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Deliveryman lost leg after being struck by tanker truck

Amount:

$7,217,999

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

New York

Venue:

New York County

Court:

New York Supreme

Injury Type(s):

leg-crush injury, leg;
other-prosthesis; other-phantom pain; epidermis-numbness; amputation-leg (leg (above the knee)); surgeries/treatment-skin graft; pulmonary/respiratory-respiratory

Case Type:

Motor Vehicle – Right Turn

Case Name:

Quan Di Li and Zhi Juan Deng, Individually and for Loss of Service v. Diego Chacon, Carylon Corp. and National Water Main Cleaning Co.,
No. 109371/10

Date:

October 21, 2013

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Quan Di Li (Male, 43 Years), 

Zhi Juan Deng (Female)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Benedict P. Morelli;
Morelli Ratner, P.C.;
New York,
NY,
for
Quan Di Li, Zhi Juan Deng ■ Adam E. Deutsch;
Morelli Ratner, P.C.;
New York,
NY,
for
Quan Di Li, Zhi Juan Deng ■ David Sirotkin;
Morelli Ratner, P.C.;
New York,
NY,
for
Quan Di Li, Zhi Juan Deng

Plaintiff Expert(s):

Mark Goldberg;
M.D.;
Prosthetics;
East Setauket,
NY called by
Benedict P. Morelli, Adam E. Deutsch, David Sirotkin ■ James Gurtowski;
M.D.;
Orthopedic Surgery;
Huntington,
NY called by
Benedict P. Morelli, Adam E. Deutsch, David Sirotkin ■ Charles Kincaid;
Ph.D.;
Vocational Rehabilitation;
Hackensack,
NJ called by
Benedict P. Morelli, Adam E. Deutsch, David Sirotkin ■ Leonard Freifelder;
Ph.D.;
Economics;
New York,
NY called by
Benedict P. Morelli, Adam E. Deutsch, David Sirotkin

Defendant(s):

Diego Chacon, 

Carylon Corp., 

National Water Main Cleaning Co.

Defense Attorney(s):

James T. Whalen Jr.;
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP;
New York,
NY,
for
Diego Chacon, Carylon Corp., National Water Main Cleaning Co. ■ Bryan T. Schwartz;
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP;
New York,
NY,
for
Diego Chacon, Carylon Corp., National Water Main Cleaning Co.

Defendant Expert(s):

Daniel Feuer;
Neurology;
Astoria,
NY called by
James T. Whalen Jr., Bryan T. Schwartz ■ Malcolm Reid;
Physical Rehabilitation;
New York,
NY called by
James T. Whalen Jr., Bryan T. Schwartz ■ William Book;
Vocational Rehabilitation;
Apalachin,
NY called by
James T. Whalen Jr., Bryan T. Schwartz

Insurer(s):

Lexington Insurance Co. for all defendants (primary insurer);
Zurich North America for all defendants (excess)

Facts:

On June 23, 2010, plaintiff Quan Di Li, 42, a deliveryman, was struck by a truck. The incident occurred on East 57th Street, alongside its intersection at Second Avenue, in Manhattan. Li sustained an injury of a leg. Li sued the truck’s driver, Diego Chacon; Chacon’s employer, National Water Main Cleaning Co.; and the company’s parent, Carylon Corp. Li alleged that Chacon was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. Li further alleged that the remaining defendants were liable because the accident occurred within the course of Chacon’s work duties. Li claimed that the impact occurred in a crosswalk of East 57th Street, while he was walking a bicycle across the street. Li’s counsel noted that Chacon was executing a right turn onto East 57th Street, from Second Avenue, and they argued that Chacon should have yielded the right of way. Chacon claimed that the impact occurred while Li was bicycling across the intersection. He also claimed that Li was bicycling outside of the crosswalk. Defense counsel contended that Chacon was operating a large, loud, slowly moving tanker truck that should have been easily noticeable, and they argued that Li violated his duty to maintain a lookout for vehicular traffic.

Injury:

Li sustained a crush-induced injury of his right leg. He was placed in an ambulance, and he was transported to Bellevue Hospital Center, in Manhattan. His right leg’s damage could not be repaired, so doctors performed an above-the-knee amputation of the limb. The urgency of the procedure resulted in permanent unevenness of the end of the remaining portion of the leg. Li also underwent several surgeries that involved the application of grafts of skin that had been harvested from his left leg. He required mechanical control of his respiration during a period that lasted several days, and his hospitalization lasted about two months. He also underwent a lengthy period of rehabilitation. Li received a prosthetic device, but the unevenness of his right leg’s stump prevents adequate adherence of the device. Such devices are typically attached via suction, but Li requires the use of straps. He claimed that he experiences occasional blistering and numbness that necessitates his removal of the prosthesis and use of a wheelchair. He also claimed that his prosthesis must be replaced every four to five years. He further claimed that he experiences "phantom" pain that seems to stem from the missing portion of his right leg. Li also claimed that his disability prevents his resumption of work. Li’s vocational-rehabilitation expert opined that Li does not possess skills that would permit his performance of sedentary work. Li sought recovery of a total of $51 million for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost earnings, and past and future pain and suffering. His wife, Zi Juan Deng, sought recovery of $5 million for loss of consortium. The defense’s expert neurologist examined Li and opined that Li does not exhibit neurological abnormalities, and he contended that he noticed no difficulties other than a loss of sensation in the remaining portion of Li’s right leg. The defense’s vocational-rehabilitation expert opined that Li should be able to procure sedentary work.

Result:

The jury found that all parties were liable for the accident. The defendants were assigned 75 percent of the liability, and Li was assigned 25 percent of the liability. The jury determined that the plaintiffs’ damages totaled $7,217,999, but the comparative-negligence reduction produced a net recovery of $5,413,499.25.

Zhi Juan Deng $500,380 Personal Injury: loss of consortium Quan Di Li $213,836 Personal Injury: Past Medical Cost; $1,652,783 Personal Injury: Future Medical Cost; $65,000 Personal Injury: Past Lost Earnings Capability; $286,000 Personal Injury: Future Lost Earnings Capability; $2,500,000 Personal Injury: Past Pain And Suffering; $2,000,000 Personal Injury: Future Pain And Suffering

Actual Award:

$5,413,499

Trial Information:

Judge:

Anil C. Singh

Demand:

$25,000,000 (total, by both plaintiffs, from all defendants; insurance coverage’s limit)

Offer:

$6,000,000 (total, for both plaintiffs, by all defendants)

Trial Length:

5
 weeks

Trial Deliberations:

1.5
 days

Jury Vote:

6-0

Jury Composition:

6 female

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on court documents, information that was provided by plaintiffs’ counsel and information that was provided by defense counsel.