Recent Cases From Brooklyn & Manhattan, New York
2.4 MILLION DOLLAR SETTLEMENT OBTAINED FOR INJURED WORKER
Arze & Mollica, LLP, is thrilled to announce we were recently able to successfully resolve a case for an injured electrician who fell from a ladder for $2.4 million dollars. The case, where the worker fell while pulling wires through a conduit, was rejected by 3 other prominent law offices due to various aspects of its difficulty. Here, the building was owned and operated through various partnership entities, which made it difficult to establish a negligence case against it, due to New York State Workers Compensation Laws. In New York, a worker injured while in the act of employment cannot bring a lawsuit or negligence action against his/her employer. However, Arze & Mollica, LLP, accepted the challenge for this injured worker, performing dogged investigation into the actual ownership of the premises, uncovering a complex ownership structure, which actually established that a separate entity was created for its ownership purposes. The litigation in the case went on over the course of seven years, and included an appeal which was brought by the Defendants. While the appeal was pending, the case was resolved by our office for a total sum of $2.4 Million Dollars.
The injured worker suffered severe ankle injuries, including an open pilon fracture of his ankle, requiring multiple surgeries, including internal and external fixation devices. The worker was forced to retire three (3) years earlier than planned.
“The building owner failed to provide sufficient safety devices to him at the work site, as required under New York Labor Law, which caused the accident”. “New York has some of the strictest Labor laws created to protect workers, since New York continues to be one of the leading construction and development hubs in the world. The heart of all the construction, is its workers and laborers.”
Female Passenger Awarded $350,000.00 Settlement, a $750,000.00 Full Value Award, Only 13 Months After Her Motor Vehicle Accident
A 56-year-old home health aide, who suffered a complex double fracture of her upper arm requiring the installation of a metal plate and nine screws as a result of a head-on collision while a passenger in a friend's car, recovered $350,000.00 a mere 13 months after her accident. The settlement was engineered by Arze & Mollica, LLP.
The case included a gap in insurance coverage by one of the vehicles involved in the accident of $400,000.00. Due to this, the excess liability insurance carrier was only obligated to provide coverage after a verdict was obtained in excess of $500,000.00.
However, due to the superior presentation of our client's injuries, including obtaining medical illustrations of the severity of the injury, the excess insurance carrier was compelled to increase its settlement offer, prompting a settlement of the case.
Arze & Mollica, Llp Recently Secured a Nearly $500,000 Settlement for a Woman Who Tripped and Fell on a Brooklyn Sidewalk on Her Way Home from Shopping.
Our client, a 69-year-old woman at the time, was walking home on her way from shopping at some nearby local stores here in Brooklyn, when she tripped and fell on a mis-leveled sidewalk, causing her to twist and badly injure her ankle. She was taken to the emergency room at NYU Lutheran from the scene of the accident.
At the hospital, she was diagnosed with a “compound” fracture of the ankle, which required surgery to stabilize. Due to her inability to walk initially following the accident, she spent approximately two weeks in a rehabilitation facility. Following her rehab stay, she also underwent extensive physical therapy to attempt to regain more movement in her ankle.
Sidewalks in the City of New York, must be kept safe and free from defects, pursuant to the Administrative Code of the City of New York. Here, the accident occurred in front of a commercial property, and thus, it was the commercial owner who was responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. The location and owner use of the property effects whether the City of New York, or the private landowner, may be responsible for maintenance of the public sidewalk.
After performing an initial investigation and uncovering the owner of the property adjacent to where the accident occurred, our firm commenced an action in Supreme Court, Kings County, claiming the Defendant landowner was negligent in failing to properly maintain the sidewalk, causing our client’s injuries. Arze & Mollica was also able to obtain the ambulance call report, which indicated where the fall occurred, as well as found and obtained witness statements from persons who worked in the area, which confirmed how the fall occurred, and that the defective condition had existed for some time prior to the accident, undercutting the defense that Owner of the premises could not have found the defect in the sidewalk prior to the fall. In this case, (as well as in most cases), the insurance company for the commercial landowner appeared on its behalf. Our firm was engaged in litigation proceedings for over five years with lawyers for who appeared to defend the landowner and insurance company.
Due to the nature of the defective condition, our firm was able to establish, through motion practice, that the landowner was responsible for our client’s injuries, and the Court granted our client judgment in her favor, with a trial to soon follow to assess her damages. Immediately following the ruling, after five long years, our firm was finally able to negotiate a settlement in the amount of $495,000 out of a $500,000 insurance policy in place.
Arze & Mollica, Llp Recently Secured a $450,000 Verdict for a Woman Struck by a Vehicle in Kings County Supreme Court
Our client, a 65 year old woman at the time, was walking out of a bank in Bayside, Queens, when the driver lost control of his vehicle, and struck my client and her daughter walking in the parking lot towards their vehicle. She was taken to the emergency room at Queens Hospital from the scene of the accident.
At the hospital, she was diagnosed with a fractured ankle, as well as two fractured ribs. Due to her inability to walk initially following the accident, she spent approximately ten days in a rehabilitation facility. Following her rehab stay, she also began to have pain and other symptoms in her spine, right knee and right shoulder.
Prior to trial, the insurance company for the Defendant vehicle, alleged that she had made a fine recovery from her injuries, and that any corresponding injuries to her knee, shoulder or spine were age related conditions, and not due to the accident.
A weeklong trial commenced in Kings County, Supreme Court, where our firm was able to obtain a verdict in her favor, for past pain and suffering, and future pain and suffering, for the total sum of $450,000.
$4,400,000.00 Settlement for Our Client Who Was Struck by an Oil Delivery Truck
Arze & Mollica obtained a settlement on behalf of a woman who was struck, then dragged by an oil delivery truck while crossing the street. She was admitted to Elmhurst Hospital Center for emergency treatment, where she underwent three separate operations after being diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis and internal degloving injuries. She was later transferred to NYU Langone Medical Center for four more operations — including skin graftings and revisions and intensive treatment for persistent infectious disease — then to NYU/Rusk Institute, where she underwent intensive physical and rehabilitative therapy.
Our firm made a motion for summary judgment soon after the commencement of the action, seeking an Order of the Court declaring that our client was free from fault and that the Defendants were at fault for the accident. The defense argued against the motion, claiming the driver never saw her and she must have walked into the side of the truck. The motion was denied by the Court, citing in part the absence of discovery has taken place so early on. Our firm was permitted to renew the motion after the exchange of pre-trial discovery and statements, including those of witnesses.
After discovery took place, our firm renewed the motion, which was pending at the time of the settlement. Statements obtained by our investigators of crucial non-party witnesses disproved the Defense theory, based on the witnesses' vantage points and the truck driver's inconsistent testimony. After several months of settlement discussions, the firm was able to reach a $4,400,000.00 settlement for the plaintiff prior to trial.
Woman Awarded $1,310,000.00 for Ceiling Collapse
Gerald Arze represented a woman who was injured when the ceiling in her bathroom collapsed while she was in the shower. She was transported to Kings County Hospital Center, where she was treated for head, neck, and upper back pain. Following the accident, she underwent various medical treatments, including physical therapy, arthroscopic surgery, epidural injections, and over-the-counter medications to reduce the pain. As a result of the accident, she was unable to perform her job as a home health aide for 13 months.
The defense claimed several efforts were made to repair the ceiling before the accident happened, but our firm showed evidence that demonstrated the efforts were insufficient to provide safe premises. Using expert witnesses, the defense claimed the plaintiff suffered from back pain and neck pain before the accident occurred and that her injuries predated the accident. But the plaintiff's expert witnesses — her treating physicians — demonstrated at trial her injuries were traumatic in nature and were, in fact, caused by accident. The jury rendered a liability verdict of $1,310,000.00 in favor of the plaintiff.
Undocumented Worker Awarded Over $800,000.00 in Construction Accident
Recently, our firm obtained a jury award of over $800,000 for an undocumented worker who was injured while performing brick pointing on the roof of a commercial building. At the time, he was working within a chimney that was thought to be sealed when it collapsed, causing the injured worker to fall approximately seven stories down the chimney chute. He was taken by ambulance to nearby Jamaica Hospital, where he was found to have suffered a fractured ankle, a fractured scapula, fractures of his transverse processes in his lower back, and several fractured ribs.
Approximately one year later, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair damage sustained to his shoulder. Our office filed a motion on his behalf, requesting that liability be awarded in his favor by the judge due to the failure of the building owner to provide sufficient safety devices to him at the worksite.
The building owner's attorney opposed the motion, which was granted by the judge. At trial, the building owner's attorneys claimed he made a good recovery from these injuries and that he could now return to work in the same capacity. After an approximate one-week jury trial, the jury awarded our client over $800,00 in damages for past and future pain and suffering, as well as past medical expenses.
Woman Awarded $670,000.00 for Trip & Fall on Sidewalk
Recently, Gerald Arze represented a woman at trial who was injured when she tripped into a hole located on a New York City sidewalk. After the fall, the plaintiff sought care in an emergency room at a local hospital and subsequently received treatment from various doctors, including an orthopedist.
Approximately six years later, she underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair an arthritic condition known as Chondromalacia and joint effusion. The City of New York declined to make an offer on the case. After a one-week trial in Kings County Supreme Court, the jury found the City liable for the plaintiff's fall and awarded her a total sum of $670,000.00 for injuries sustained to her right knee.
Undocumented Worker Awarded $500,000.00 for Ladder Collapse
Arze & Mollica, LLP represented a recent immigrant from Ecuador who was injured while working as a day laborer. The A-Frame ladder supplied to him collapsed as he installed sheetrock on a ceiling in an apartment building. The plaintiff suffered a displaced fracture of his right wrist, which eventually required surgery to set the bones and an external fixation device.
However, the owner of the building claimed the plaintiff was not injured working for the building but rather while playing soccer. The building presented several affidavits stating our client was not working at the time he was injured, including an affidavit from the plaintiff's brother-in-law.
Notwithstanding, the firm of Arze & Mollica, LLP, through dogged investigation uncovered a document from the building owners confirming our client was, in fact, working at the time of the accident, which was instrumental in forcing the defendants to settle the case before trial for half a million dollars.
Arze & Mollica, Llp Obtains $360,000.00 Award in Motor Vehicle Case Rejected by Prominent Law Firm
In a case that was rejected by a prominent New York law firm, Arze & Mollica, LLP, took the case to trial in Supreme Court, Kings County, and obtained a $360,000.00 award for a then twelve-year-old girl operating her bicycle struck by a vehicle. The accident occurred in upstate New York when she drove her bicycle from her driveway onto the adjoining roadway and was struck by an oncoming vehicle. The driveway was obscured by large trees, and the defendant operator of the vehicle claimed she struck his vehicle when she came onto the roadway suddenly, and she was unable to stop. There were no independent witnesses to the accident, and the police report had only the defendant's version of the accident. The child suffered head injuries and memory loss which prevented her from providing her version of how the accident occurred.
At trial, using the services of an accident reconstructionist expert, Gerald Arze was able to convince the jury that based on the approximate location of the impact, combined with the identified location, the vehicle came to a rest, that the defendant was proceeding 35-40 MPH, exceeding the speed limit. Prior to trial, our investigation uncovered a statement given by the defendant to the police which contradicted his version of the accident at trial. The jury determined, as requested by Mr. Arze, that the apportionment of fault between the parties was 80% fault against the defendant and 20% against our client for entering the roadway against the Vehicle and Traffic Law.