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Case Name

Type of Injury

WORKPLACE SAFETY

Location

Queens Supreme, NY

Verdict

The jury found that St. Jean's damages totaled $5,462,716.45.

Verdict Amount

$The jury found that St. Jean's damages totaled $5,462,716.45.

Case Details

Judge: Robert J. McDonald

Date: 10-22-2010

PLAINTIFF(S)

Attorney:

• Paul J. Edelstein; The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown, New York, NY, trial counsel, Lance E. Barnett; New York, NY, for Fan Fan St. Jean

• Daniel A. Thomas; Law Offices of Daniel A. Thomas, P.C.; New York, NY, for Fan Fan St. Jean

Expert:

• Dr. N.G. Berrill; Psychology/Counseling; Brooklyn, NY called by: Paul Edelsteins, Daniel Thomas, Paul Edelstein

• Charles Kincaid Ph.D.; Vocational Rehabilitation; Hackensack, NJ called by: Paul Edelstein, Daniel Thomas

• Kiril Kiprovski M.D.; Neurology; New York, NY called by: Paul Edelsteins, Daniel Thomas, Paul Edelstein

• Nirmal Tejwani M.D.; Orthopedic Surgery; New York, NY called by: Paul Edelsteins, Daniel Thomas, Paul Edelstein

• Frank Tinari Ph.D.; Economics; South Orange, NJ called by: Paul Edelsteins, Daniel Thomas, Paul Edelstein

• Alexander Weingarten M.D.; Pain Management; Syosset, NY called by: Paul Edelsteins, Daniel Thomas, Paul Edelstein

DEFENDANT(S)

Attorney:

• Gary Gardner; Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker LLP; New York, NY, for Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd., Donnie Archibald

• Paul J. Bottari; Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker LLP; New York, NY, for Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd., Donnie Archibald

Expert:

• Edmond Provder; Vocational Rehabilitation; Hackensack, NJ called by: Gary Gardner, Paul Bottari

• Edward Crane M.D.; Orthopedics; New York, NY called by: Gary Gardner, Paul Bottari

• Jonathan Garay M.D.; Pain Management; New York, NY called by: Gary Gardner, Paul Bottari

• William Head Jr., M.D.; Neurology; Staten Island, NY called by: Gary Gardner, Paul Bottari

Facts:

On Feb. 17, 2007, plaintiff Fan Fan St. Jean, 38, a truck driver, was struck by a forklift. The incident occurred in the Korean Air Lines hangar at John F. Kennedy International Airport, in Queens. St. Jean became pinned between the forklift and a concrete security stand, and eight or nine seconds passed before the forklift’s driver, Donnie Archibald, moved the vehicle and freed St. Jean. St. Jean sustained injuries of his pelvis.

St. Jean sued Archibald and Archibald’s employer, Korean Air Lines Co. Ltd. St. Jean alleged that Archibald was negligent in his operation of the forklift. St. Jean further alleged that Korean Air Lines was vicariously liable for Archibald’s actions.

Korean Air Lines accepted vicarious liability for Archibald’s actions and conceded negligence. St. Jean’s counsel subsequently discontinued the claim against Archibald, and the matter proceeded to a trial that addressed damages.

Injury:

St. Jean sustained three fractures of his pelvis. He was placed in an ambulance, and he was transported to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, in Queens. He was soon transferred to the NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, in Manhattan. His fracture was addressed via the insertion of two fixation pins. His hospitalization lasted about seven days, and he subsequently underwent rehabilitation.

After several months had passed, St. Jean’s doctor determined that St. Jean could resume work, albeit in a light-duty capacity. However, St. Jean claimed that he subsequently developed pain that stemmed from his back and legs, and he stopped working. An MRI scan revealed bulging discs and degenerative changes of other discs, and an electromyography revealed that he was suffering radiculopathy. St. Jean undergoes neurological treatment and pain-management treatment.

St. Jean further claimed that he developed residual anxiety and severe depression. He has undergone psychological counseling, and he contended that the treatment must continue.

St. Jean’s vocational-rehabilitation expert opined that St. Jean’s injuries and physical limitations, in addition to his limited education and prior work experience, will not allow him to obtain any meaningful capacity of work.

The parties stipulated that St. Jean’s past medical expenses totaled $131,551. St. Jean sought recovery of that amount, his future medical expenses, his past and future lost earnings, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering.

The defense’s expert orthopedist opined that St. Jean experienced a good recovery, and they noted that he was cleared to resume work. They claimed that any legitimate injuries were exaggerated and/or the result of degenerative conditions that were not related to the accident.

Defense counsel also contended that St. Jean’s psychological difficulties are an extension of a prior psychotic episode in which he attempted suicide and was confined to a psychiatric ward. They further contended that he had been advised to seek counseling for alcohol use.

The defense’s pain-management expert acknowledged that St. Jean experiences limitations, but he contended that St. Jean can perform full-time work. He also contended that St. Jean’s emotional injuries are nothing more than mild depression, and he opined that the condition was largely due to St. Jean’s breakup with his fianc?e.

The defense’s vocational-rehabilitation expert opined that St. Jean can perform various jobs and that St. Jean does not require as much medical treatment as he claimed to need.

Verdict Information: The jury found that St. Jean’s damages totaled $5,462,716.45.

Fan Fan St. Jean

$1,000,000 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost

$188,000 Personal Injury: Past Lost Earnings Capability

$1,143,165 Personal Injury: FutureLostEarningsCapability

$1,500,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering

$1,500,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering

$131,551 Personal Injury: past medical cost (stipulated)

Post-Trial: Post-trial motions are pending.