On June 4, 2013, New York City Taxi and Limousine Inspector Laurence Deguilme activated his vehicle’s emergency lights pulled over a taxicab on Third Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets in Manhattan. After speaking to the taxicab’s operator and in the process of opening the driver’s side door of his TLC vehicle in order to enter and write citations, Mr. Deguilme, then 41 years old, was struck by a city bus and injured.
In Mr. Deguilme’s ensuing lawsuit against the bus driver and owner (the transit authority), the jury determined that the driver was at fault for the accident and they awarded pain and suffering damages in the sum of $1,055,000 ($740,000 past – six years, $315,000 future – 10 years) plus past lost earnings in the sum of $260,000.
In Deguilme v. New York City Transit Authority (1st Dept. 2022), the judgment entered upon the verdict (reduced by 20% due to plaintiff’s comparative negligence) has been affirmed.
Here are the injury details:
- significant bimalleolar fracture of ankle with displaced transverse fractures of the distal fibula and medial malleolus
- open reduction internal fixation surgery of ankle with insertion of a plate, rod and screws
- second ankle surgery to remove hardware and repair tearing of tendon
- continuing and permanent pain, and loss of range of motion
- unable to play tennis, snowboard or jog
- fractures of ulnar styloid, ring finger and hamate, triquetrum and lunate bones
- treated with splint and therapy
- continuing and chronic swelling and pain in wrist with permanent loss of range of motion and significantly diminished grip strength
About five months after the accident, plaintiff went back to a part-time job as a restaurant floor manager; however, he was unable to return to his more strenuous job with the TLC.
- In his summation, plaintiff’s attorney asked the jury to award pain and suffering damages in the sum of $1,750,000. He made no claim for future loss of earnings.
- In her summation, defendants’ attorney focused on liability arguing (unsuccessfully) that plaintiff was fully at fault. She made no suggestion as to an amount for pain and suffering damages.