Christopher Fields v. State of New York

/ / Case Verdicts

Case Name

Christopher Fields v. State of New York

Type of Injury

FRACTURED CALCANEUS, WRIST AND BACK INJURIES

Occupation

carpenter

Location

White Plains, NY

Verdict

$576,772. Breakdown: $275,000 for past pain and suffering; $225,000 for future pain and suffering; $40,346 for past medical expenses; $5,000 for future medical expenses; $31,426 for past lost earnings; $0 for future lost earnings.

Verdict Amount

$576,772.00

Case Details

XVIII/2-36 SCAFFOLD ACCIDENT LIABILITY CONCEDED DAMAGES TRIAL FRACTURED CALCANEUS, WRIST AND BACK INJURIES

Christopher Fields v. State of New York Claim No. 97645 23-page Decision Filed 5/22/00 Court of Claims, White Plains

Judge: Andrew P. O Rourke

Decision: $576,772. Breakdown: $275,000 for past pain and suffering; $225,000 for future pain and suffering; $40,346 for past medical expenses; $5,000 for future medical expenses; $31,426 for past lost earnings; $0 for future lost earnings. Liability was conceded.

Clmt. Atty: Joel Bossom of Finkelstein, Levine, Gittelsohn & Partners, Newburgh

Deft. Atty: Liam O Brien of Mendes & Mount, L.L.P., Manhattan

Facts: On 8/28/96, Clmt., a carpenter who was 36 years old at the time of trial, was injured while employed on a construction project at Stewart International Airport. Clmt. fell approximately 8 feet from a scaffold onto a concrete surface. The State conceded liability under Labor Law ?240, and the trial proceeded damages.

Injuries: comminuted fractures to the right calcaneus; torn cartilage in the right wrist; soft tissue injuries to the back. The heel injury required three separate surgeries: open reduction and internal fixation, removal of hardware and scar tissue from the subtalar joint to restore motion, and a subtalar fusion (scheduled to be performed in October of 1998, but canceled because Clmt. suffered a subsequent hand accident). Clmt. s physician testified that Clmt. would be left with degenerative arthritis, permanent pain, and a permanent limp. Deft. s expert testified that a subtalar fusion was unnecessary, because it is required only in cases of intractable pain . Deft. conceded that Clmt. suffered atrophy of the right calf muscle, but concluded that the injuries Clmt. sustained should not have any bearing on the walking function. Clmt. contended that his injuries confined him to work as a shop carpenter and he could no longer work on construction projects because he could not climb ladders, or work at heights or on uneven surfaces. As a result, he claimed that his earning ability was reduced to less than $10 per hour, approximately one-third less than the hourly rate for a general carpenter. The court found, however, that proof indicated that Clmt. returned to work after his injury on restricted duty, and received the same rate of pay he had received prior to the injury. The court found that Clmt. would require a subtalar fusion in the future, but found speculative the contention that the possibility of a fourth surgery, a triple arthrodesis, would be required.

Clmt. Experts: Dr. Joel Mandel, orth surg., New Windsor; Dr. David L. Helfet, treating orth. surg., Manhattan.

Deft. Experts: Dr. Leon Sultan, orth. surg., Franklin Square; Edmond Provder, vocational rehabilitation, Manhattan.