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SKETCHES OF COURT: Jury rules plaintiff’s alleged injuries minor in car accident trial

May 2, 2018 By Alba Acevedo Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo

In this courtroom sketch Hon. Genine Edwards listens as attorney Douglas Herbert (standing), of the law firm of Douglas & Herbert, conducts a direct examination of the plaintiff in the summary jury motor vehicle accident trial Jeanbaptiste v. Lopez. Liability was decided before trial with the agreement that Lopez was 85 percent responsible for the collision. At issue was the determination of damages.

Brooklyn resident Jean Jeanbaptiste claimed that he was seriously injured in the May 2014 impact in Long Island City, Queens. Jeanbaptiste alleges soft tissue injuries to both knees as well as complaints of pain in his neck and back, which he maintains prevented him from returning to his job as a school safety officer for seven months following the accident.  

Defendant’s attorney Vanessa Gomez (at right), of the law offices of Buratti, Rothenberg & Burns, sought to impeach Jeanbaptiste’s credibility, pointing out notable discrepancies between Jeanbaptiste’s examination before trial and his testimony in the courtroom.

The jury was presented with packets detailing expert witness doctors’ assessments of Jeanbaptiste’s claims. Sixteen months after the accident, Gomez’s radiologist disputed Jeanbaptiste’s treating the doctor’s findings of bilateral knee injuries, failing to see the claimed anterior cruciate ligament tear and meniscus tear. Gomez maintained that Jeanbaptiste’s neck and back complaints were a result of degeneration or had largely resolved, and were not causally related to the accident.  

The jury returned a verdict for the defendant when they found that Jeanbaptiste’s allegations did not meet the serious injury threshold, in the trial that resolved in Kings County Civil Term.

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