A New York state judge has refused to throw out the $22.5 million verdict awarded by a Staten Island jury in a 28-year-old polio vaccine suit. Last year, the jury found Pfizer Inc., as successor to Lederle Laboratories, liable for negligent manufacture of the oral polio vaccine from which plaintiff Dominick Tenuto allegedly contracted polio while changing his infant daughter’s diapers in 1979.
Justice Joseph J. Maltese on Staten Island declined to set aside the verdict. "This was a unique case for which there does not exist comparable facts or awards within this state. Dominick Tenuto has sustained almost 30 years of past pain and suffering before having his day in court. He had physical and psychological injuries as a result of his contracting polio. It cost him his job, his marriage and the loss of enjoyment of life," wrote Maltese. "[W]ith 30 years of past pain and suffering with polio, and another 20 years of future pain and suffering, as well as the prognosis of constant care due to the physical and mental conditions of post polio syndrome, this court does not find the jury awards to be excessive."
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