Million Dollar Verdict in Fall on Sidewalk

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

by Scott D. Kagan,

On August 6, 2008, plaintiff, a 61 year old scientist was walking near the intersection of East 62nd Street and York Avenue when he suddenly tripped and fell on the sidewalk. As a result of the fall he sustained a fractured right shoulder, with associated decreased range of motion.

Plaintiff brought a lawsuit against the adjoining premises’ owners, Amsterdam Hospitality LLC and Plaza East Hotel LLC, alleging negligence in their maintenance of the sidewalk. It was further alleged that they created the defective condition. The defendants impleaded the tenant of the premises ExxonMobil Corp. alleging they were contractually liable for the maintenance of the property. The defendants sought, and were awarded, indemnification. Ultimately, defense counsel conceded liability and the case proceeded to trial on damages only.

At trial Plaintiff’s doctor opined that the pain will only worsen over time, and contended that plaintiff would inevitably require a right shoulder replacement in the future. After a 4 day trial, and only 3 hours of deliberation, a jury awarded the plaintiff $1,015,000 in damages; including almost a half of a million dollars in future pain and suffering.

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