On March 15, 2023 MKCI Partner and trial counsel Steve Toner obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a transportation client in Kings County, New York in the Lanzarotta & Lasala v. Big Apple Livery Leasing LLC, et al. matter. This case involved a rear end automobile accident. The trial was for damages only, and the jury came back with a with a unanimous defense verdict finding that, despite the claim of bilateral knee surgery to the then 24-year year old plaintiff 4 months post-accident, he did not sustain a significant limitation, or a permanent consequential loss of use, to his knees and therefore did not meet the No-Fault Threshold of a “Serious Injury”.
The evidence key to this verdict was the testimony of MKCI’s biomechanical expert witness, supported by blow-ups of the two vehicles involved in the accident, and the plaintiff’s employment attendance records. The employment attendance records showed the plaintiff had gone back to work 8 hours a day immediately after the accident, and continued those 8 hour days for four months, only taking 3 weeks off after each of the two knee surgeries. Despite plaintiff’s testimony that he was placed on limited duty at his job with the MTA, and a change in plaintiff’s job duties to a less physically active routine, the trial judge ruled this testimony did not provide sufficient evidence to support the 90/180 Day Serious Injury exception, as the limited job duty assignment did not constitute the “substantially all” of the plaintiff’s “usual and customary daily activities”. After deliberating for less than 2 hours, the jury came back with a unanimous verdict on the two No-Fault Threshold Questions they were given.
Two weeks earlier, Steve obtained a defense verdict in another Kings County matter: Sarah Torres-Hernandez v. Flawless, Inc. et al. This case involved a three car crash, wherein the plaintiff was making a left turn across an intersection in front of MKCI’s client and a codefendant. Plaintiff claimed she had completed her turn and MKCI’s client failed to yield the right of way. The impact was severe and the Plaintiff sustained some significant injuries. The force of the impact pushed MKCI’s client’s car into the co-defendant, who was in the adjacent lane. Plaintiff sued both car owners and drivers.
At trial, Steve used scene and vehicles photos, as well as a subpoena for the co-defendant driver who testified remotely and gave favorable testimony for both defendants’ vehicles. Plaintiff testified that she was stopped and was waiting for an opening in traffic prior to proceeding. However, the co-defendant driver testified that he saw Plaintiff turn across traffic, thus colliding with MKCI’s client’s vehicle, which was then pushed into co-defendant’s vehicle.
The jury deliberated for four hours, after which they returned a unanimous defense verdict on Question No. 1: Do you find that the Defendant driver, MKCI’s client, was negligent in the operation of his vehicle?
Steve’s latest verdict is the fifth defense verdict MKCI has obtained thus far during 2023. In January of 2023, Chris Todd obtained defense verdicts in two matters involving transportation clients in the Bronx and Kings County and Gillian Fisher obtained a no cause in Brooklyn in an automobile accident/personal injury matter. For additional information regarding these matters, please contact: