On June 10, 2005, Joseph Fratello was making a turn into a parking lot when a Suffolk County bus collided with his van on Montauk Avenue in Southampton .
Fratello, then 29 years old, sued the driver and the county claiming the bus driver’s negligence caused the accident and injuries to his hip and wrist. The jury rendered a defense verdict finding that defendants were not at all liable for the accident.
Plaintiff’s motion to set aside the defense verdict was granted and affirmed on appeal. In the second trial, the jury found that defendants were completely at fault and another jury then awarded plaintiff pain and suffering damages in the sum of $150,000 ($50,000 past – 14 years, $100,000 future – 33 years).
Defendants appealed but the judgment was affirmed in Fratello v. County of Suffolk (2d Dept. 2021).
Here are the injury details:
- torn labrum in hip
- tear of right dominant wrist’s triangular fibrocartilage complex (“TFCC”)
- five months of physical therapy
- continuing pain and limited ranges of motion
- unable to resume golfing, kayaking and surfing
In their successful opposition to plaintiff’s motion to increase the jury’s damages award, defendants noted that plaintiff did not miss any time from his work as an electrician, he was able to use tools, he could lift sheets of plywood and he could climb a ladder. They also noted that plaintiff had congenital hip dysplasia and had suffered a right arm fracture when he was six years old (that could have caused the tears in his TFCC joint).
- Before the first trial, plaintiff’s settlement demand was $750,000. Before the second trial, it was $350,000 against an offer of $35,000.
- Interest on the judgment accrued at 9% per annum since the 2011 determination of defendants’ liability.