A hard-fought personal injury lawsuit that a woman filed after being hit by a Duane Reade truck in 2008 has settled for $22 million. Attorneys for the parties put the accord on the record Wednesday, before the plaintiff had even rested her case in Brooklyn Supreme Court. There had been 30 days of proceedings since November.
Shirley Miller, a 32-year-old veterinarian, was hit by a Duane Reade truck at a Manhattan intersection, leaving her brain-damaged, speech impaired and legally blind. She and her parents sued the company and the driver, Henry Lewis, for unspecified damages.
Justice Arthur Schack (See Profile) declared a mistrial in a first trial that had lasted nearly three months because he said jurors were complaining that they had to get back to work. Schack recused himself after allegedly drawing a bull’s eye on a picture of a defense attorney (NYLJ, Sept. 5, 2012).
Before retrial, Justice Leon Ruchelsman sanctioned one of the company’s insurance carriers for $10,000 when one of its employees initiated contact with the Millers as he was in chambers trying to broker a settlement (NYLJ, April 25, 2013, Sept. 16, 2013). Ruchelsman must approve the settlement.
The Millers are represented by Evan Torgan of Torgan Cooper & Aaron, who called the sum “a number that was fair.” He said he would have preferred to reach a verdict, but his clients sought resolution, and a verdict could have meant another two or three years of litigation and appeals. The latest round of settlement talks began more than a week ago, he said.
Jeffrey O’Hara of LeClairRyan in Newark, N.J., and Eric Berger of Cozen O’Connor represented Duane Reade at trial.