On February 14, 2015, Luz Morales was walking on the sidewalk in front of 2501 Davidson Avenue in the Bronx when she slipped and fell on snow and ice. She sued the building’s owner and managing agent arguing that they allowed a dangerous condition to exist for an unreasonable period of time.
The Kings County jury found that the snow and ice on which plaintiff slipped was the result of an accumulation from a storm which occurred on an earlier day. Accordingly, they found defendants to be 100% at fault for the happening of the accident. They then awarded plaintiff pain and suffering damages in the sum of $4,000,000 ($2,000,000 past – 2 1/2 years, $2,000,000 future – 25 years).
The trial judge ordered a reduction of the past pain and suffering award to $600,000 and then, in Morales v. Davidson Apartments LLC (2d Dept. 2021), the appellate court ordered a reduction of the future pain and suffering award to $1,400,000. Thus, plaintiff’s total pain and suffering award stands at $2,000,000 ($600,000 past, $1,400,000 future).
Here are the injury details:
- severe fracture dislocation of right ankle (distal fibula and medial malleolus) requiring open reduction internal fixation surgery with insertion of plate and five screws
- chronic regional pain syndrome/reflex sympathy syndrome (“RSD“)
- chronic, daily pain, burning sensation and cramps
- unable to weight bear on right lower leg
- required to wear heavy metal boot and use cane at all times
Defendants argued that plaintiff did not have RSD, her prognosis is good and she does not need any further treatment.
Plaintiff, 58 years old on the date of the accident, was also awarded other damages:
- future medical expenses, physical therapy treatment and prescription drug costs – $635,000 and
- past and future lost earnings and social security benefits – $235,000
- In their summations, defense counsel suggested a total pain and suffering award of $500,000 would be appropriate; plaintiff’s counsel asked for $2,000,000 for past pain and suffering plus $2,000,000 for the future – the exact amounts then awarded by the jury.