SUMMARIES WITH TRIAL ANALYSIS
then awarded $9,185,000, including $6,000,000 for past pain and suffering and $3,185,000 for future pain and suffering.
Plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert: Robert Frein from Westbury, NY. Plaintiff’s orthopedic surgeon expert: Vincent Fietti, MD from New York, NY.
Cropper vs. Stewart, et al. Index no. 1148778/06; Judge Donna Mills, 08-11-11.
Attorney for plaintiff: Walter G. Alton, Jr. of W. Alton., Jr. & Associates, PC in New York, NY.
even though the plaintiff’s friend ran alongside the bus and pounded on the window by the front doors, and that the bus driver finally stopped because others on were waving arms and shouting of in front of him, heightened the jury response. Further, the evi- dence that the plaintiff was required to be extricated by firefighters who had to jack up the bus was also undoubtedly significant. Moreover, the photographs of the leg at various stages of his recov- ery, and the jury’s observations of the severe disfigurement and scarring that remains was thought to also have a strong impact. Fi- nally, the plaintiff emphasized that because of the virtual absence of cushioning fat and the nature of the grafted skin, he will perma- nently suffer very friable skin that is vulnerable to cracking, that he must avoid sunlight, and that he must lead a much more sedentary lifestyle.
The jury award clearly reflected the highly traumatic and unusual nature of the incident. In this regard, the evidence that the bus driver was not aware that the plaintiff was being pushed by the bus
$5,000,000 RECOVERY – CIVIL RIGHTS – WRONGFUL DEATH – PARENTS OF AUTISTIC BOY SUE IN STATE AND FEDERAL COURT AFTER AID WORKER AT STATE FACILITY FOR THE DISABLED KILLS HIM.
Albany County, NY
In this matter, the family sued in both state and federal court over the wrongful death of their autistic son while in state care.
Jonathan C., 13, was autistic. At the time of his death on February 15, 2007, Jonathan was being cared for at OD Heck, a New York State facility for the disabled located near Albany, New York. On the date of his death, Jonathan was in a van on a community out- ing with OD Heck developmental aides Edwin T. and a trainee, Nadeem M. On that date, Edwin T. asphyxi- ated and killed Jonathan C. in the van while Nadeem M. watched. The two men then drove around for over an hour before seeking medical at- tention for or checking on the deceased. The death was ruled a homicide and the two men were con- victed, Edwin T. for manslaughter and Nadeem M. for criminally negligent homicide.
The parents of the deceased, Michael and Lisa C., filed wrongful death actions in state and federal court. The state case was filed in the New York Court of Claims against the State of New York, while a fed- eral civil rights case was filed against Edwin T., Nadeem M., and various individual supervisors at OD Heck in the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York. The plaintiffs sought conscious pain and suffering and hedonic damages on behalf of Jonathan C. under the U.S. Code 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as punitive damages for gross negligence and recovery for their own individual pain and suffering.
Michael and Lisa Carey vs. David M. Slingerland, Katherine Bishop, Karen Sleight, Cathy Labarge, Ann Marie Petersen, Jennifer Hoerup, Eloise Potenza, Dave Iacavitti, Petra Hamilton, Tim Murphy, Edwin Tirado, Nadeem Mall and John and Jane Does 1-20. Index no. 1:2009cv00163; Magistrate Randolph F. Treece, 09-21-11.
Attorney for plaintiff: Ilann Margalit Maazel in New York, NY. Attorney for defendant: Eric T. Schneiderman of New York State Office of the Attorney General in Albany, NY.
Jonathan C. had previously been cared for at the privately-owned Anderson School, a private facility. In 2005, the boy was taken from Anderson following instances of abuse and brought to OD Heck, a state-run facility. Two months later, OD Heck was put on sanction due to a host of violations, including inadequate investi- gation of injuries of unknown cause. Investigation of Edwin T. revealed that the aid worker had worked for 197 hours in the two weeks prior to the killing: 15 days in a row, including 14 night shifts and ten double shifts. Edwin T. had a prior criminal record for the sale of marijuana. Nadeem M. had been fired four times for cause from agencies serving the disabled. The incident at Anderson became the catalyst for the creation of a state law requiring that parents be given access to investigative re- ports of alleged abuse cases involving their children. The law, called Jonathan’s Law, passed in May, 2007, three months after Jonathan’s death.
The matter was settled pretrial for $5 million.
New York Jury Verdict Review & Analysis