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SKETCHES OF COURT: Jury rules against plaintiff in motor vehicle accident trial

September 18, 2015 By Alba Acevedo Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Bernadette Bayne listens during a direct examination by plaintiff’s attorney David E. Thomas (standing), trial counsel for Harmon, Linder & Rogowsky, during the motor vehicle accident trial Polynice v. Pawlicka, Ali, and Shekel Taxi. At issue in the bifurcated trial was the determination of liability. 

Plaintiff Polynice, who declined to use a Haitian Creole interpreter, testified that he was inside his parked car in August 2011, waiting to exit, when the car was impacted by a Shekel Taxi driven by Ali. The northbound yellow cab was picking up a weekday fare on Fourth Avenue by the intersection of Fifth Street in Brooklyn at 7:15 am.

The co-defendants are represented by William J. Lawlor (at right), trial counsel for the law firm Gerber & Gerber. Defendant Pawlicka, close behind in a new Hyundai Elantra, was driving his wife to her 7:30 a.m. shift at Cumberland Hospital when his car rear-ended the cab, pushing the Toyota Sienna minivan into a chain of stationary vehicles that included Polynice’s. Pawlicka, who testified via a Polish interpreter, is represented by Daniel Sanchez (seated) of the law firm James G. Bilello & Associates.

While their testimony differed as to whether the cab veered suddenly across lanes without signaling to pick up a fare or had already stopped when it was struck, and whether the trailing car tried to pass on the right or the left, the defendants’ attorneys mentioned a police accident report and alleged that the report only named the plaintiff’s vehicle, and not the plaintiff, as being at the scene of the accident.

The retired officer who wrote the police accident report did not testify, and the report itself was not in evidence. 

Polynice’s car was parked across the street from where he reports to work. Question 1 on the verdict sheet asked whether the jury believed the plaintiff was in his vehicle. The jurors deliberated briefly before returning a verdict in favor of the defendants, believing that Polynice was not sitting in his car.

The plaintiff’s attorney plans to appeal the liability verdict in the trial, which concluded last week in Kings County Civil Term. 


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