New York City, NY (NewYorkInjuryNews.com) — On May 1, 2008, Donte Mills, Esq. of Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo won $850,000.00 from a Bronx County jury in a case involving an injured motorcyclist and a roadway defect.
Four years earlier, in June 2004, Joseph Smeraldi was operating his motorcycle on the Triborough Bridge. His motorcycle struck a hole in the roadway, caused by a missing piece of pavement, and he lost control. Mr. Smeraldi hurtled through the air, landing violently. Fortunately, he only fractured several ribs and his elbow, avoiding any collision with cars.
After investigating the case, Sullivan Papain started a lawsuit on Mr. Smeraldi’s behalf against the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (“TBTA”), the public agency charged with the responsibility of maintaining the bridge in safe condition. Sullivan Papain alleged that the TBTA knew or should have known that the pothole at issue was a dangerous condition and, therefore, should have taken steps to repair the defect before Mr. Smeraldi’s accident.
There were plenty of obstacles to overcome to achieve a verdict for Mr. Smeraldi.
First, there were no photographs of the pothole, as it existed at the time of the accident. The only photographs available were of the accident scene without any pothole. We determined that, shortly after the accident, the TBTA filled in the defect. Evidence of such a repair is not permitted at trial. We were left only with Mr. Smeraldi’s description of the dangerous condition, as it existed at the time of the accident.
The TBTA, relying upon police photographs and official measurements of skid marks taken at the time of the mishap, sought to prove that Mr. Smeraldi was traveling 25 miles over the posted speed limit. The TBTA also claimed that it had no notice of the defect before the accident. Finally, the TBTA emphasized that Mr. Smeraldi had fully recovered from his fractured ribs and elbow.
At trial, our attorney, Mr. Mills, demonstrated that Mr. Smeraldi’s injuries continued to cause him pain, and called a physician to testify to this. He then cross-examined the TBTA’s reconstruction expert, who sought to blame the accident on a high rate of speed. The jury was persuaded, finding the TBTA to be 100% responsible for the accident and awarding the plaintiff $850,000.00 for past and future pain and suffering.
This was a good win for our client. Mr. Smeraldi had presented a demand of $250,000 to settle the case before verdict, but the TBTA refused to pay anything.This information brought to you by Vito Cannavo, Esq., New York Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, Liability Attorney, Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C.