New Jersey Injury News — It was 9 years ago, on October 24th 1999, that a 2-year-old girl named Antonia Verni was paralyzed and rendered a quadriplegic as a result of a drunk driving accident.
The man behind the wheel, Daniel Lanzaro, who slammed his pick up truck in to the Verni family’s vehicle, had a blood alcohol level of 0.226, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08 in the state of New Jersey.
Just prior to the incident Mr. Lanzaro had been drinking in a New York Giants game at Giants Stadium. Following his departure from Giants Stadium, Mr. Lanzaro stopped at two local bars.
In court, Mr. Lanzaro had testified to having 16 beers at Giants Stadium.
In 2005, a Bergen County jury ruled, Aramark, the official concession vendor of Giants Stadium, who sold alcohol to Lanzaro, should pay the Verni family $105 million for their role in the accident.
Lawyers for the Verni family had uncovered that Aramark employees had broken stadium policy by selling beers to a clearly and visibly intoxicated individual.-Thus rendering the vendor liable for damages.
However, the 2005 verdict was later overturned by an appeals court and a new trial ordered.
The Verni family and Aramark eventually settled the case out of court for an undisclosed amount. A judge agreed to seal the amount of the settlement to prevent the estranged father of Antonia Verni from improperly using the funds, as he did with earlier, separate, settlements from the NFL and the New York Giants which was approximately $1.2 million.
On December 4th 2008, a state appellate court overturned the decision to keep the terms of the settlement with Aramark sealed.
In total the Verni family and Antonia Verni, now 11, was awarded $25 million from their settlement with Aramark; $23.5 Million for Antonia, $1.5 Million for her mother, Fazila Verni. The settlement will cover past and future pain and suffering as well as life-long medical expenses.