In Uzzolino v. Mitrow, an Ocean County jury on June 20 awarded a bankruptcy trustee $5 million following a dispute involving the sale of a family-owned pharmaceutical marketing company.

The dispute centered around Joseph Uzzolino’s hidden interest in the marketing company, Access Communications, that he started with his cousin, Michael Mitrow, said Michele Dudas, the attorney for the bankruptcy trustee, Barry Sharer.

Uzzolino was a Teamsters union president. The partnership was formed based in large part on Uzzolino’s ability to obtain membership lists for marketing interests, said Dudas, of Trenk, DiPasquale, Della Fera & Sodono in West Orange.

Although Uzzolino owned half of the company, all of the stock was in Mitrow’s name when Access Communications was sold to a Cambridge, Massachusetts, private equity firm, Monitor Clipper Partners, for $72 million, Dudas said.

At the time, Mitrow was under criminal investigation, Dudas said, adding that Mitrow told Uzzolino that he had no ownership interest in Access.

Uzzolino claimed he never received a payment, since Mitrow was denied final payments from the sale because of the investigation, Dudas said.

A grand jury in the Southern District of New York indicted Mitrow in September 2013 on wire fraud and tax evasion charges. In January 2015, Mitrow pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax  fraud, and was sentenced to 42 months in prison, Dudas said.

Uzzolino filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief in January 2014. Dudas said he did not mention his ownership interest in Access.

During Mitrow’s pre-sentence hearing, Uzzolino was a witness and said he learned for the first time about the details surrounding the sale of Access, and that he was still owed money from the proceeds, Dudas said.

Uzzolino filed his state court lawsuit in June 2015, alleging breach of oral contract, unjust enrichment and other claims.

In September 2016, Sharer reopened the bankruptcy and joined in the lawsuit, Dudas said.

Dudas said Sharer will search for Mitrow’s assets and use the proceeds to pay off any creditors.

The jury unanimously awarded $5 million in damages, according to Dudas.

Uzzolino’s personal attorney, Jackson solo Warren Peterson, said he is hoping that there will be money left over for Uzzolino after the bankruptcy creditors have been paid.

Superior Court Judge Craig Wellerson, who presided over the trial, added $363,116 in prejudgment interest and post-judgment interest to the award.

Mitrow’s attorney, Eric Inglis of Schenck Price Smith & King in Florham Park, declined to comment.

— Michael Booth

$937,500 for Ambulance vs. Pedestrian

Best v. TriCare: An Atlantic City woman is to receive $937,500 as compensation for injuries she sustained when she was hit by an ambulance while crossing a street.

Plaintiff Marketa Best, now 45, is in the process of receiving her settlement funds from New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., the carrier for defendant TriCare Medical Transportation and its driver, Antowyan AIkens, said Best’s attorneys, Michael Pender and Teddy Strickland Jr., of Targan & Pender in Atlantic City.

Best’s lawsuit, filed in Atlantic County Superior Court, settled on May 17, shortly before it was scheduled to go to trial before Superior Court Judge Christine Smith, the attorneys said.

Best was injured on Nov. 16, 2015, at the intersection of Pacific and Tennessee avenues. A security camera filmed the accident: the ambulance was making a left turn from Tennessee onto Pacific, the lawyers said.

The accident occurred when Best bent over to pick up an item that fell out of her shopping cart, they said.

She sustained a broken right pelvis and right leg displacement, and a laceration to her left ankle, and underwent surgery and physical therapy, they said.

Because of the pelvic fracture and preexisting conditions, Best has been unable to walk since being struck preexisting medical conditions, she claimeed. She has been recommended for, but not yet received, a total hip replacement, they said

NJM retainerd Chad Moore of the Hammonton office of Hoagland Longo, Moran, Dunst & Doukas. He didn’t return a call about the case.

— Michael Booth