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SKETCHES OF COURT: Brooklyn jury awards $340K to injured livery driver

February 27, 2015 By Alba Acevedo Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Dawn Jimenez-Salta listens while plaintiff’s attorney Douglas Shayne (standing), of the law firm Khavinson & Associates, conducts a cross-examination of the defendant in the motor vehicle accident summary jury trial of Aureliano Tlatelpa v. Rachel Roth.

To Shayne’s right is his associate Matthew Macaulay (seated center). Seated at far right is defendant’s attorney John A. Canton, of the law firm McCarthy & Associates. 

The plaintiff, a car service driver with a Class E license, was at the wheel when his vehicle was impacted by the defendant’s car as she made a left turn in the midnight hours of March 28, 2012. The accident occurred at the intersection of Caton and MacDonald avenues in Brooklyn. 

Medical evidence was not presented in live testimony, but was provided in evidentiary packets for review of each of the jurors.

The plaintiff received emergency room treatment at the time of the accident, and according to his testimony, Tlatelpa underwent surgery for a meniscus tear related to the accident and suffered disc herniation and disc bulging.

He continued in physical therapy for a year but returned to work in limited capacity after four months, though not as a driver. In his testimony, the plaintiff cited the timing of his return to work as a response to the need to support his family and alleged that he continues to have back, neck, head, shoulder and knee pain, albeit to a lesser degree.

The defense sought to mitigate the extent of the plaintiff’s claims of pain and suffering, and disputed his claims of restricted activity and range of motion due to the accident. 

The jury deliberated for 45 minutes before returning a verdict finding 100 percent for the plaintiff on liability. It awarded damages totaling $340,000 — for past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, future medical expenses, and property damage. In this proceeding, the jury was not informed that the parties had consented to a high-low arrangement that capped the award to available insurance, in this case a maximum of $100,000. The one-day trial took place last week in Kings County Supreme Court, Civil Term. 


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