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  Personal Injury/Damages

Ernish v. City of New York, 2 A.D.3d 256, 768 N.Y.S.2d 325 (1st Dept. 2003) involved a claim for personal injuries allegedly suffered by plaintiff, Ronald Ernish, when he fell approximately 20 feet on to a concrete floor, while working on a pier near the INTREPID along the Hudson River, in New York City. As a result of the fall, Mr. Ernish claimed to have suffered permanent brain damage, related physical and psychological disabilities as well as injuries to both shoulders and his right arm. In January 2002, prior to our firm’s involvement in this matter, a jury trial was conducted and the jury returned a verdict totaling $3,000,000. The jury awarded Mr. Ernish $1.1 million for past pain and suffering and $1.4 million for future pain and suffering and awarded his wife $250,000 for past loss of services and $250,000 for future loss of services. A motion to set aside the verdict was denied. The trial judge denied the City’s motion to reduce the damage awards.

After the trial, Brown Gavalas & Fromm was retained to pursue an appeal on behalf of the City. Although the evidence at trial established that the plaintiff suffered brain damage as a result of the accident, on appeal we argued that the damage award was excessive as it was substantially higher than prior awards for similar injuries. The Appellate Division, First Department unanimously agreed with our position and reduced the award for future pain and suffering from $1.4 million to $700,000 and the award for future loss of services from $250,00 to $125,000, for a total reduction of $825,000.