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SKETCHES OF COURT: Jury awards $275K to plaintiff in premises liability trial

January 19, 2016 By Alba Acevedo Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Loren Baily-Schiffman listens as plaintiff’s attorney Adam Feder (standing), of counsel to Everett J. Petersson, Esq., addresses the jury during his opening statements in the premises liability trialConenna v. Century 21 Department Stores. 

Rosa Maria Conenna was a 34-year-old shopper on Feb. 7, 2012, eyeing furnishings at a Century 21 department store. Interested in an ottoman on a high display unit, she attempted to lift the piece in trying to locate a price tag. She suffered a crushing injury when the display shelf gave way and the heavy furniture fell from its height onto her foot. Conenna was removed from the scene via ambulance on a stretcher. The jury returned a comparative liability verdict, attributing 80 percent fault to the store and 20 percent to the shopper. 

In the damages phase of the bifurcated trial, Feder claimed that after the comminuted fracture of her right toe in the accident, his client developed an antalgic gait, a kind of limp in avoidance of pain. He alleged that Conenna’s condition subsequently progressed to include Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), tarsal tunnel syndrome, Morton’s neuroma, and also affected her knee and ankle. Feder contends that due to pain and discomfort, Conenna can no longer enjoy a social life. He maintained that her painful conditions will necessitate treatment that will affect Conenna for the rest of her life. The now-38-year-old school psychologist has a life expectancy of an additional 44 years. 

Defendant’s attorney Brian Lifereidge (at left), of the law firm Harris, King, Fodera & Correia, offered testimony seeking to refute all findings except for a fractured toe, and claimed in summation that the plaintiff had failed to prove her case. 

The jury awarded a total of $275,000 in damages to Conenna for past pain and suffering and for future rehabilitation and medical expenses in the trial that concluded this week in Kings County Civil Term. Court reporter Michelle Walker (at center) records the proceedings. 

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