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SKETCHES OF COURT: Man awarded $5.225 million in accident case involving DEP truck

July 1, 2015 By Alba Acevedo Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo

In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Mark Partnow listens as a surgeon, an expert witness for the plaintiff, uses a visual aid to explain spinal injury to the jury in the motor vehicle accident trial Ivory Underwood vs. City of New York. Tanya Milo (seated) transcribed the proceedings.

At issue in the trial was the determination of damages. The plaintiff, represented by William Schwitzer (far left) of the law firm Dinkes & Schwitzer, was a 57-year-old unemployed butcher at the time of the incident. He was a passenger in a stopped vehicle that was struck in February 2011 by a city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) truck, which was making a right turn from a left lane onto a wrong-way, one-way street. A liability verdict against the defendant had been decided in summary judgment. 

The married plaintiff, who chose to continue home from the scene of the accident that Valentine’s Day, subsequently complained of neck and back pain and muscle spasms. He claimed his pain symptoms resulted from injuries sustained in the accident. An evidentiary electromyogram was introduced to support a diagnosis of cervical radiculopathy. 

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The defense, represented by Yair S. Goldstein (standing, second from left) of the NYC Law Department, sought to implicate the plaintiff’s history of 25 years as a butcher as the cause of chronic, not traumatic, degenerative pain. 

The jury deliberated for approximately three hours before it returned a verdict for the plaintiff, awarding him a total of $5.225 million for past and future medical expenses and pain and suffering, in the trial that concluded this week in Kings County Civil Term. 


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