at the amount offered and we interposed the defense, without any eyewitnesses besides the bus operator, that it was physically impossible for the bus to cause this accident. Using a professional engineer as an accident reconstruction expert, we proved to the satisfaction of the jury that the accident with this police officer did not occur as both plaintiffs swore it happened, and a verdict in favor of the Transit Authority was rendered.
Williams v. New York City Transit Authority, Supreme Court, Queens County. This was an action brought by a customer who fell while disembarking from a bus. Her claim was that she should not have been permitted to disembark over a sewer grating which she claimed caused her foot to twist and resulted in her injuring her knee and leg. She suffered grievous injuries and required an intramedullary rod inserted which was followed by a total knee replacement. Special damages were in excess of $100,000, yet we informed plaintiff’s counsel that we would not settle the case under any circumstances. That resulted in counsel’s choosing to abandon the case and discontinue the action against the New York City Transit Authority during jury selection.
Martin v. Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority, 73 A.D.3d 481 (1st Dept. 2010) (affirming verdict 4 -1 for the defendant). In an action for negligence, the plaintiff sued the TBTA for having his disabled vehicle pushed across the Queens bound span to Astoria, Queens, where the plaintiff’s vehicle collided with the rear of a stopped 18 wheeler trailer. Plaintiff underwent bilateral rotator cuff surgeries, complained of herniated discs and made claim for loss of earnings for six months as an OR maintenance supervisor. The demand was $1,200,000 from the jury. The law department of the NYCTA, which was defending the case for the TBTA up to the time he was assigned to try the case, permitted him to retain the services of an engineer and his defense turned on his accident construction. In affirming the verdict for the TBTA, the Appellate Division held that it was not an abuse of the trial court’s discretion to permit the engineer’s testimony. To say the least, it was that testimony that carried the day.
Selwyn Building Collapse. Represented an insured of AIG Excess Select involving the collapse of an office building on West 42nd Street near Times Square. No one thought it was possible, but Mr. Laquercia was able to place into evidence a computer-generated accident reconstruction which was played for the jury during trial and summation. One plaintiff, the New York State Development Authority, represented by an attorney who is now on the Court of Appeals, demanded $1.6 million to settle. Counsel for the plaintiff turned down an offer of $910,000 during jury deliberations and was awarded only $750,000 by the jury.