On March 12, 2012, Saikou Sinera, then 29 years old, was injured in a construction related accident when he fell from the fourth step of a ladder while painting inside an apartment at 301 East 47th Street in Manhattan.

Mr. Sinera sued the property owner and building manager under the Labor Law and was granted summary judgment. In a damages only trial, the Bronx County jury awarded pain and suffering damages in the sum of $3,000,000 ($1,000,000 past – 10 years, $2,000,000 future – 37 years).

The defendants successfully argued that the damages award was excessive because it improperly included plaintiff’s claim that he suffered from complex regional pain syndrome (“CRPS” -also known as reflex sympathy dystrophy or RSD).

The trial judge reduced the pain and suffering award to $700,000 ($250,000 past, $450,000 future) and the reduction to $700,000 was affirmed on appeal in Sinera v. Embassy House Eat LLC (1st Dept. 2024).

Here are the injury details:

  • Wrist – distal and ulnar comminuted fracture to non-dominant wrist, treated with a cast and physical therapy for six months and which resulted in a malunion
  • Shoulder – acromioclavicular joint (“AC”) separation, with rotator cuff syndrome and biceps tendinitis treated with physical therapy and a cortisone injection

There was extensive medical testimony at trial especially related to plaintiff’s CRPS claim. Four of his five doctors along with all four of the defense experts found no evidence of CRPS.

The jury also awarded plaintiff future medical expenses in the sum of $2,500,000 (37 years); however, that award was reduced to $10,000 because it was based upon the jury’s implicit finding that plaintiff had CRPS which finding the courts rejected.

Inside Information:

  • Four days before the date of the appellate court decision, counsel for both sides delivered a letter to the court requesting that any decision on the appeal be delayed 30 days to allow for settlement discussions.
  • Plaintiff had no medical treatment for his injuries for the six years preceding trial. He claimed he could not afford treatment.
  • The jury awarded plaintiff future loss of earnings in the sum of $1,000,000 (21 years); however, plaintiff conceded that the award should be reduced to $302,353, the sum calculated by plaintiff’s expert.