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SKETCHES OF COURT: Jury awards plaintiff $600K in damages-only trial

November 25, 2015 By Alba Acevedo Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Richard Velasquez listens as attorney Adam J. Roth (standing), of the law firm Wingate, Rusotti, Shapiro & Halperin, conducts a direct examination in the damages-only trial Oyola v. Calabrese. Dr. Michael Gerling, the plaintiff’s treating orthopedic surgeon, is on the stand holding a lumbar spine model. Roth’s associate Rafael Martinez (seated, second from right) projects a related MRI onto a screen from his laptop. Court reporter Dolores Lynch records the proceedings. 

In February 2011, Aida Oyola was in the crosswalk at the intersection of 39th Street and Fort Hamilton Parkway when she was struck on her left side by a minivan and thrown to the ground. The determination of liability was made by summary judgment against the defendant driver John Calabrese. He is represented by Hugh J. Larkin (at right), of the law firm Montford, Healy, McGuire & Salley. 

Oyola was removed from the scene on a backboard via ambulance. The 36-year-old Burger King manager alleged that she attempted to return to work after a month, but was unable to resume her duties and hasn’t worked since. She claims she sustained injuries to her shoulder, lower back and knee, and maintains she has lingering physical issues. She underwent surgeries including a lumbar endoscopic microdiscectomy to relieve pain from a herniated disc performed 3 1/2 years later. 

The defense’s expert witness maintained that diagnostic readings made three to four weeks after the accident were normal, and sought to impugn the plaintiff’s credibility. Roth’s expert witnesses claimed the MRIs weren’t read correctly by the interpreting radiologist. 

The jury found that Oyola sustained significant permanent consequential limitations due to the accident, and awarded her damages in the amount of $600,000. She was compensated $350,000 for past and future medical expenses and $250,000 for past and future pain and suffering. The trial concluded last week in Kings County Civil Term. 


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