Motor Vehicle Center Line Passengers Water On Roadway Causes Vehicle To Skid Multiple Injuries Day-In-The-Life Film

VERDICT: $7,000,000 for Reynolds. $760,000 for Lester. $275,000 for Perkins.

Breakdown: (Reynolds) $1,159,000 for past medical expenses; $1,600,000 for future medical expenses and psychiatric treatment (15 years); $30,000 for wheelchair and medical supplies (15 years); $46,000 for future physical and occupation therapy (15 years); $500,000 for future pain and suffering; $165,000 for future lost earnings; $3,500,000 for institutional care.

(Lester) $100,000 for past pain and suffering; $60,000 for past medical expenses; $200,000 for past lost earnings; $200,000 for future pain and suffering (20 years); $200,000 for future lost earnings (7 years).

(Perkins) $50,000 for past pain and suffering; $225,000 for future pain and suffering.

Liability: 100% v. City of New York. Jury: 2 male, 4 female.
XIV/16-2 Motor Vehicle Center Line Passengers Water On Roadway Causes Vehicle To Skid Multiple Injuries Day-In-The-Life Film

Herman Reynolds and Robert Perkins v. City of New York, Winston Lester, and William Ladson/Winston Lester v. City of New York and William Ladson 3100/90 3-week trial Verdict 9/12/96 Judge Robert D. Lippman, New York Supreme

Pltf. Atty: Harvey Weitz of Schneider, Kleinick, Damashek & Shoot, Manhattan, for Reynolds; Lenore Kramer of Herman & Kramer, Manhattan, for Lester as Pltf.; and as Deft. Keith DeVries of DeVries & Sobiloff, Manhattan, for Perkins

Deft. Atty: Saadia C. Luzzi, Asst. Corp. Counsel, for City of New York; Thomas J. McCarthy of Diamond, Rutman, Costello & Silberglitt, Manhattan, for Ladso

Pltfs. were roofers employed by Pltf. Lester. On 5/20/87 at approximately 4 PM, Lester (age 57) was driving a pick-up truck on the lower roadway of the Manhattan Bridge heading toward Brooklyn, with Reynolds (age 40) and Perkins (age 37) as passengers in the back enclosed cargo section. Deft. Ladson (defense verdict) was driving a vehicle on the bridge, heading in the opposite direction, toward Manhattan. It was raining at the time. Ladson claimed that he encountered a patch of water, lost control of his car, and skid across the road and hit the Lester vehicle (defense verdict) head on, injuring all three Pltfs. Pltfs. claimed that the road was excessively slippery when wet, and contended that the City of New York (100% liable) was aware that there had been numerous prior cross- over accidents, that the City was aware of the dangerous roadway, and should have made repairs. Deft. City claimed that pursuant to 23 USC 409, evidence of studies done in connection with upgrades of bridges was privileged and should not have been allowed into evidence. The judge, however, ruled that these studies were not done pursuant to the federal statute, so they were allowed. Testimony indicated that the road was made of metal grids filled with concrete.

Deft. City of New York argued that the accident occurred as the result of speeding on the part of the two vehicles, and contended that it was not unusual for cars to skid when speeding on a wet surface. Deft. City s accident reconstruction expert testified that the cars could not have been going as slowly as the drivers claimed.

Reynolds (40-year-old roofer $7,000,000 verdict): spinal cord injury resulting in partial quadraparesis. He requires assistance in the activities of daily living. Pltf. has not returned to work, and testimony indicated that he will not be able to work- in the future. Lester (57-year-old roofer $760,000 verdict): fractured patella requiring wiring. He may require a knee replacement in the future. Perkins (37-year-old roofer $275,000 verdict): simple ankle fracture, treated with closed reduction, which may require fusion in the future. He received emergency room treatment and follow-up treatment with a doctor. Perkins has returned to work in a limited capacity as a roofer, and Lester has returned to less strenuous work. Demonstrative evidence: Day in the Life video; models of the anatomy including the foot, ankle, and knee; City documents. Jury deliberation: 1 day. Carrier: State Farm for Ladson. Pltf. Experts: Dr. Kristjan Ragnarsson, rehabilitative medicine expert, Manhattan; Conrad Berenson, Ph.D., economist, Woodbury; Dr. Joseph D Angelo, orth. surg., Brooklyn; Nicholas Bellizzi, engineer, Holmdel, New Jersey. Deft. Expert: Dino Rossini, accident reconstruction, West Hempstead.


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