It was reported today that an Appellate Court upheld a jury verdict finding that a bus driver carelessly and suddenly braked which caused a 64 year old grandmother to be violently thrown to the floor. The NYC Transit Authority and its bus driver blamed the accident on the passenger for getting up from her seat to retrieve a bottle of milk that had rolled out from her grocery bag. The bus driver claimed that the sudden stop was necessary because three children darted out in front of the bus. On appeal the Court held that the jury had a reasonable basis to conclude from the conflicting evidence that the passenger acted appropriately in retrieving a rolling bottle of milk and that the bus driver was 100% at fault.
The Appellate Court did however find that the jury award was unreasonably excessive. The passenger injured her back and both shoulders which required two surgeries. Despite treatment the plaintiff continues to suffer severe pain, never regained full range of shoulder motion and needs help with all activities of daily living. The award of $800,000 for the past 3 1/2 years of pain and suffering was upheld but the award of $1,500,000 for future pain and suffering over the next 17 years was reduced to $800,000 leaving a total sustained award of $1,600,000. 2017 WL 5162854