First Department Ordered New Trial in Personal Injury Damages Lawsuit
On March 29, 2022, the Appellate Division, First Department, decided in Miller v. Camelot Communications Group, Inc., 2022 NY Slip Op 02091 (1st Dept. Mar 29, 2022) that the trial judge erroneously precluded the defendants from using the deposition transcript from the prior lawsuit and therefore ordered a new trial to be held on the issue of damages.
The facts state that on December 13, 2014, when Plaintiff Linda Miller, a pedestrian crossing the street on Broadway at an intersection, was struck by a van. She filed a case against the at-fault van driver and accordingly awarded for damages in the total sum of $4,030,000 for pain and suffering and for future medical expenses
Approximately 18 months before this accident, Plaintiff sustained a head injury at Lincoln Center when an usher swung a door open and hit her in the head. Consequently, she filed a complaint against the Lincoln Center and claimed head-related injuries which included seizure and a concussion, dizziness and memory issues and pain in her neck and shoulder. The case was settled for an undisclosed sum in 2015.
At trial in the new lawsuit, the defense attempted to introduce into evidence Ms. Miller’s deposition transcript from the Lincoln Center lawsuit (held just two months before the new accident). Plaintiff argued in favor of preclusion because the defense had failed to disclose that they intended to use the transcript. The judge in the new lawsuit precluded the defendants from using the transcript.
Further, the defendant contended that most of the complaints (such as traumatic brain injury, right arm/shoulder, left knee – torn meniscus, right wrist – carpal tunnel syndrome; surgery, keloid scarring to face and leg, and depression – were largely due to impact on acting career) claimed by the plaintiff were related to her Lincoln Center lawsuit. On the contrary, Plaintiff asserted that after her prior accident she was physically and socially active. But the new accident greatly affected her health. She was largely sedentary, lost her career and was in constant pain, and was clinically depressed.
Keeping all these arguments in mind, the appellate court ordered a new trial on the issue of damages and stated that the trial judge erred in giving the defendants a chance to use the deposition transcript from the earlier lawsuit.
Research and Writing By: Team Draft n Craft
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