A woman who alleged that misread genetic tests caused her child's disabilities settled her wrongful-birth suit, Hunter v. Shertz, for $7.15 million.
In the fall of 2009, Laurie Hunter, then 40, underwent genetic testing at Monmouth County Medical Center and was assured of no abnormalities, says her lawyer, Bruce Nagel of Nagel Rice in Roseland.
Her daughter Kaitlyn was born in January 2010 with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, which is characterized by facial deformities, intellectual disabilities, delayed growth and seizures. Nagel says the girl cannot speak, is deaf and likely blind, is fed through a stomach tube, requires around-the-clock care and has a 20- to 30-year life expectancy.
Hunter settled with the director of the center's genetic laboratory, Dr. Wendy Shertz, in August for her $1 million policy limit.
The other $6.15 million will be paid on behalf of the center and two lab technicians, as agreed on Nov. 21 through mediation with former Superior Court Judge James Clyne of Benchmark Resolution Services of New Egypt.
The center's lawyer, Robert Giannone of Ronan Tuzzio & Giannone in Tinton Falls, confirms the amount of the settlement. The parties are awaiting a friendly hearing.
Shertz's attorney, Lauren Strollo of Vasios Kelly & Strollo in Union, was out of the office and could not be reached.
Greg Kohn of Nagel's firm was his co-counsel.
—By Mary Pat Gallagher
$850,000 in Pedestrian Accident
Hutting v. Drazner: A man struck while crossing a street recovered $850,200 on Nov. 13 in arbitration of his Monmouth County suit.
Robert Hutting was leaving Zachary's Restaurant on Oceanport Avenue in West Long Branch when the March 2010 accident occurred. He suffered a compound, comminuted fracture to his right tibia and fibula, a left upper arm fracture, rib fractures and a scalp laceration, and a surgically implanted leg rod had to be replaced, says his lawyer, Nicholas Leonardis of Stathis & Leonardis in Edison.
The driver, Arthur Drazner of West Palm Beach, Fla., had a $25,000 auto policy limit, so Hutting filed an underinsured-motorist claim against his landscaping business carrier, Travelers.
The defense contended that Hutting was intoxicated, was not in a crosswalk and was in a poorly lit area. Hutting claimed he was wearing brightly colored clothing and disputed the .18 percent blood-alcohol reading.
Arbitration panel members Bruce Magaw, Joseph Ricigliano and Michael Kearns awarded gross damages of $1.31 million but apportioned 35 percent of liability to Hutting, netting him $850,200.
Travelers' counsel, Scott Conchar of William Staehle's firm in Morristown, did not return a call.
—By David Gialanella
Thomas Shebell III
$700,000 for Slip and Fall
Winter v. The Club at Old Orchard: A Middlesex County jury awarded $700,000 on Nov. 1 to a man who tripped and fell at a country club, but his recovery was cut to $490,000 due to a finding of contributory negligence.
Frank Winter fell over a concrete sign holder and a yellow rope divider at the Club at Old Orchard in Eatontown on Oct. 14, 2010. Winter, blind in his right eye, said he did not see either obstruction. No sign was in the sign holder and the ankle-height rope was too low to be seen, he claimed.
Winter suffered nasal and facial fractures, a deviated septum and a closed-head injury. Now 81, he suffers daily headaches and has difficulty breathing through his nose, and exhibits personality changes, the suit charges.
At a jury trial before Superior Court Judge David Bauman, Winter was awarded $600,000 and his wife $100,000 on her per quod claim. The club was found 70 percent negligent and Winter 30 percent.
Winter's lawyer was Thomas Shebell III of Shebell & Shebell in Shrewsbury. The club's lawyer, Daniel Jahnsen of Bolan Jahnsen Dacey in Shrewsbury, confirms the verdict.
—By Charles Toutant
Judge Barry Sarkisian
No Cause in Bus Accident
Johnson v. Redd: A Hudson County jury on Oct. 31 handed up a no-cause verdict in a suit alleging a motorist was injured when a bus hit her car.
Shalome Johnson of Jersey City claims she was parked on Kennedy Boulevard in Jersey City on Feb. 17, 2009, when she was sideswiped by a Red and Tan bus. She said she suffered severe shoulder and cervical damage. A medical office receptionist, she allegedly has not returned to work.
The bus driver, George Redd, said that he had to swerve to avoid a car, that Johnson's car damages were minor and that her personal injuries could not have been caused by the accident.
Johnson sought $1.6 million for lost wages and household management services, along with $3 million in hedonic damages, but Judge Barry Sarkisian ruled they are not cognizable, says Redd's lawyer, Theodore Schaer of Philadelphia's Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy.
Johnson also had sought underinsured-motorist damages from her carrier, IDS Property and Casualty Ins. Co., but the jury no-caused the claim.
Red and Tan's attorney, Michael Tuzzio of Tinton Falls' Ronan, Tuzzio & Giannone, confirms the verdicts. IDS's attorney, Adam Kenny, of Parsippany's Weiner Lesniak, did not return a call.
Johnson's attorney, Steven Haddad of Jersey City, says he will appeal and ask Sarkisian for a new trial.
—By Michael Booth
This article originally appeared in the print edition under the headline “Suits & Deals.”