SKETCHES OF COURT: $5 million verdict in motor vehicle accident trial
In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Karen Rothenberg listens as plaintiff attorney Norman Gershon (standing), sole practitioner, conducts a cross examination of neurologist Daniel Feurer (seated, right) in the motor vehicle accident trial of Mark Mungo v. Angel Travieso that took place last week in Kings County Civil Term.
The accident occurred in August of 2010 in Red Hook, at the intersection of Wolcott and Richards Streets. The defendant was at the wheel of a mini schoolbus while transporting eight children. While stopped at the intersection on the one-way street, the defendant realized he had passed the discharge point for one of his passengers. He inadvisedly decided to back up the block, resulting in his bus’ impact with the front end of the plaintiff’s ’08 Dodge Charger behind him. None of the children were injured. Determination of 100 percent liability was made against the defendant.
The plaintiff testified that he had no prior medical history of pain symptoms, and alleged that he was suffering from lumbar and cervical spinal injuries sustained in the accident. Defendant attorney Paul Weidenbaum (seated, left), of the law firm Ryan & Conlon LLP, sought to persuade the jury that the plaintiff, who was 46 years old at the time of the accident and a truck driver for 15 years, had untreated preexisting degenerative herniation unrelated to injury from the accident. Weidenbaum also sought to cast doubt on the sufficiency of the force of impact to cause disc herniation. The plaintiff ultimately underwent cervical and lumbar fusion surgeries with decompression and instrumentation, which involves the internal placement of rods and screws for stability of the spine, in the fall of 2013, and after surgery for a knee condition that was unrelated to the accident.
Plaintiff modified his employment level after the accident, and has not returned to work in the six months since the surgeries. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff of $5.465 million in damages, awarding $3 million for past pain and suffering, $2 million for future pain and suffering, $350,000 for future medical expenses and $115,000 for past medical expenses. There was no claim for lost wages.
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