On November 13, 2018, an appellate court covering Bronx County, upheld Justice Julia Rodriguez' decision to slash $1,141,000 from a jury verdict awarded to a passenger injured in a car accident. The plaintiff was 29 years old and underwent an arthroscopic procedure to repair labral tears in her left shoulder and 12 months of physical therapy (pre-op and post-op). The plaintiff claimed that she had ongoing intermittent shoulder pain since the accident.The treating orthopedist explained to the jury that plaintiff had suffered a 50% loss of range of motion in her shoulder and that her symtoms would worsen in the future, possibly requiring another shoulder surgery and further physical therapy.
The jury found that the plaintiff would suffer for another 25 years and awarded: $400,000 for past pain and suffering; $750,000 for future pain and suffering; and, $605,000 for future medical/therapy expenses totaling $1,755,000. Trial Court Justice Rodriguez found that the treating orthopedist's opinions on possible future shoulder surgery were too speculative and that only $64,000 in future medical expenses was supported by reasonably certain evidence.
The appellate court agreed with the trial judge that the award for past pain and suffering of $400,000 should be reduced to $300,000 and the award for future pain and suffering of $750,000 reduced to $250,000. Lastly, it held that unless the plaintiff agreed to accept the reduced verdict, that a retrial on damages would be necessary. Thompson v Toscano, 2018 WL 5913883