$92,500 Settlement in Crash Suit

Collegio v. Brown, Monmouth County Superior Court; July 22.

Facts & Allegations: On Nov. 6, 2005, 10-year-old Ashley Collegio was a front-seat passenger in a car driven by her mother, Ann Carvana, on Route 9 in Manalapan when it reportedly was broadsided by a car driven by David Brown.

The defendants had allegedly disregarded a red light at the intersection with Taylors Mill Road.

Ashley’s doctor said she suffered a displaced broken nose. She also allegedly suffered minor facial abrasions, and complained of neck pain and cervical-muscle spasms.

Carvana brought a negligence suit on Ashley’s behalf. Liability was not disputed, and the case focused on the nature and extent of Ashley’s injury—particularly, whether her nasal fracture was a displace one, which would implicate the requirements of the tort threshold.

The defense did not dispute that Ashley had suffered a fracture but it was not displaced.

However, at the time of the case’s final disposition, Ashley had just turned 18 and claimed she had a minimal but visible disfigurement at the top of her nose; her counsel argued that this was objective evidence of a permanent injury.

The case settled for $92,500.

Plaintiff Attorney: Daniel Eastmond, Manning, Caliendo and Thomson, Freehold.

Defense Attorney:Sean Doherty, Law Office ofDoreen Ryan, Wall.

Plaintiff Expert: Sigmund Sattenspiel, M.D., plastic surgery/reconstructive surgery, Freehold.

Defense Expert: Darsit Shah, M.D., otolaryngology, Shrewsbury.

This report is based on information from plaintiff counsel. Defense counsel declined to comment.


$80,000 Settlement in Collision

Hastings v. Barrena; Passaic County Superior Court; Sept. 18.

Facts & Allegations: Zandria Hastings claimed that on March 16, 2011, she was a front-seat passenger when driver Carlos Barrena tried to turn right into a driveway off of East 28th Street in Paterson and his car was hit from behind by a car driven by Lisa Ford.

Hastings’ back and neck pain resolved, but she saw an orthopedic specialist for increasing shoulder pain that eventually resulted in a clinical diagnosis and in her undergoing arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

Following the surgery, Hastings had physical therapy and reportedly made a good recovery. The defense argued that Hastings had been well treated and had healed well.

Ford accused Barrena of not using a blinker, a contention Barrena denied.

Hastings sued Barrena, Ford and Alphonso Smith, who had given Ford permission to use the car.

The claims against Ford and Smith settled for $80,000. Barrena was granted a voluntary dismissal.

Plaintiff Attorney:Marc Ross, Paterson.

Defense Attorneys: Thomas Griffin, Litvak & Trifiolis, Cedar Knolls (for Alphonso Smith, Lisa Ford); Kevin McGee,McDermott & McGee, Millburn (for Carlos Barrena).

This report is based on information from plaintiff counsel. Defense counsel did not return calls.


$65,000 Settlement in Broadside Crash

Munoz v. Farag; Bergen County Superior Court; July 17.

Facts & Allegations: On April 22, 2011, Praxedo Munoz was driving on Union Avenue in Rutherford, at the intersection with Vanderburgh Avenue, when he allegedly was broadsided by a car driven by Demyana Farag.

According to Munoz, the crash occurred when Farag tried to turn left onto Vanderburgh Avenue in front of the Munoz vehicle.

Munoz complained of back and neck pain, which resolved, but said he continued to experience pain in his left knee. MRI studies revealed a partial meniscus tear, and Munoz underwent arthroscopic knee surgery. After a course of physical therapy, he reportedly had a good recovery, but claimed that he still experiences residual pain, stiffness and some loss of range of motion.

Munoz sued Farag and Mina Gad, who gave permission for the vehicle’s use, alleging that Farag had been negligent and Gad vicariously liable.

Farag initially denied negligence, alleging Munoz had been negligent by failing to yield the right-of-way.

The defense argued that Munoz had been well treated and had effectively healed.

The case settled for $65,000.

Plaintiff Attorney: Marc Ross, Paterson.

Defense Attorney:Roosevelt Jean, Chasan Leyner & Lamparello, Secaucus.

This report is based on information from plaintiff counsel. Defense counsel declined to comment.


$45,000 Settlement in Slip and Fall

Hazel v. The Monmouth Mall; Monmouth County Superior Court; Aug. 26.

Facts & Allegations: On Feb. 15, 2011, college student Toni Hazel fell after allegedly slipping at night on ice in a store parking lot at the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown.

Hazel claimed she injured her lower back, left wrist and hand, left knee, and neck. She was diagnosed with cervical-disc bulging at C6-7, and multiple lumbar-disc bulges with associated mild bilateral foraminal stenosis.

Hazel allegedly had had a prior accident in June 2008, injuring her neck, lower back, left knee and left ankle. She claimed that as of February 2011, she was asymptomatic and had never injured her left hand or wrist.

At the time of the case’s disposition, Hazel remained in active treatment for her hand and wrist injuries, and had been advised that if physical therapy proved unsuccessful, she might be a candidate for surgery. She was diagnosed with left-side cubital tunnel syndrome, consistent with her complaints of elbow pain.

Hazel also complained that she continues to have lower back pain and intermittent left hip pain, and cannot open jars and use her left hand as well as before.

She contended that when one of the mall’s loss-prevention workers interviewed her shortly after the accident, he told her that her fall had been captured on surveillance cameras. She claimed that he said hers had been a very hard fall, and acknowledged that the area had not been properly salted.

The defense attributed most of Hazel’s symptoms to her prior accident and preexisting, degenerative conditions; denied negligence; said no employees or agents made admissions along the lines Hazel claimed and argued that Hazel’s negligence, in not exercising due caution, caused the accident.

The case settled for $45,000.

Plaintiff Attorney: Roy Curnow, Spring Lake.

Defense Attorneys: Gregory Foote, William Riina, Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, Florham Park.

Plaintiff Expert: Kevin McDaid, M.D., orthopedic surgery, Ocean.

Defense Experts: Thomas Cuomo, M.D., orthopedic surgery, South Orange; Kevin Egan, M.D., orthopedic surgery, West Orange.

This report is based on information from plaintiff and defense counsel.

The cases that appear here are derived from VerdictSearch New Jersey, an affiliate of the New Jersey Law Journal. For more reports from VerdictSearch, or to request research, go to or call 1-800-832-1900.