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Strong Damages Defense Strategies at Trial Prevent a Nuclear Verdict

Fullerton Beck Partner Susan Scaria successfully defended a masonry and façade contractor in a high-exposure damages-only Labor Law trial in the Bronx. The case arose out of an accident in 2014 involving a plaintiff who was working as a bricklayer when he was struck on the head with a piece of brick that fell from seven stories above.

The plaintiff alleged a fractured skull, neck and back injuries, as well as a traumatic brain injury. He underwent cervical and lumbar fusion surgeries and was treated for a brain injury for nine years leading up to the time of trial. He also received extensive pain management treatment over those nine years and never returned to work. The plaintiff’s counsel demanded $53 million in damages from the jury for economic losses as well as past and future pain and suffering.

During the trial, Susan conducted an effective cross-examination of the plaintiff’s witnesses and experts, which ultimately helped to convince the jury that the treatment rendered for the plaintiff’s injuries over the past nine years, as well as his experts’ opinions on the need for a lifetime of continued treatment for the rest of his life, was excessive. After a month-long trial, the plaintiff asked the jury to award $53 million in damages. The jury deliberated for almost two days and ultimately returned a verdict of $1.5 million for past pain and suffering and $2.5 million for future pain and suffering. This result demonstrated our legal team’s capacity to accurately evaluate our clients’ risks and exposures and devise effective defense strategies with persuasive questioning of expert witnesses to avoid a “nuclear verdict.”

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