On June 30, 2021, the appellate Court for Queens jury trials upheld, in part, the trial Judge who radically slashed an excessive jury verdict awarded to a 41 year old man severely injured in a car accident. The only issue at trial was damages, or how much to compensate the injured plaintiff. He had suffered two herniated cervical discs at C-5/6 and C-6/7 and required fusion surgery at C-6/7. His medical expert testified that he will necessarily undergo another fusion procedure in the future at the C-5/6 level. The plaintiff also underwent arthroscopic knee surgery for meniscal and ligament tears and will need to undergo a total knee replacement in the future.
The plaintiff explained to the jury that “prior to the surgeries he was in such pain that he could not sleep, shower, or tie his shoes.” He also testified that “he was unable to perform many of his usual activities, such as playing soccer, cooking or dancing, because he is unable to stand for long periods of time, lift things, or move like he did before the accident.” The jury awarded $5,000,000 for the past 2 years of pain and suffering (cut to $625,000); $36,000,000 for future pain and suffering over the next 41 years of his life (cut to $1,000,000) and $5,000,000 for future medical expenses (cut to $680,000). The appellate court modified by allowing plaintiff another damages trial if he disagreed with the reductions of the trial court which is the standard proviso when reducing a jury verdict considered excessive. Nieva-Silvera v Katz, 2021 WL 2672743