Brooklyn Boro

SKETCHES OF COURT: City not responsible in slip-and-fall trial

July 28, 2016 By Alba Acevedo Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo

In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Bernard Graham listens as attorney Mark Sullivan (standing), in-house counsel for the defendant, delivers his opening remarks to the jury in the medical malpractice trial Spinello v. NYC Health & Hospitals.

Lina Spinello faulted the city for an accident that took place during a hospital visit for a routine annual medical exam. She stated that the Physician’s Assistant (PA) used a lubricating gel at the time. Spinello claimed that in getting off the examination table, she slipped and fell on a gel-like substance that, she assumed, was spilled by the PA, though she had not witnessed the occurrence. Spinello was represented by Elliot Pasik (at right), of counsel to the law offices of Gerald P. Gross. 

Spinello fractured her toe and claimed to have been in searing pain, though she did not seek further attention before she left the hospital. She eventually underwent fusion surgery to deal with lower back pain issues that she said arose because of the accident. 

Sullivan cited seeming inconsistencies in testimony that Spinello made during the trial and in the years since the 2008 incident, which he contrasted with detailed evidentiary records in which no notation was made of Spinello’s pain or of a fall, until a subsequent visit for the fracture. Sullivan maintained that Spinello’s spinal issues were degenerative and pre-dated the accident. 

The jury deliberated on the question of whether the fall occurred before returning a verdict for the defendant in the unified trial that concluded this week in Kings County Civil Term. Court reporter Donalda Adams (center) recorded the proceedings. 

 

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