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SKETCHES OF COURT: Driver hit by city bus on Fulton Street awarded $423K in car accident trial

May 19, 2016 By Alba Acevedo Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Wavny Toussaint listens as attorney Jeffrey Koenig (standing), of the law firm Hecht, Kleeger & Damashek, faces the jury during his direct examination of the plaintiff in the motor vehicle accident trial Despeignes v. NYC Transit Authority. Court reporter Jennifer Sampugnaro (at left) records the proceedings. 

In October 2012, Vladix Despeignes’ car was struck by a city bus on Fulton Street near Eastern Parkway. This past April, a jury delivered a 100 percent liability verdict against the Transit Authority and was disbanded. A new jury was since picked to consider damages in the bifurcated trial. 

Koenig maintained that his client had no significant past medical or surgical history prior to the collision and that Despeignes sustained serious injury directly as a result of the accident. Despeignes testified that he has never felt himself since then, and that he has not been able to resume his work as a rehabilitation technician, nor take up many of his former social activities. He claims that despite pain management treatments and surgical interventions, years later he remains in constant pain and ambulates with a cane. He is 48 years old.

Defendant’s attorney Steven Phillips (at right), trial counsel for the law offices of Lawrence Heisler, alleged that Despeignes’ injuries were not as serious as claimed. He maintained that medical imaging studies showed osteoarthritic changes consistent with degeneration. 

The jury deliberated a day-and-a-half before awarding Despeignes $153,000 as compensation for past pain and suffering, $153,000 for past lost earnings, and two years’ future medical expenses in the amount of $117,000, for a total damages award of $423,000. The trial concluded last week in Kings County Civil Term. 


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