Charles and Oscar Small v. Yonkers Contracting Co. v. Rice Mohawk
Type of Injury
HERNIATED DISC, ENCEPHALOPATHY, MULTIPLE LEG FRACTURES, AND PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURIES
XV/13-12 LABOR LAW SCAFFOLD ACCIDENT HERNIATED DISC, ENCEPHALOPATHY, MULTIPLE LEG FRACTURES, AND PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURIES
Charles and Oscar Small v. Yonkers Contracting Co. v. Rice Mohawk 10301/93 6-day trial Verdict 7/1/97 Queens Supreme
Judge: Arthur W. Lonschein
Verdict: $635,000 (6/0). Breakdown: $100,000 for past pain and suffering; $180,000 for future pain and suffering; $100,000 for past lost earnings; $240,000 for future lost earnings; $15,000 for medical expenses.
After the verdict, the court awarded judgment over in favor of Yonkers Contracting and against Rice Mohawk for the full amount of the award on damages, under the contractual indemnity clause in the Rice Mohawk subcontract.
Pltf. Atty: Mario Biaggi, Jr. of Biaggi & Biaggi, Manhattan
Deft. Atty: Stephen M. Cohen of Brody & Fabiani, Manhattan, and Theodore H. Rosenblatt of Ayers & Thompson, Manhattan, for Yonkers Contracting
Mary L. Maloney of Kral, Clerkin, Redmond, Ryan, Perry & Girvan, Manhattan, for Rice Mohawk
Facts: The accident occurred on 3/16/93. Pltf., a 35-year- old ironworker, was employed by Third-party Deft. Rice Mohawk and was working on the reconstruction of the I-495 viaduct when a protective shield that he was installing collapsed, causing him to fall 60 feet to the ground. Pltf. brought suit against Yonkers Contracting as the general contractor, and against the New York City Dept. of Transportation (NYCDOT) as the owner. On 8/18/95, the court awarded summary judgment on liability for Pltf. under Labor Law ?240 against Yonkers and the City of New York. Prior to the damages trial, the court vacated the judgment against NYCDOT and dismissed Pltf. s complaints and all cross-complaints against that Deft. This trial was on damages only.
Injuries: herniated discs at C5-6 and L5-S1; head trauma causing encephalopathy with neurological dysfunction and psychological injuries; fractured femur requiring open reduction and internal fixation; fractured tibia and fibula; fractured toe. Pltf. claimed that his injuries have prevented him from working except in some sedentary jobs. His economist testified that Pltf. has lost earnings and lost fringe benefits of over $4,000,000. Deft. contended that Pltf. has recovered and is able to work as an ironworker. Offer: $1,000,000; demand: $5,000,000; amount asked of jury: $14,700,000. Jury deliberation: 1? hours. Carrier: Admiral Insurance.
Pltf. Experts: Dr. John Vallely, orth. surg., Brooklyn; Dr. Irving Friedman, neurologist, Brooklyn; Dr. Lawrence Shields, neurologist, Brooklyn; Jan Burte, psychologist, Ph.D.; Edmond Provder, vocational rehabilitation, Manhattan; Conrad Berenson, Ph.D., economist, Woodbury.
Deft. Experts: Dr. Robert Richman, orth. surg., Manhattan; Dr. Ralph Olson, neurosurgeon, Manhattan.