Verdicts & Settlements

Couple Accepts $1.7M For Injuries Suffered When Truck Hit Their Car

Calcaterra v. Verizon:A husband and wife accepted $1.7 million on September 11 for injuries in a car crash. Joseph and Mary Calcaterra of Madison were stopped at a Bayonne traffic light in their SUV in January 2001 when their car was it from behind by a Verizon bucket truck.

Joseph's back and neck were injured, requiring a cervical discectomy and fusion plating. He still has significant pain and disability to his spine. Mary suffered a herniated disk and claimed loss of consortium, according to plaintiffs' lawyer Michael Forrester, of Perrotta, Fraser, Forrester & Panitch in Clark.

The settlement occurred before Judge Carmen Messano of Hudson County, four days before trial. Verizon was represented by Barry Sarkisian of Sarkisian, Florio & Kenney of Hoboken, who did not return a call by press time.

The driver, Patrick O'Donnell of Bayonne, was represented by senior associate Joel Stroz of Scarinci & Hollenbeck in Lyndhurst. Stroz also did not return a call.

- By Jim Edwards

$500,000 For Run-Over Foot

Sierant v. DiFerraro Inc.:A burial vault company whose truck ran over a man's foot at a funeral has paid $500,000 to settle a Union County suit.

Leon Sierant, now 38, of Kenilworth, was at St. Michael's Cemetery in South Hackensack when his left foot was run over by the left rear wheel of a truck owned by DiFerraro Inc. of Wayne.

Sierant broke his left ankle and five bones in his left foot and doctors implanted a metal plate and screws, says his lawyer, Michael Forrester, of Perrotta, Fraser, Forrester & Panitch in Clark. Sierant was left with a slight limp. He could not return to his job as a loader at a trucking company and had to take the less strenuous job of forklift operator.

Sierant sued DiFerraro and its driver, Roy Mundy of Highland Lakes. Sierant's PIP carrier, Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. of Boston, asserted $140,000 lien for Sierant's medical expenses. But the defense maintained that Sierant was partly responsible because he walked into the path of the truck.

In early August, court-appointed arbitrator Paul Endler Jr., a partner at Westfield's Garrubbo, Romankow, Rinaldo & Capece, awarded Sierant $750,000, with a finding of 25 percent contributory negligence that reduced the award to $562,000. Defense attorney Kenneth Mullaney Jr., a partner at Dwyer, Connell & Lisbona in Fairfield, rejected the award. On Aug. 22, the parties agreed to settle for $425,000 to Sierant and $75,000 to Liberty Mutual. The plaintiff received payment on Sept. 15. The defendant's insurer is New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Cos. of Trenton.

- By Charles Toutant

$750,000 For Elevator Injuries

Sporer v. Global ElevatorTechnologies: An elevator maintenance company agreed on Dec. 15 to pay $750,000 for injuries a Union County corrections officer suffered in an accident allegedly caused by poorly maintained brakes.

During a power outage at the county jail on Dec. 23, 2000, the elevator in which James Sporer, of Linden, was riding came to an abrupt halt while descending. The suit claimed Sporer suffered left knee derangement, with internal damage to the cartilage and ligaments, a strained neck and a herniated disk at L4-L5.

His lawyer, Michael Forrester, a partner with Clark's Perrotta, Fraser, Forrester & Panitch, says Sporer underwent two arthroscopic knee surgeries and lumbar fusion surgery on the disk, with insertion of pedicle screws, but the disk surgery was not completely successful, leaving Sporer with limited motion and chronic pain that have caused total and permanent disability. He cannot sit or stand for long periods of time, has a restricted ability to lift and twist, takes medication for chronic pain and might require future fusion surgery.

Sporer, now 34, and his wife Jennifer, sued Global Elevator Technologies, of Totown, which had a contract to maintain the elevators. They also sued Public Service Electric & Gas, but on Dec. 15, the day trial was to start, Forrester and Global's lawyer, Joseph Kelley, agreed to let PSE&G out of the case and then settle.

Global was insured by Gulf Insurance Group under a $10 million policy, Forrester says.

Kelly, a partner with Chatham's Maloof, Lebowitz, Connahan & Oleske, did not return a call seeking comment. PSE&G's attorney, George Keefer III, could not be reached for comment.

- By Mary P. Gallagher

$850,000.00 Settlement In March 2011

A Middlesex County resident who was injured in a motor vehicle accident which occurred on Route 22 in Union, New Jersey settled his case against a tractor truck operator, his own underinsured carrier, and another driver for the sum of $850,000 on March 16th, 2011. The Plaintiff's injuries included cervical disc herniation requiring fusion as well as bilateral shoulder injuries. The plaintiff had missed approximately 8 months of work while recuperating from his injuries. Importantly, in this case, the injured plaintiff was denied workers compensation benefits as the outset of the case but after a full hearing before a judge in the workers compensation court, the plaintiff prevailed and all of his medical treatment and temporary disability was ordered to be paid by the workers compensation carrier. In addition, plaintiff's automobile insurance company denied underinsured motorist benefits based upon a "step-down" clause in its policy. Plaintiff prevailed on that issue as well requiring the carrier to participate in the global settlement of the claim. UIM carrier had been brought into case under Zirger opinion.

$475,000 For Previously Disabled Pedestrian

$475,000 for previously disabled pedestrian who was struck by a motor vehicle. This case was settled under New Jersey wrongful death act insofar as the disabled pedestrian was instantly killed due to the negligence of the operator of a passenger vehicle. The wrongful death act does not allow for the recovery of monies for pain and suffering and we as attorneys for the decedent's family were able to generate a near policy limit resolution of the case even though the decedent was permanently and totally disabled prior to the accident, was not working and had no income.

$450,000 For Injured Foot

$450,000 for injured foot. A Union County resident was injured when his foot was run over by a truck causing crush type injuries.

$395,000 To Pedestrian

A Vermont resident visiting family in Hudson County received a $395,000 settlement arising out of an accident caused by a negligent driver in Bayonne. Plaintiff had been crossing an intersection at a light within a crosswalk but that fact had been disputed. Plaintiff suffered orbital fractures and was unable to provide care for her acutely disabled spouse.

$350,000 For Fractured Femur

A Union County resident received a settlement or $350,000 in a disputed liability, motor vehicle accident claim having suffered a fractured femur requiring orthopedic intramedullary rodding. The case was settled after a full investigation of the causes of the accident which occurred at an uncontrolled intersection.

$300,000 For Knee Injury

A Hudson County resident received a $300,000 settlement as a result of a knee injury which occurred in a motor vehicle accident which occurred on the Belleville Turnpike and Kearny, New Jersey. The injured plaintiff had struck her knee on the dashboard in the crash. Her injuries included a fractured patella requiring an intra-articular cortisone injection and then a left knee surgery in February of 2008. The recovery presented payment of the defendant's available insurance proceeds.

$290,000 For Fractured Hip

A Hudson County resident received a settlement after a slip and fall injury resulted in a fractured hip.

$235,000 For Injured Driver

A Union County resident received a settlement in late 2009 for injuries sustained in an accident which occurred in Middlesex County. The plaintiff suffered neck, back and knee injuries in this disputed liability case.

$210,000 For Shopper In Mall

In this case, a Hudson County resident was awarded $210,000 for crush injuries to his big toe which was struck by a falling plate of glass while the plaintiff was shopping in a local mall.

$200,000.00 For Injured Motorcycle Operator

A Union County resident was injured in a motorcycle accident which occurred in Newark, New Jersey. Liability for the cause of the accident had been disputed. The injured plaintiff suffered a sprained/partial tear of the anterior cruciate ligament and a shoulder sprain and strain.

$200,000 For Injured Driver Out Of Somerset County

In this case, the injured plaintiff suffered a lumbar disc injury which was superimposed upon prior lumbar disc disease.

$175,000 For Injured Restaurant Patron Who Fell From Broken Chair

After a full trial a Union County woman received an award of $175,000.00 for arm injuries suffered after falling from a defective chair.

$125,000 For Dog Bite Victim

A Union County resident received $125,000 in settlement of a claim for injuries resulting from a dog bite to the victim' torso.

$125,000 For Slip And Fall Victim In Supermarket

A Union County woman received this settlement for injuries to her shoulder as a result of a fall down in a local supermarket in which she injured her shoulder.

$115,000 For Injured Worker In A Slip And Fall Accident

$115,000 for injured worker in a slip and fall accident which occurred in his workplace cafeteria. In this disputed accident, injured plaintiff suffered an aggravation of prior knee pathology which required an additional surgery to his knee. The case was argued on dear the Wollerman standard which allowed the plaintiff to argue that notice of the spillage was not required to be proved by the plaintiff but rather defendant was obligated to bear the burden of proof of reasonable maintenance.

$106,000 For Injured Pedestrian Walking Near Construction Site

In this disputed accident case, the injured pedestrian suffered a fractured shoulder when she was caused to trip and fall on wet cement that had not been properly safeguarded by a concrete crew.

$100,000 For Slip And Fall Victim Out Of Middlesex County

In this disputed liability matter, the injured plaintiff suffered a right thigh hemotoma and a left paracentral disc herniation and extruded fragment at L4.

$50,000 To A Minor For Any Burn To The Dorsum Of Her Foot Caused By Malpractice

$50,000 to a minor for any burn to the dorsum of her foot caused by malpractice in the administration of skin medication