A woman who claimed to have suffered debilitating foot injuries when hit and run over by a car accepted $1.27 million in her Somerset County suit, Ved v. Potter.
Shilpa Ved had just dropped off her son’s friend at his home on Goldenrod Drive in Belle Mead on Jan. 6, 2009, when she lost control of her car on an icy curve and struck a mailbox.
While parked at the curb, Ved waited in the vehicle several minutes while she made phone calls, then got out to speak with the homeowner.
As she walked around the rear of the car, Brandon Potter of Skillman drove his raised pickup truck around the curve, lost control and jumped the curb, running over Ved’s feet, according to Ved’s lawyer, Michael Paglione of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader in Lawrenceville.
Potter, who didn’t see Ved get hit, reversed away from the curb, making contact with her again.
Ved, now 45, fractured her feet, required surgeries, now has arthritis and complex regional pain syndrome, and wears a walking boot.
Ved claimed Potter negligently operated his truck. She sought additional benefits from Lexington Insurance Co., with whom Ved’s husband had an umbrella policy through his employer.
The defense said the accident was an act of God and Ved contributed to it by striking the mailbox.
Potter agreed to pay the $500,000 limit of his New Jersey Manufacturer’s automotive policy on Sept. 21. Lexington, an AIG subsidiary, agreed to pay $770,000 on Jan. 23.
The matter was mediated by retired Mercer County Superior Court Judge Neil Shuster, now of counsel to Dennigan Cahill Smith in Princeton.
Potter’s attorney, Michael McCaffrey of Purcell, Mulcahy, O’Neill & Hawkins in Bedminster, did not return a call. Neither did Lexington’s attorney, Jeffrey Bell of Golden Rothschild Spagnola Lundell Boylan & Garubo in Bridgewater.
— By David Gialanella
$1.2M in Medical-Malpractice Suit
Toribio v. Deluca:A patient who claimed a misdiagnosed disc herniation left him partially paralyzed accepted $1.2 million on Jan. 22 to settle his Essex County suit.
According to the suit, Francisco Toribio visited neurologist Matthew Deluca of Bloomfield in March 2009, complaining of leg numbness, heaviness and urinary problems. Deluca sent Toribio for an MRI. The radiologist told Deluca the result was of poor quality and the test should be redone, but Deluca never told Toribio to do so.
Toribio underwent a normal spinal tap, from which Deluca diagnosed transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder caused by an inflamed spinal cord. He ordered steroid treatments.
In May 2009, Toribio was hospitalized because his condition prevented him from walking. Deluca was on vacation, and his substitute, Belleville neurologist Michael Brand, ordered another MRI and continued steroid treatment.
In August 2009, Toribio was diagnosed at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick with a compressed spinal cord and underwent surgery.
Toribio, now 31, has been left with partial paralysis of both legs, urinary and bowel problems, and sexual dysfunction, says one of his lawyers, Beth Baldinger of Mazie, Slater, Katz & Freeman in Roseland.
The suit alleged that Deluca misdiagnosed the condition and prescribed the wrong treatment and that both Deluca and Brand were negligent in failing to order additional tests.
Deluca will pay $940,000, and Brand $275,000, says Baldinger, whose co-counsel were David Mazie and Matthew Mendelsohn of Mazie Slater.
Deluca’s lawyer, Justin Johnson of Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin in Roseland, declines to comment. Brand’s lawyer, David Weeks of Ruprecht, Hart, Weeks & Ricciardulli in Westfield, did not return a call.
—By Charles Toutant
$618,000 Award in Age-Bias Suit
Klein v. Passaic County: A former Passaic County Sheriff’s Department investigator suing for age discrimination recovered $618,000, including $407,000 in attorney fees and expenses, in a Dec. 4 judgment.
Robert Klein was the department’s oldest investigator when he was laid off at age 56 as of Jan. 1, 2008. The case was based on the age disparity between the plaintiff and other, less experienced investigators who were not laid off or who were rehired, says his lawyer, Gerald Resnick of the Resnick Law Group in Roseland.
On May 23, 2012, the jury awarded Klein $177,700 — $159,400 for back pay and $18,300 for pension loss.
Last Nov. 5, Passaic County Superior Court Judge Ralph DeLuccia awarded legal fees of $389,593 — a $292,195 lodestar with a one-third enhancement — and $17,459 in expenses. The judgment included an additional $18,279 to compensate for the added tax burden of the lump-sum payment and $14,891 in prejudgment interest.
Klein’s fellow plaintiff, Lamont Garnes of Paterson, who was 49 at the time he was laid off, was no-caused. He was also represented by Resnick.
Defense counsel J. Andrew Kinsey of Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader in Phillipsburg says no discrimination occurred and his clients are appealing.
— By Mary Pat Gallagher
$525,000 for Auto-Truck Collision
Feener v. Conti Enterprises: An Absecon man allegedly injured when a tractor-trailer hit his stopped car recovered a $525,000 settlement on Jan. 14.
On Sept. 14, 2009, Shawn Feener was at a traffic light on Route 18 in New Brunswick when the truck hit his car on the driver’s side, says one of his lawyers, Daniel Epstein of Somerset’s Epstein Arlen.
Feener suffered a disc herniation and compression that required a discectomy, fixation and fusion, Epstein says.
Feener sued the truck’s owner, Conti Enterprises Inc. of Plainfield, and its driver, employee John Casendino, in Middlesex County Superior Court.
Their insurer, Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., agreed to the settlement on Oct. 15.
Defense lawyer Mario Colitti, of Baumann & Viscomi in Morristown, did not return a call.
Feener, a legal secretary, has since returned to work, says Epstein, whose co-counsel was partner Geoffrey Arlen.
— By Michael Booth