Favorable Defense Verdict Obtained in Motor Vehicle Personal Injury CaseMarch 1, 2023
Attorneys James A. Alissi and Derek Mello, members of Neubert, Pepe & Monteith, P.C. insurance defense practice team, achieved a great result upon trial to verdict in New Haven Superior Court before Judge Robert Young. Alissi and Mello represented a defendant sued by two plaintiffs seeking damages for personal injuries allegedly arising from a car accident. Plaintiff #1 was the driver of the vehicle in which Plaintiff #2 was a passenger. Both plaintiffs were represented by the same counsel. The plaintiffs argued that the defendant exited a Burger King parking lot on Faxon Boulevard in New Haven, CT and took an illegal left-hand turn in front of the plaintiffs. In opposition, the defendant argued that Plaintiff #1 caused the accident by traveling outside the permitted double yellow lines, into the opposite lane, all in effort to go around the stopped traffic which was allowing the defendant to exit the parking lot. The plaintiffs’ vehicle struck the defendant’s vehicle in the front driver’s side causing the airbags in the plaintiffs’ vehicle to deploy. The defendant filed an apportionment complaint against Plaintiff #1 and alleged a special defense of comparative negligence as to Plaintiff #1.
Plaintiff #1 was treated for soft tissue injuries regarding her neck and back. Her medical bills totaled approximately $3,000. Plaintiff #2 was treated for injuries to his neck, back, right shoulder (rotator cuff surgical repair), and right knee, as well as headaches and cognitive impairment. His claimed medical bills were more than $125,000. The defense argued that Plaintiff #2’s related medical treatment was about $45,000 and that the only causally related injury was Plaintiff #2’s right shoulder rotator cuff tear and surgical repair. The defense called a neurologist, Dr. Patel, to testify as to Plaintiff #2’s pre-existing conditions with respect to all his claimed injuries other than the right shoulder. Dr. Patel testified that all the plaintiff’s claimed injuries, other than the right rotator cuff repair, were not causally related to the subject accident. Plaintiff #2 called Dr. Katz to testify in support of Plaintiff #2’s orthopedic injuries and Dr. Pier to testify as to Plaintiff #2’s cognitive injuries.
Plaintiff #1’s pretrial demand was $5,000. Plaintiff #2’s pretrial demand was $500,000. The defendant offered insurance policy limits of $250,000 as to Plaintiff #2 which was rejected. During closing arguments plaintiffs’ counsel asked the jury to award $1.9 million dollars for Plaintiff #2.
After a four-day jury trial the jury returned a defendant’s verdict as to Plaintiff #1. The jury found that Plaintiff #1’s negligence was greater than the defendant’s alleged negligence. As to Plaintiff #2 the jury determined that Plaintiff #1’s apportionment defendant was 85% at fault for Plaintiff #2’s injuries and that the defendant was 15% at fault. The jury awarded economic damages of $50,000 and non-economic damages of $40,000 for a total of $90,000 which was then reduced by 85% for a final award of $13,500.
Attorneys Jim Alissi and Derek Mello are members of the insurance defense practice group at Neubert, Pepe & Monteith along with Joe Andriola, Sean Caruthers, Deborah Etlinger, Robert Johnson, Josh Joy, and Erin Canalia. The group represents insurers and their insureds on diverse matters including premises liability, dram shop, automobile accidents, products liability, employment law, professional liability, and related policy coverage issues.