Gallo Vitucci & Klar, New York

REPRESENTATIVE CASES

MATTHEW J. VITUCCI OBTAINS DEFENSE VERDICT IN MEGABUS RETRIAL

 

Following a five day retrial, Matt once again obtained a favorable verdict for our client, Megabus, in the matter of Ebrahem v. Coach Leasing, Inc. As we reported in our legal alert of September 3, 2013, this matter was originally tried in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York before Judge Shira A. Scheindlin resulting in a verdict of only $11,700 with 50% comparative negligence (for a net award of $5,850), which was set aside by Judge Scheindlin. The matter was reassigned to Judge Edgardo Ramos for the retrial. Plaintiff in closing argument at the retrial requested a verdict from the jury amounting to over $2.2 million. The jury unanimously returned a defense verdict.

 

Despite plaintiff's opportunity to better prepare his experts for cross-examination, and despite plaintiff's economist Dr. Dwyer's opportunity to correct her erroneous calculations that were admitted to on the stand in the first trial, Matt was still able to improve upon his already winning result. The jury unanimously found that although plaintiff underwent a six-level lumbar fusion and a left knee menisectomy, these were not related to the subject accident and plaintiff did not suffer a serious injury.

 

The case arose from an accident that occurred in 2012 at the Manhattan entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel in which the defendants' bus and plaintiff's livery taxi had a minor side-swipe collision where each party alleged the other caused the impact. Plaintiff offered the expert testimony of the performing spinal surgeon, Dr. Sebastian Lattuga, the performing knee surgeon, Dr. Neofitos Stefanides, an expert engineer, Grahme Fischer, and an expert economist, Dr. Debra Dwyer. Despite the testimony of these experts, Mr. Vitucci was able to persuade the jury that plaintiff did not suffer a serious injury as a result of the subject accident. Defendants relied upon the testimony of neurosurgeon Dr. Douglas Cohen, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gregory Montalbano, and biomechanical engineer Dr. Mariusz Ziejewski. Because the jury first determined a lack of serious injury, the question of negligence was never reached.

 

Let's hope Matt will not have to go 3-for-3!

 

GALLO VITUCCI KLAR LLP'S TRANSPORTATION TEAM SCORES VICTORY IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT - SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK - BUS CASE

 

Following a five day jury trial and four hours of deliberation, Matthew Vitucci obtained a favorable verdict for our client, Megabus, in the matter of Ebrahem v. Coach Leasing, Inc., tried in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York before Judge Shira A. Scheindlin. The verdict came back apportioning liability 50/50 and awarding no pain and suffering damages and medical expenses totaling only $11,700. Defendants' 50% apportioned share of damages, resulting in a net award of only $5,850. Plaintiff's last settlement demand was $3.2 million and in closing argument, plaintiff requested a verdict amounting to $2.4 million.

 

The case arose from an accident that occurred in 2012 at the Manhattan entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel in which the defendants' bus and plaintiff's livery taxi had a minor side-swipe collision where each party alleged the other caused the impact. Plaintiff alleged that this accident caused injury to his left knee requiring a partial menisectomy and lumbar spine injury necessitating a six level lumbar fusion.

 

Plaintiff offered the expert testimony of the performing spinal surgeon, Dr. Sebastian Lattuga, the performing knee surgeon, Dr. Neofitos Stefanides, an expert engineer, Grahme Fischer, and an expert economist, Dr. Debra Dwyer. Despite the testimony of these experts, Mr. Vitucci was able to persuade the jury that that the majority of the alleged injuries and medical treatment were due to pre-existing degenerative disc disease and knee degradation, and not to the impact from this accident. Furthermore, he was able to persuade the jury that the cost of future medical expenses offered by Dr. Dwyer were both erroneously calculated (as she had to concede on the stand) as well as inappropriately large.

 

Prior to the trial, plaintiff claimed that he could no longer work at all and was making a claim for lost wages since the date of accident through his projected working future. Successful surveillance taken prior to trial, however, led to plaintiff withdrawing his lost wages claim.

 

Defendants relied upon the testimony of neurosurgeon Dr. Douglas Cohen, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Gregory Montalbano, and biomechanical engineer Dr. Mariusz Ziejewski.

 

MATTHEW J. VITUCCI OBTAINS A DEFENSE VERDICT IN A BUS/AUTOMOBILE COLLISION CASE.

 

On June 7, 2010 Mr.Vitucci obtained a unanimous verdict for the defense in a bus/automobile collision case tried before Judge John Galasso of the Supreme Court, Nassau County. The matter involved a collision that occurred on February 24, 2004, at the intersection of Francis Lewis Boulevard, and 99th Avenue. Plaintiff claimed to have sustained a traumatic activation of symptoms from a previously asymptomatic condition known as a Chiari 1 malformation, and claimed that the accident caused the need for plaintiff to undergo surgeries to the brain and lumbar spine. 

 

MATTHEW J. VITUCCI OBTAINS DEFENSE VERDICT IN LIMOUSINE CASE.

 

Mr. Vitucci obtained a unanimous verdict for the defendant in a case involving a pedestrian knockdown.  The plaintiff claimed to have been struck by the defendant's limousine.  The matter was tried before Judge Thomas Aliotta of the Supreme Court, Richmond County.  The plaintiff, a doorman for the W Hotel on West 47th Street claimed that while he was helping to direct vehicles to the side of the road to pick up hotel patrons the defendant's vehicle backed into him at high speed, throwing him 15 feet into the road and onto the hood of a car behind them.  Plaintiff contended that he sustained various head and back injuries which would require lumbosacral spinal fusion surgery.  In finding for the defendant, the jury credited the defendant driver's account of the accident, that being that there was no contact with the pedestrian plaintiff.

 

MATTHEW J. VITUCCI OBTAINS DEFENSE VERDICT IN TRUCK COLLISION CASE.

 

In a trial involving a March 22, 2002 collision between a truck owned by the defendants, and a truck driven by the plaintiff, Matthew Vitucci obtained a unanimous defendant's verdict on the issue of damages.  Liability in the matter had been previously been decided by the Court.  Plaintiff claimed a variety of injuries to his head, causing a loss of hearing, a herniated disc at C4-5 and L5-S1, post concussion syndrome, TMJ dysfunction and loss of balance.  He claimed that he required the use of a cane to ambulate.  He claimed that his hearing loss required the use of bilateral hearing aides.  He further underwent surgery for his TMJ dysfunction.  At trial Mr. Vitucci, on cross examination of the plaintiff and plaintiff's experts, was able to establish that the injuries claimed in fact pre-dated the accident.  Having determined that the injuries claimed were not causally related to the collision, the jury therefore concluded that the injuries did not meet the "Serious Injury" requirement set forth in the New York Insurance Law.

 

MATTHEW J. VITUCCI OBTAINS DEFENSE VERDICT IN TRUCK/LIMOUSINE ACCIDENT CASE.

 

In a matter tried before Judge Patricia Williams of the Supreme Court, Bronx County, Mr. Vitucci successfully defended a truck rental company against claims brought by a livery cab driver who claimed to have sustained bilateral injuries to his knees requiring surgery, a cervical spinal injury that would require surgery and a ruptured disc in the lumbar spine which was treated via a spinal fusion procedure.  Plaintiff's doctors testified that in the future plaintiff would require bilateral knee replacements, a fusion surgery to the cervical spine and a further revision surgery to the lumbar spine.  Plaintiff claimed future medical costs in excess of $2.8 million dollars.  On behalf of plaintiff and his wife $9 million dollars was asked of the jury.  The jury issued a verdict in favor of the defense, crediting the defense arguments that the accident at issue was minor, and could not have caused the injuries complained of.

 

RICHARD J. GALLO OBTAINS DEFENSE VERDICT

 

Richard J. Gallo obtained a unanimous defense verdict in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey ( Newark ).  The matter was tried before Judge Joseph Greenaway.  The matter concerned subrogation claims brought by two insurance carriers that paid over 1.5 million dollars for property damage sustained by a plastic bag manufacturer and its landlord.  The plaintiffs contended that the defendant-sprinkler company had negligently failed to detect a blockage in the fire-suppression system which rendered the system inoperable in half the warehouse.  The defendant contended that it bore no responsibility for the fire loss, because it did not install the system nor did it know nor had reason to know that there was a blockage in the system when it conducted an external inspection of the system the year prior to the accident.  Following a nearly two week trial, a unanimous jury of 12 rendered a verdict in favor of the defendant.  The jury agreed that the defendant did not know nor had reason to know that there were any blockages in the system.

 

RICHARD J. GALLO OBTAINS A DEFENSE VERDICT IN AN AMBULANCE CASE

 

Richard J. Gallo obtained a defense verdict in a case involving a motor vehicle collision with an ambulance. The matter was tried in Supreme Court, Queens County. Plaintiff contended his vehicle was hit by an ambulance while making a left hand turn. Plaintiff claimed the ambulance's lights and sirens were not activated at the time of the collision.  The jury rendered a defense verdict. It found that the driver of the ambulance was responding to an emergency situation and was not acting with reckless disregard for the safety of others.

 

HOWARD L. COGAN OBTAINS DEFENSE VERDICT IN THE CASE OF THE MISSING DIAMOND

 

Howard L. Cogan recently obtained an unanimous defendant's verdict in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of New York, before Justice Shirley Werner Kornreich. The plaintiff, a New York wholesaler of diamonds and jewelry, claims it sent on consignment to our client, an Arizona retailer of high-end jewelry, a pair of 20.50 carat pear-shaped diamond earrings valued at $354,740 and a 10.04 carat diamond ring valued at $172,117.80. Our client denied requesting and/or receiving the diamond ring. After a four day trial, the jury found that our client was not liable for the "missing" diamond ring.

 

MARY L. MALONEY OBTAINS DEFENSE VERDICT IN FALL ON SNOW CASE

 

In a matter tried before Justice Mark Partnow in Supreme Court, Kings County, Mary L. Maloney obtained a unanimous defense verdict on behalf of the abutting landowner where plaintiff claimed that she was stepping from a City bus and fell on mound of snow still on the sidewalk several days after the last snowfall.  Plaintiff claimed that the defendant was statutorily liable for its alleged failure to remove all snow and ice on the sidewalk.  Plaintiff and her cousin testified to the condition as did the Police Department and EMS worker who responded to the scene.   Plaintiff sustained a bimalleolar fracture to the right ankle; Weber C-type right fibular fracture with displaced malleolus fracture of the right ankle; and torn ligaments.

 

MARY L. MALONEY OBTAINS DEFENSE VERDICT IN CEILING COLLAPSE CASE

 

In a matter tried before Justice Alexander Hunter in Supreme Court, Bronx County, Mary L. Maloney obtained a defense verdict on behalf of the owner and managing company of an apartment building in the Bronx.  The plaintiff claimed that her bedroom ceiling collapsed upon her head and alleged that the defendants were negligent in allowing the ceiling to become and remain broken and dangerous; in negligently repairing the ceiling; and on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.  The plaintiff also alleged actual and constructive notice which Justice Hunter granted in her favor as a matter of law prior to the trial.   The plaintiff and her daughter, an alleged eyewitness, testified that they made verbal complaints to the building super, who also testified and stated that ceiling repairs were properly made prior to the date of loss.  The injuries, which were before the jury, were herniated discs at C5-6 and at C6-7 and lumbar disc bulges.  The plaintiff underwent laminectomy, discectomy, surgical insertion of plate and screws; vertebrectomy; cervical fusion; bulging discs and psychological trauma. 

 

MARY L. MALONEY OBTAINS DEFENSE VERDICT IN AUTOMOBILE COLLISION CASE

 

In a matter tried before Justice Valerie Brathwaite-Nelson of the Supreme Court, Queens County, Ms. Maloney obtained a defense verdict on behalf of the owner and driver of an automobile involved in a two car collision which occurred within the intersection at 81st Avenue and Little Neck Parkway in Queens.  The intersection had a traffic control signal and both drivers claimed to have had the light in their favor.   The jury found 100% liability against the co-defendant driver and owner.  Plaintiff sustained a left shoulder dislocation and comminuted and angulated fracture of the scapular blade requiring surgery.

 





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