Joe Guzzardo Wins Defense Verdict in Brooklyn On Behalf Of Tow Truck Operator and Towing Company
May 31, 2017
Partner Joseph M. Guzzardo obtained a unanimous defense verdict in Kings County on May 23, 2017 following a summary jury trial before Justice Genine Edwards. Plaintiff, a 25 year old front seat passenger in co-defendant’s Volvo, claimed that our client’s tow truck crossed over a double yellow line on 20th Avenue in Brooklyn and then began passing the Volvo, striking the Volvo on the driver’s side, and then cutting in front of the Volvo and slamming on its breaks, resulting in the Volvo rear ending our client’s tow truck. Plaintiff sustained a significant right arm injury, requiring open reduction internal fixation of her radius and elbow, followed by two additional arthroscopic procedures on her elbow to release contractures that had resulted in limited range of motion of her dominant arm. Four years after the accident, the defense orthopedist continued to measure loss of range of motion of the plaintiff’s elbow. Plaintiff’s counsel in summation asked the jury to award his client $500,000 in past and future pain and suffering.
Our client’s carrier, a regional specialty auto insurer, sent us the file just days before jury selection. When the opportunity arose to submit the matter to summary jury trial, which is a one day expedited jury trial with no right of appeal, BMM agreed to do so, but first obtained certain concessions from plaintiff’s counsel – including the right to read our client’s deposition to the jury without demonstrating his unavailability under the CPLR. This proved significant, as our client tow truck operator was no longer employed by the tow truck company, had moved out of state, was unresponsive and ultimately uncooperative and, had a background that left him vulnerable to cross-examination. Furthermore, we were able to negotiate hi/low parameters further protecting the insurer’s policy limits in the event of an adverse verdict.
After approximately 15 minutes deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous verdict finding that our client was not negligent, and that the accident was entirely the fault of the co-defendant.