On May 25, 2016, Adedute Gbadehan, a 45 year old physician, was a passenger in a livery cab in the Bronx when it collided with an SUV driven by Jazmin Williams. Both vehicles proceeded into the intersection at 159th Street and Elton Avenue that was controlled by stop signs for each.
Dr. Gbadehan was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he complained of a headache and right shoulder pain. He was treated and released that day.
Dr. Gbadehan sued both drivers and on 2/5/20 a Bronx jury rendered a verdict in his favor (a) finding that that Ms. Williams was totally at fault and (b) awarding pain and suffering damages in the sum of $400,000 ($100,000 past – four years, future- 29 years).
Although he initially complained of right shoulder pain, Dr. Gbadehan ultimately presented his case on damages focusing only on his left shoulder. After his ER visit, plaintiff sought no medical treatment for three months. Then, months later, he complained of left shoulder pain and consulted an orthopedic surgeon who found that plaintiff had sustained traumatic left shoulder injuries in the car crash including a tear of the rotator cuff and an extensive superior labral (SLAP) tear.
On 6/6/18, Plaintiff underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair the tears with the insertion of two screws. His treating surgeon testified that he still has pain and limited motion and may need future medical treatment including surgery to remove the screws.
The defendant moved to set aside the verdict for several reasons including her claim that the future pain and suffering damages award is excessive. The trial judge did not address that claim; instead, he ordered that the entire verdict should be set aside and a new trial held because testimony was elicited from defendant in which Geico was disclosed as her liability insurance carrier.
In Gbadehan v. Williams (1st Dept. 2022), the appellate court agreed with the plaintiff that the post-trial motion should have been denied noting that the reference to liability insurance was merely in passing and defense counsel failed to object at the time.
The appellate court declined to consider the argument that the future pain and suffering award is excessive. It’s been five months since the appellate court decision but the trial court has not yet ruled upon those parts of the post-trial motion, such as the excessiveness of damages claim, that the trial judge did not rule upon (because he vacated the entire verdict).
- During trial, plaintiff rejected a settlement offer of $65,000.
- In his closing argument, plaintiff’s attorney asked the jury to award $8,000,000 for pain and suffering damages.
- In January 2022, while this appeal was pending, a retrial on both liability and damages was held. The jury rendered a verdict for plaintiff in the sum of $20,000.