Bus's driver didn't yield at crosswalk, suit alleged
|Pedestrian, Motor Vehicle - Bus, Government - Municipalities|
|Bonnie Gould, Public Administrator of Bronx County, as Administrator of the Estate of Colette Valli, Deceased v. New York City Transit Authority, No. 401803/07|
|New York Supreme, NY|
|Richard F. Braun
- Ronald C. Burke; Kelner & Kelner; New York, NY, for Estate of Colette Valli
- Mark A. Collesano; Barry, McTiernan & Moore, LLC; New York, NY, for New York City Transit Authority
At about 8:45 p.m. on June 7, 2006, plaintiff's decedent Colette Valli, a 51-year-old unemployed woman, was struck by a bus. The incident occurred on Amsterdam Avenue, alongside its intersection at West 166th Street, in Manhattan. Valli sustained injuries of her face and a leg.
Valli sued the bus's operator, the New York City Transit Authority. Valli alleged that the bus's driver was negligent in his operation of the bus. She further alleged that the New York City Transit Authority was vicariously liable for the driver's actions.
Valli died in 2010, though her death was not related to the accident. The case was continued by a public administrator of Valli's estate.
The estate's counsel claimed that the impact occurred in a crosswalk, and he contended that the bus's driver should have yielded the right of way. He noted that a New York City Transit Authority investigator's report indicated that the bus's driver acknowledged that he did not apply the bus's brakes until after the impact had occurred. The estate's counsel also noted that the investigator concluded that the bus's driver did not yield the right of way.
The bus's driver could not be produced for the trial. During a deposition, he contended that Valli did not occupy a crosswalk and that she appeared to be chasing someone. He claimed that she was walking in a westerly direction and safely crossed Amsterdam Avenue's four lanes of travel but reversed after reaching the southbound parking lane and entered the direct path of the bus. He contended that, upon seeing her reverse, he sounded the bus's horn, applied its brakes and veered away from her, but that he could not have avoided the collision. In response, the estate's counsel claimed that Valli's injuries were not suggestive of injuries that could have been sustained while Valli was walking in an easterly direction. He also claimed that the bus's driver's deposition testimony contradicted testimony that the driver had provided during an investigation that the New York City Transit Authority conducted.
Valli sustained a comminuted fracture of her right leg's tibial plateau, which is a lower component of the right knee's joint. She also sustained lacerations of the right side of her face.
Valli was placed in an ambulance, and she was transported to Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, in the Bronx. Her fracture was addressed via open reduction and the internal fixation of a plate and seven screws.
Valli also underwent about six months of physical therapy, and she required the use of a cane, crutches and a wheelchair during the 12 months that followed the accident. In 2007, an X-ray revealed that she was suffering a collapse of her right leg's tibial plateau. Valli's doctor recommended reconstruction or replacement of Valli's right knee, but Valli instead underwent about 12 months of orthopedic treatment.
Valli retained a residual limp, and she claimed that her right knee remained painful. Valli's treating orthopedist opined that Valli's fracture did not properly heal, and he contended that she suffered severe arthritic pain.
Valli died on May 4, 2010. Her death was not related to the injuries that she sustained as a result of the accident. Valli's estate sought recovery of damages for Valli's pain and suffering.
Defense counsel contended that Valli achieved a good recovery and did not experience a residual reduction of her right knee's range of motion.
The jury found that the New York City Transit Authority was liable for the accident. It determined that the estate's damages totaled $750,000, all for Valli's pain and suffering.
Defense counsel has moved to reduce the damages.
This report is based on court documents, information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel and information that was provided by defense counsel.