Nassau County Jury Verdict for $1.2M For Knee/Back Injuries Restored by Appellate Court
On April 13, 2022, the Second Department reversed Justice Thomas Feinman who presided over a damages trial of a 42 year old delivery driver who was rear-ended by a Nassau County police car in Hempstead, New York. Liability was established as a matter of law by pre-trial motion. Justice Feinman had reduced a jury verdict of $1,200,000 to $220,000 by: 1) eliminating an award of $700,000 for future medical expenses on the ground that plaintiff's treating physician had impermissibly engaged in rank speculation; and, 2) reducing an award for future pain and suffering of $380,000 to $100,000. Basically, the plaintiff suffered meniscal tears in his knee that required an arthroscopic surgery and two herniated lumbar discs which were treated with epidural steroid injections. The plaintiff also suffered a strain in one shoulder but did not require surgery.
The Appellate Court cited only one reason for reinstating the full jury verdict of $1,200,000 verdict - the defense filed their post-trial motion "more than 15 days after the jury verdict was rendered, without good cause shown for the delay." CPLR 4404(a). As such the appellate court did not discuss the merits of Nassau County's arguments to deprive the plaintiff of fair and reasonable compensation. Galarza v Heaney, 2022 N.Y. Slip Op. 02395
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