Brooklyn Boro

SKETCHES OF COURT: Plaintiff awarded $200K in motor vehicle accident trial

September 25, 2015 By Alba Acevedo Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo

In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Genine Edwards listens as attorney Pasquale Vairo (standing), of the law firm Godosky & Gentile, conducts a direct examination of the plaintiff’s treating physician and surgeon in the motor vehicle accident trial Ricciardi v. KNS Transport. At issue in the damages-only trial is the determination of injury attributable to the accident. 

Pamela Ricciardi, who was 63-years old at the time, was driving her Honda Civic in October 2011 when an 18-wheeler with an overload of tombstones plowed into her car, spinning it around before it landed three lanes away on a grassy embankment. While her head, neck and back trauma were documented in the ambulance call report as well as the emergency room report, the case centers around plaintiff’s latent knee distress, which was not. 

Vairo elicited testimony supporting that his client had made a full recovery from past knee issues, which included meniscectomy surgeries, for over a year prior to the 2011 accident. He cited the high-energy impact as the catalyst for newer knee issues, including rapidly accelerated osteoarthritis, as well as its torsion forces as the source of new meniscal tears. His client successfully underwent a total knee replacement in 2014 to relieve pain that did not respond to more conservative treatments, but anticipates that given her life expectancy and that of the procedure, she will need revision total knee replacement surgery. 

Salvatore DeSantis (seated, right), of the law firm Molod Spitz & DeSantis, represented the defendant. He disputed plaintiff’s claims of a relational knee complaint, maintaining that the accident did not cause or contribute to the exacerbation of an underlying arthritic knee condition. His expert witness’ testimony, that MRI films taken before and after were essentially the same, supported his position that the accident did not play a role in her trial complaints.

The jury returned a verdict awarding Ricciardi $200,000 for past pain and suffering, in the trial that concluded this week in Kings County Civil Term. Vairo’s associate Emily Kern is seated at center. Court reporter Sandra Wilkes, at left, recorded the proceedings, and court officer Edwin Colon is seated at right.

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