A Bronx jury has awarded nearly $10.6 million to the husband of a woman struck and killed by a van when its driver, who was working for a laundry business, made a left-hand turn.
Mario Martinez, the widower and administrator of the estate of Margarita Martinez, won the verdict and damages after a seven-day wrongful death trial in Martinez v. Premium Laundry, 304226/12.
The jury deliberated for only 30 minutes on May 1 before finding Premium Laundry, the employer of driver Robert Lane, liable.
Lane was turning left onto Cypress Avenue in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx when he collided into Martinez. At trial, he claimed he couldn’t have avoided it, saying Martinez, 79, was not in the crosswalk and had inattentively walked into his van’s path.
But a plaintiff’s witness said the impact occurred in the crosswalk. And Mario Martinez’s lawyer, Justin Hartman of Krentsel & Guzman in Manhattan, argued a traffic signal had permitted Margarita Martinez’s entrance into the road.
Hartman said Margarita Martinez suffered fractures, respiratory failure and cardiac arrest, and was in pain for 40 minutes before dying.
Mario Martinez and the estate, which sued Lane’s employer because he’d been on the job, sought $5,000 for his wife’s funeral; $21 million for her pain and suffering; and $2 million for his pecuniary losses.
Premium Laundry, represented by Stephen Burke of Martin, Fallon & Mullé in Huntington, New York, contended Margarita Martinez experienced only a few minutes of pain.
The jury awarded $5,000 for the funeral; $10,500,000 for pain and suffering; and $92,400 for loss of pecuniary contribution (11 years).
Bronx Supreme Court Justice Donna Mills presided over the trial. Neither Hartman nor Burke could be reached for comment this week.