Nadine Matthews v. Fenimore Plaza and Abe Betesh

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Case Name

Nadine Matthews v. Fenimore Plaza and Abe Betesh

Type of Injury

NERVE INJURIES TO THE HAND AND WRIST

Location

Kings, NY

Verdict

Liability: Pltf. 35% negligent; Deft. 65% (6/0). The case subsequently settled for $475,000.

Verdict Amount

$$475,000

Case Details

XVI/16-8 RESTAURANT WINDOW PRE-EXISTING CRACKS IN THE GLASS NERVE INJURIES TO THE HAND AND WRIST

Nadine Matthews v. Fenimore Plaza and Abe Betesh 28350/95 3-day trial Verdict 4/30/98 Kings Supreme

Judge: Martin Schneier

Verdict: Liability: Pltf. 35% negligent; Deft. 65% (6/0). The case subsequently settled for $475,000. Jury: 2 male, 4 female.

Pltf. Atty: Harvey A. Herbert, Brooklyn, and Glenn Faegenburg of Edelstein & Faegenburg, Brooklyn

Deft. Atty: Derek E. Barrett of Gladstein & Isaac, Manhattan

Facts: Pltf., age 15 at the time, claimed that on 7/28/95 at about 9 PM, she leaned her hand against a restaurant window in Deft.’s building at 621 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn when the glass broke. Pltf. contended that she was on her bicycle when a friend jumped onto it, causing her to lose her balance and lean her hand on the glass for support. She claimed that the window had a pre-existing crack and that it was not held in place properly. Witnesses, who had seen the window before the accident, testified that there were cracks in the glass. Pltf.’s engineer testified that Deft. violated the Administrative Building Code.

Deft. denied that there was a pre-existing crack, and argued that the glass broke because Pltf. pressed too hard on it. Deft.’s expert claimed that Pltf. used sufficient pressure in her fall to break the glass. The jury found that Pltf. was comparatively negligent for leaning on the glass.

Injuries: (not before the jury settled for $475,000) lacerations of nerves and tendons of the right (dominant) wrist. Pltf. underwent repair of the superficial and deep flexor tendons to the ulna and four fingers, including the flexor pollicis longus, flexor carpi radialis and ulnaris, and median and ulnar nerves. Her ulnar artery was ligated. Pltf. also underwent physical therapy, and claimed that she has significant loss of range of motion, weakness, and diminished sensation in the wrist. She contended that she has trouble writing. Pltf.’s vocational rehabilitation expert would have testified that she has a diminished earning capacity. Demonstrative evidence: medical illustrations; enlargement of hospital records. Offer: $65,000; demand prior to liability verdict: $750,000. Jury deliberation: 2 hours. Carrier: Axa Global Risks.

Pltf. Experts: Richard Berkenfeld, engineer, Great Neck. Pltf. would have called Dr. Michael Marrone, orth. surg., Yonkers; Dr. Joel Grad, orth. surg., Manhattan; Edmond Provder, vocational rehabilitation, Manhattan.

Deft. Experts: Stanley Fein, P.E., engineer, Plainview. Deft. would have called Dr. Martin A. Posner, hand surgeon, Manhattan; Dr. Jay Rosenblum, neurologist, Manhattan; Dr. Carl Schiller, plastic surgeon, Brooklyn; James Pascuiti, vocational rehabilitation, Springfield, New Jersey.