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Beatrice Sellouk v. Allied Aviation Service Co. of New York and Antonelli Merriwether

Case Name

Beatrice Sellouk v. Allied Aviation Service Co. of New York and Antonelli Merriwether

Type of Injury

HERNIATED LUMBAR DISC AND FACET JOINT HYPERTROPHY

Occupation

passenger service agent for American Airlines

Location

New York, NY

Verdict

$2,000,000 (5/1). Breakdown: $132,000 for past pain and suffering; $300,000 for past lost earnings; $46,000 for past household expenses; $488,000 for future pain and suffering?

Verdict Amount

$2,000,000.00

Case Details

XII/37-1 AIRPORT ACCIDENT AIRLINE EMPLOYEE STRUCK BY LOADED LUGGAGE CART HERNIATED LUMBAR DISC AND FACET JOINT HYPERTROPHY

Beatrice Sellouk v. Allied Aviation Service Co. of New York and Antonelli Merriwether 17261/87 9-day trial Verdict 3/13/95 Judge Marilyn Shafer, New York Civil

VERDICT: $2,000,000 (5/1). Breakdown: $132,000 for past pain and suffering; $300,000 for past lost earnings; $46,000 for past household expenses; $488,000 for future pain and suffering; $714,000 for future lost earnings; $157,000 for future household expenses; $163,000 for future medical expenses. Jury: 5 male, 1 female.

Pltf. Atty: Louis F. Brush, Mineola

Deft. Atty: Kevin F. Cook of Mendes & Mount, Manhattan

Facts: Pltf., a 30-year-old passenger service agent for American Airlines at Kennedy Airport, claimed that on 4/5/85, she was struck in the back by a luggage cart pushed by a skycap, Deft. Merriwether, who was employed by Deft. Allied Aviation. Pltf. contended that the cart was fully loaded. A non-party witness, who was employed by another airline, testified that she saw the cart hit Pltf. Evidence indicated that a luggage cart is 5 feet long, 2?-3 feet wide and, when fully loaded, weighs between 280 and 480 lbs.

Deft. Merriwether denied that he was pushing the cart at the time. He contended that he was 2?-3 feet away from the cart and that Pltf. backed into it. He also contended that the cart was only partially loaded at the time. Pltf. argued that there were inconsistencies in a prior statement that Deft. Merriwether made about the occurrence of the incident and in statements he made to a process server.

Injuries: bulging annulus with herniation at L4-5; facet joint hypertrophy at L4-5,S1; arthritis. Pltf. claimed that she can no longer work as an airline passenger service agent. She was working as a clerk at the time of trial. Deft.’s experts contended that Pltf. had no work limitations and could return to her previous job. Deft.’s orthopedic surgeon testified that there were no objective findings of any injury. Demonstrative evidence: MRI; reports by vocational rehabilitative expert; prior written statement by Deft. Merriwether. Offer: $35,000; demand: $1, 500,000; amount asked of jury: $2,126,671. Jury deliberation: 7 hours. Carrier: Lloyds of London. Pltf. Experts: Dr. Benzion Benatar, treating orth. surg., Bellmore; Dr. Ernesto Capulong, treating physical and rehabilitative physician, Oceanside; Richard Schuster, Ph.D., vocational rehabilitation, Manhattan; Dr. Conrad Berenson, Ph.D., economist, Woodbury . Deft. Experts: Dr. Peter Godsick, orth. surg., Manhattan; Edmond Provder, vocational rehabilitation, Manhattan.