Frank Besier v. NYCTA
Type of Injury
New York, NY
$2,275,000, reduced to $1,251,250 for 45% comparative negligence of Pltf. (5/1).
XI/49-2 SUBWAY ACCIDENT PASSENGER FALLS FROM BETWEEN SUBWAY CARS TO TRACKS BELOW-THE-KNEE AMPUTATION
Frank Besier v. NYCTA 40600/90 5-day trial Verdict 4/15/94 Judge Walter J. Relihan, Jr., New York Supreme
VERDICT: $2,275,000, reduced to $1,251,250 for 45% comparative negligence of Pltf. (5/1). Breakdown: $500,000 for past pain and suffering; $500,000 for future pain and suffering; $75,000 for past lost earnings; $1,200,000 for future lost earnings. Jury: 4 male, 2 female.
Pltf. Atty: Daniel Crupain of Crupain & Greenfield, Manhattan
Deft. Atty: Michael Figliolia, Brooklyn
Facts: The accident occurred on 7/16/88 at 1:50 AM at Deft.’s 57th St. subway station in Manhattan. Pltf., a 26-year-old trucker’s helper at the time, testified that he boarded the last car of a northbound train through a passenger door which opened in front of him where he was waiting on the platform of the Union Square station in Manhattan. He testified that he was the only one in the car, and during the ride uptown he realized that the passenger doors were not opening at the stations. Pltf. claimed that he attempted to go to the next car where he anticipated that the doors would be working. The door at the end of the car was unlocked and he stepped into the area between the subway cars, but the door to the next car was locked. Pltf. testified that he turned to go back to the first car when the train lurched, causing him to fall to the tracks. The train ran over him.
The subway cars are 75 feet long with large gaps between each one. Pltf.’s experts testified that the area was unsafe because they had inadequate barriers to prevent falls to the tracks. Pltf. contended that the subway car that he originally boarded should have been totally locked, including all of the passenger doors, and taken out of service.
Deft. denied that the accident occurred as Pltf. claimed, and contended that Pltf. was intoxicated and that he had attempted to board the train between the cars.
Injuries: traumatic below-the-knee amputation of the left leg; fracture of the right heel. Demonstrative evidence: models; photos; graphic drawings. No offer; demand: $3,000,000. Pltf. Experts: Alphus Robb, former NYCTA instructor, Far Rockaway; John Fruin, transportation engineer, Massapequa; Edmond Provder, vocational expert, Manhattan; Dr. Howard Balensweig, orth. surg., Manhattan. There was no expert testimony for Deft.