An Essex County jury has awarded a Bloomfield woman $2.16 million as compensation for injuries she sustained when she slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk.
The jury awarded the damages to plaintiff Lourdes Faulkner-Marsilli, now 51, on April 26, said her attorney, Robert Baumgarten.
Faulkner-Marsilli was injured on the morning of Feb. 19, 2014, as she was walking to work on a sidewalk in front of a property owned by defendant, Sport Spot, on Central Avenue near South Clinton Street in East Orange, said Baumgarten, of Ginarte Gallardo Gonzalez Winograd in Newark.
The lawsuit alleged that the fall was caused by accumulated ice, which Sport Spot, the building’s owner, failed to clear, Baumgarten said, noting that the sidewalk had not been treated at the time of her fall.
Faulkner-Marsilli injured her right ankle and leg, leading to surgery that caused permanent scarring, limited mobility and strength, particularly going up and down stairs, and ongoing pain and swelling, Baumgarten said. She’s also no longer able to exercise or to crouch to do chores, has been limited in her work as a cafeteria worker, and is required to wear orthopedic footwear, he added.
At trial before Essex County Superior Court Judge Thomas Vena, the jury awarded Faulkner-Marsilli $2.1 million for pain and suffering, and $58,240 for lost wages, according to Baumgarten.
Sport Spot’s carrier, United States Liability Group, retained Irwin Facher of Zucker Facher & Zucker in Fairfield, to represent the defendant. He did not return a call about the case.
— Michael Booth
Killed Bus Driver’s Estate Gets $1.55M
Estate of Filozof v. Ayala: In a Middlesex County case, the estate of a bus driver who died shortly after the bus was struck by an oncoming car was paid a $1.55 million settlement on June 4.
In November 2016, Lorraine Filozof, an employee of Shamrock Stage Coach, was driving a 10-passenger school bus westbound on Phalanx Road in Middletown when a motorist traveling from the opposite direction, Albert Ayala, lost control rounding a curve and crossed into the westbound lane, striking the bus between the driver’s side door and left front wheel well, according to the plaintiffs’ attorney, Michael Hanus of Middletown.
Filozof, 62, sustained comminuted fractures to her right femur, a broken pelvis, and a lacerated aorta. The two bus passengers, a student and an aide, sustained less severe injuries, according to Hanus.
Filozof was pinned in the driver’s seat and, with the bus beginning to catch fire, had to be dragged out onto the pavement and away from the bus by the aide and a witness. The suit claimed that she was conscious and in severe pain for up to 20 minutes before dying, Hanus said.
A Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office investigation, which yielded no charges, determined that Ayala was speeding but that the accident was due to his miscalculation of the curve on a wet surface, according to Hanus, who noted that Ayala had no recollection of the accident.
Ayala was driving a car owned by his daughter, Alison Lynwood.
The suit, claiming negligence against Ayala, was in discovery when it settled on April 26. The $1.55 million sum included $1.25 million from policies issued by AAA to Ayala; $250,000 from a separate auto policy issued to Ayala by American Bankers Insurance Co. of Florida; and $50,000 from a USAA policy issued to Lynwood, according to Hanus.
Springfield solo Lane Ferdinand, representing Ayala in connection with the American Bankers policy, declined to comment.
Thomas Mooney of Barone, Mooney, Newman & Foreman in Edison, retained by AAA, didn’t return a call about the case. Neither did George Helfrich of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin in Roseland, representing USAA
— David Gialanella
$1.25M UIM Verdict
Klinger v. New Jersey Manufacturers: A Middlesex County jury awarded $1.25 million on May 8 to a woman who claimed her existing shoulder condition was made worse after her car was struck in a rear-end accident.
Sandra Klinger was driving on Cranbury Road in South Brunswick on Dec. 8, 2013, when traffic came to a stop, and her vehicle was hit from behind by a car driven by Natalia Vivar. Vivar tendered her $15,000 insurance policy, and Klinger brought an under-insured motorist claim against her own carrier, New Jersey Manufacturers, said plaintiff’s lawyer Nicholas Leonardis of Stathis & Leonardis in Edison.
Before the crash, Klinger was receiving treatment for adhesive capsulitis in her left shoulder, but she was not directed to have surgery, and her doctor predicted that the condition would improve over time, Leonardis said. After the crash, Klinger’s condition worsened, and she required arthroscopic surgery, after which she developed a suprascapular neuropathy that was believed to have been the result of a nerve injury during her operation, making it difficult for her to raise her left arm, Leonardis said.
The defense contended that Klinger’s post-collision injuries were pre-existing and not permanent, and they maintained that she needed surgery for her previous condition, Leonardis said. But the plaintiff’s medical expert testified that Klinger’s shoulder condition was improving and would have resolved itself if not for the accident, Leonardis said.
The plaintiff’s pretrial demand was $90,000, and NJM offered $45,000, but then withdrew its offer, according to Leonardis. On the eve of trial, NJM offered $50,000, then withdrew its offer again, he said.
The jury awarded $1.25 million to Klinger for pain and suffering following a four-day trial before Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Philip Paley.
Thaddeus Hubert IV of Hoagland, Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas in New Brunswick, who represented New Jersey Manufacturers, did not return a call seeking comment.
— Charles Toutant