Motor Vehicle Sanitation Worker Steps Out Of Truck And Is Hit By Car Liability Verdict Against City Set Aside By Trial Court And Reinstated By Second Dept. Chronic Pain Syndrome With Depression, Fractured Fibula And Thumb
VERDICT: $2,080,000 for Vito D., reduced to $1,768,000 for 15% comparative negligence of Pltf. $500,000 for Lisa D.
Breakdown: (Vito D.)$225,000 for past pain and suffering; $380,000 for past lost earnings; $775,000 for future pain and suffering; $700,000 for future lost earnings.
(Lisa D.) $100,000 for past pain and suffering; $400,000 for future loss of services.
Remaining liability: City of New York 55%; Scognamillo 30% negligent. Deft. Scognamillo settled prior to the damages trial for $10,000 (policy). Post-trial motions were denied. Jury: 2 male, 4 female. Notice of Appeal by Deft. City of New York.
XII/23-1 Motor Vehicle Sanitation Worker Steps Out Of Truck And Is Hit By Car Liability Verdict Against City Set Aside By Trial Court And Reinstated By Second Dept. Chronic Pain Syndrome With Depression, Fractured Fibula And Thumb
Vito and Lisa DeLeonibus v. Phyllis Scognamillo, City of New York, and New York City Department of Sanitation 2681/86 5-day trial Liability verdict 5/1/90 Judge Edward J. Amann, Jr. Damages verdict 9/27/94 Judge Peter B. Cusick, Richmond Supreme
Pltf. Atty: Alan J. Schnurman of Zalman & Schnurman, Manhattan, on liability; Harvey Weitz of Schneider, Kleinick, Weitz, Damashek, Godosky & Gentile, Manhattan, on damages
Deft. Atty: John Pierce Ryan, Asst. Corp. Counsel, for City; Dennis P. Hanaffey of Zachary & Tracy, Staten Island, for Scognamillo
The accident occurred on 6/12/85 at approximately 9:30 AM on Wescott Blvd. between Margaretta Ave. and Kieber Ct. in Staten Island. Pltf., a 34-year-old sanitation worker employed by the City of New York (55% liable), testified that he had just stepped out of a sanitation truck in order to load it when he was hit by Deft. Scognamillo’s vehicle (30% liable). He claimed that he was being supervised by a foreman at the time of the incident. Pltf argued that the driver of, the sanitation truck was negligent for parking the truck facing the wrong way on the street.
Deft. denied that there was a supervisor at the scene on the day of the accident. Liability was previously tried in 1990. After the liability trial, Judge Amann set aside the verdict finding the City 55% liable on the procedural basis that the Notice of Claim had not stated in exact language Pltf.’s theory of recovery presented at trial, which was negligent supervision. The Appellate Division, Second Dept. found that the court erred, stating that they never indicated in any of their decisions or prior case law that the Notice of Claim to a municipality had to state the exact theory of liability. The Notice of Claim is only to give the municipality sufficient means in which to properly investigate the occurrence. The Second Dept. reinstated the jury verdict (183 A.D.2d 697, 583 N.Y.S.2d 285).
Chip fracture of the left fibula; fracture of the left (nondominant) thumb; torn cartilage of the left knee; lumbar derangement. Pltf. also claimed that he has severe depression arising from chronic pain syndrome. He testified that he was unable to return to work and he retired on psychiatric disability. The City found that Pltf. was totally disabled from working. Demonstrative evidence: photographs. No offer; demand: $1,500,000. Jury deliberation: 3 hours. Carrier: Allstate for Scognarnillo. Pltf. Experts: Dr. Michael Lampert, orth. surg., Manhattan (Deft.’s examining physician); Dr. Sherwood Jacobson, neurologist, Manhattan; Dr. Rizalina Timtiman, psychiatrist, Richmond; Dr. Raul Sala, rehabilitative medicine, Manhattan; Anna Dutka, Ph.D., economist, Manhattan. There was no expert testimony for Defts.