SETTLEMENTS, VERDICTS & CASE RESULTS
$14.3 Million verdict against the City of New York on behalf of a ballerina in the Harlem Dance Theater who was rendered paraplegic after the car in which she was riding with Andre Robertson, a New York Yankees baseball player, crashed into an abutment on the West Side Highway. We proved that the city's negligence in failing to post required warning signs was the cause of the accident.
Smiley & Smiley, LLP is pleased to report that we obtained an award of $8.6 MILLION, the largest award paid by the fund in all cases, to "Jane Doe#1," the first victim of the World Trade center attacks to be admitted to the hospital and the last to be discharged over 14 months later. Jane Doe suffered horrific injuries when the landing gear of one of the planes came thundering down upon her, crushing her legs and feet and severing her buttocks. This award came eight months after partner Guy I. Smiley appeared on national television to champion our client's case during a one-hour Dateline NBC feature, to an audience of 13 million viewers, of Jane Doe's heroic course towards recovery. We are extremely proud to have achieved the largest award granted by the fund on behalf of our client. Jane Doe #1 was represented by Smiley & Smiley, LLP on a no-fee basis.
$5.05 Million pretrial settlement for the family of a painter killed while working the night shift at the World Trade Center site as part of the Path Train Reconstruction Project following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Our client was assigned the task of prepping and painting two staircase tower structures, which were each about 30 feet high and required the use of an aerial lift (man lift) to gain access. For his entire shift that evening, our client was working alone. At about 12:30 a.m., he was discovered crushed between the top of one of the tower structures and the basket of his aerial lift. Smiley & Smiley, LLP claimed that the defendants were negligent under New York State Labor Law § 200 in allowing our client to work alone without the benefit of a coworker and that working alone in a man lift was an unsafe work practice.
$5,000,000 settlement for a 34-year-old attorney who sustained catastrophic injuries to her leg as a result of being struck by a turning bus. Our client was crossing the street on her way to work when a bus ran her over in the crosswalk. Her leg was crushed and the doctors wanted to amputate, but she refused and asked them to do everything in their power to save her leg. She underwent ten surgeries and her leg was saved. However she has been left with permanent skin grafts, scarring and loss of normal use of her leg and foot.
$4 Million for a 33-year-old physician who was struck by a turning bus while he was riding his bicyclist to work in midtown Manhattan. Our client sustained multiple injuries including a crushed pelvis resulting in permanent bladder incontinence and sexual dysfunction. Despite this being a "hit and run" accident, Smiley Law identified the owners of the bus and held them accountable.
$3,975,000 for a 38-year-old husband and father who was rendered quadriplegic when he fell off a water trampoline that was placed on a public lake in shallow water. We proved that the camp which owned the trampoline was negligent in placing the trampoline in water that was less than 8 feet deep as required by the trampoline manufacturer. We were successful in defeating the defense claims of trespassing and assumption of risk.
$3,750,000 for the wife and 6 children of a 66-year-old man who passed away from prostate cancer. Although he underwent a prostate biopsy, the urologist failed to notify our client of the results which showed aggressive prostate cancer requiring immediate treatment. Our client did not learn that he had prostate cancer until two years after the biopsy. Unfortunately, as a result of the delay, our client was deprived of live saving treatment. Smiley Law was able to obtain this significant settlement for the client and his family just a few days before he passed away providing him with the knowledge that his family would be financially secure.
A Manhattan jury awarded our client $3.595 Million holding the New York City Transit Authority liable for the negligence of the train operator who ran over our client causing him to suffer an amputation of his foot. The Transit Authority blamed our client for the accident, since he was intoxicated and did not know how he ended up on the tracks. We successfully proved, however, that the train operator was negligent in failing to timely observe our client and stop the train before striking him.
$3.5 Million structured settlement for a two-year-old infant who was badly scarred and spent one month in the Cornell Burn Center when she was struck by scalding water and steam that escaped from a defective radiator when the steam escape valve of the radiator blew off. We proved that the managing agent of the Bronx housing project failed to properly maintain the radiator resulting in a breach of warranty of habitability under the New York State Real Property Law.
$2,500,000 for a 40–year-old church elder who sustained a pilon fracture of her ankle when she was forced to jump from an exploding building on the college campus where she was pursuing a master’s degree. We proved that the maintenance company for the college negligently caused the explosion when they struck a gas line while doing grounds work with heavy machinery.
$2,500,000 for a 29 –year-old laborer who fell on a slippery construction site injuring his lower back. Our client required lumbar fusion surgery as a result of his injuries. We proved that the owner and general contractor of the site violated the New York Labor Laws.
$2,250,000 settlement for a school teacher who suffered permanent brain damage as a result of a failure to timely diagnose and treat a brain aneurysm at New York City and New York State Medical Facilities.
$2.25 million medical malpractice settlement was obtained on behalf of a New Jersey-born infant who became permanently blind shortly after birth. The infant was born prematurely and placed in an incubator which provided a constant flow of oxygen to assist him in breathing. Working with our colleagues in New Jersey, we were able to prove that the physicians and hospital staff committed malpractice by failing to properly monitor the oxygen levels in the incubator. As a result of their failure to monitor, the oxygen levels became dangerously high and caused irreparable damage to the infant's optic nerve. This condition is known as retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). The infant will now suffer from total blindness for the rest of his life.
$1,850,000 for death caused by the failure to properly follow up and treat a woman who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer: The woman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer by her regular gynecologist and referred to a specialist for further treatment. The specialist performed surgery on the woman to remove her ovaries and uterus but did not order the required chemotherapy treatment after the surgery. Unfortunately, after 18 months the cancer spread throughout the woman's body and she died from metastatic ovarian cancer.
$1,775,000 settlement for the husband and three children of a 46-year-old woman who died as a result of her gynecologist's failure to timely diagnose and treat cervical cancer. Smiley Law was able to settle this case less than one year after commencing the lawsuit.
$1.7 Million verdict against the City of New York on behalf of a New York State Supreme Court Judge who suffered major spinal injuries after his automobile fell into a deep sink hole on a Manhattan street in front of his courthouse. We established that the City failed to properly maintain and repair the roadway.
$1.6 Million structured settlement based on the loss of parental guidance for the three children of a 39-year-old Asian woman run over and killed by a garbage truck in New York City's Chinatown.
$1.6 Million settlement for the family of a 40-year-old man who was crushed to death when a slab of ice fell on him from the roof of a gas station as his wife and 3-year-old child witnessed the devastating event.
$1.56 Million verdict awarded by a Nassau County jury in the case of a 41-year-old man who died, leaving a widow and three children as a result of his physicians' failure to diagnose a blood clot.
$1,500,000 Medical Malpractice Settlement on behalf of the Estate of a 39-year-old man from Brooklyn who was suffering from a condition called "sarcoidosis." Sarcoidosis is a condition that affects the lungs and causes patients to suffer frequent painful coughing episodes. The condition can be easily treated with medication. However if left untreated, sarcoidosis can be fatal. For seven months, he went for multiple visits to his primary care physician complaining of chest congestion, shortness of breath and a chronic cough. Proper medical practice requires that a chest x-ray be performed when a patient has constant complaints of shortness of breath and coughing. Unfortunately, not once did the defendant doctor take a chest x-ray. A chest x-ray would have clearly shown the sarcoidosis and the man could have received life saving treatment. As a result of the physician's malpractice, the sarcoidosis spread throughout the gentleman's body killing him. He left behind a young wife and two small children. This medical malpractice settlement amount includes compensation for the decedent's pain and suffering and for the loss of parental guidance sustained by his young children who will grow up without their father.
What started out as a quiet evening at a restaurant bar quickly turned into a life-changing event when our 37-year-old client, who was enjoying a drink with a friend, was struck in the back of her head by a cocktail shaker that flew out of a showboating bartender's loose grip. The metal shaker, filled with ice and liquid, struck our client with such force that it caused her brain to violently rotate around the brainstem. The resultant "shearing injury" caused a lesion in her brain in the region that controls the ability of the eyes to focus and converge while reading. Our client, a recent MBA graduate of Columbia University, can no longer pursue any occupation that requires extensive reading. Due to this permanent injury, our client will never be able to enjoy reading a book or magazine without struggling. It takes her ten minutes per page to read the words because her eyes constantly shift in and out of focus. Smiley & Smiley, LLP obtained an award of $1,500,000 on behalf of our client on the day of jury selection as the case proceeded towards trial. The defense argued that there was no evidence of skull fracture or subdural hematoma and therefore the injury could not have been caused by the blow from the shaker. However, we proved that the blow caused her head to rotate with such force that it caused the axons in this particular region of the brain to tear without other evidence of trauma.
$1.395 Million for the wife and children of a 46-year-old man who died as a result of a failure to timely diagnose lung cancer.
$1.365 Million Settlement during trial on behalf of a 39-yr-old demolitionforeman who was struck in the head by a falling piece of concrete. At the time of the accident our client was on the ground giving orders to his crew during a project to rehabilitate the Triborough Bridge. As a result of the blow, he was knocked unconscious and later suffered permanent injuries to his head and back. At trial, we were establishing that the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority (TBTA) violated specific Labor Law statutes that require overhead protection to protect worker's from falling debris. After partner Andrew J. Smiley presented his first week of evidence at trial, the TBTA offered this substantial sum to resolve the case.
$1.3 Million for woman who was struck by an MTA bus while she was a passenger in an SUV. Our client suffered serious shoulder and back injuries and required fusion of her spine as a result of the accident
$1,300,000 settlement obtained on behalf of construction manager who was injured on the LIE. While he was pulled over on the shoulder with a car problem, a tractor-trailer pulling a mobile office came around the bend and ran right into him. Fortunate to survive, he suffered numerous back fractures requiring multiple surgeries with the insertion of plates and screws.
A 57-year-old woman was crossing the street at the intersection of 37th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan when a New York City Transit Authority bus made a left turn into the crosswalk, striking her and running her over. The woman was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where she died from the tremendous injuries she sustained. Smiley Law took immediate action on behalf of the woman's husband and the three adult children who survived her. This case was placed on the fast track. All discovery was completed and a settlement of $1.3 million was obtained just nine months from the date of this horrible accident.
A married couple was standing on the corner of Third Avenue in Manhattanwhen an out-of-control van came speeding onto the curb in their direction. The husband saw the van and valiantly pushed his wife out of the way, but in doing so he suffered a direct hit from the van which ran right over him. The husband suffered crush injuries to his leg and arm, necessitating multiple surgical procedures. He also suffered brain injuries and cognitive loss as a result of the trauma to his head upon impact. Smiley Law put this case on the fast track, obtaining a settlement of $1.3 million at mediation in less than one year from the date of the accident. The settlement included damages to the wife for her emotional distress in witnessing her husband being run over.
$1.3 Million settlement on behalf of the widow and two children of a bank officer who was struck and killed by a wayward New York City Transit Authority bus.
$1,290,000 for a 35-year-old jeweler. Our client sustained an injury to his eye while working as a jeweler that required treatment and follow up care by an ophthalmologist. Unfortunately, the ophthalmologist failed to take any definitive action over the course of one year while our client’s vision was deteriorating with each follow up visit. Our client ultimately had a detached retina that the ophthalmologist failed to diagnose. As a result of this failure, our client was rendered permanently blind in one eye.
$1.25 Million verdict was awarded to a 22-year-old bicyclist who sustained severe injuries to her foot as a result of an illegally parked commercial van. When the van door unexpectedly swung open, our client was forced to slam on her brakes, which resulted in her falling off her bicycle into the next lane of traffic where an oncoming MTA bus ran over her right foot.
$1.2 Million settlement on behalf of a 35-year-old freelance writer who was severely injured when the car in which he was a passenger in (driven by his sister) was involved in a head-on collision in upstate New York. Our client sustained severe head trauma, causing him to suffer from vision and hearing deficits as well as a fractured sinus and subdural hematomas.
Our client, a 35-year-old systems administrator, went to a well-known hospital in the Bronx with complaints of swelling and pain in his left underarm. The doctors diagnosed him as suffering from a localized infection that needed to be drained by way of a simple surgical procedure. However, no surgery is "simple," and during the procedure the surgeon stuck the scalpel blade too deep into the underarm and severed our client's ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve is a primary nerve that provides sensation to the arm and hand. A team of vascular and plastic surgeons was rushed into the operating room to repair the nerve, but the damage was done. Our client was left with permanent nerve damage that affects the sensation and function of his arm and hand. Immediately prior to selecting a jury in Bronx County, the hospital and surgeon agreed to settle the case.
$1.2 Million on behalf of a 44-year-old electronics engineer from Sweden. Our client was hired from Sweden to work on a project at the Automatic Vacuum Accumulation Center in Roosevelt Island. While working on large mainframe computers located on an elevated metal catwalk within the complex, our client was unaware that city employees had removed a section of the metal grating, creating a large open space in the catwalk. As he walked around the computers, our client fell through the un-barricaded opening and plummeted 15 feet onto the concrete floor below. As a result of the fall, the Swedish engineer suffered from multiple fractures of his arm, leg and face as well as brain trauma—which affected his speech pattern and thinking ability.
$1.15 Million settlement on behalf of a 46-year-old single parent and his 5-year-old son who suffered severe burns when their housing project apartment became engulfed in flames from an electrical fire in the middle of the night. We proved that the housing project failed to maintain working smoke detectors which would have warned the father and son in time to escape from injury.
$1 Million for the wrongful death of a 42-year-old HIV positive man resulting from a failure by his dentists to timely diagnose oral cancer.
$1 Million settlement on behalf of a 60-year-old man whose physician failed to timely diagnose terminal prostate cancer.
Smiley Law was retained by the family of two children tragically killed in an apartment fire in Queens. With the help of our forensic fire experts and investigators, we determined the source of the fire, the manner in which it spread, and ultimately what caused the death of two siblings, ages 6 and 10, who resided in the apartment with their mother. It was determined that the owner of the small building had illegally converted the apartment, used the attic as a second-level living space, and failed to provide a proper means of escape in the event of a fire. As a result, when the fire spread, the children were trapped and could not escape. Under New York State's restrictive Wrongful Death Statute, the family could not legally recover for the emotional distress they suffered from this horrible accident. The family could only be compensated for the children's conscious pain and suffering prior to their deaths. Smiley Law fought to obtain $1 million for the family. The potential for recovery would be much greater if the law in New York was changed to mirror the laws in most other states, which provide for compensation to a family for emotional distress suffered from the loss of a young child. If you are surprised to learn of the restrictive nature of New York's Wrongful Death Statute and would like to join our continuing fight to change the law, please contact our colleagues at the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, (212) 349-5890.
$950,000 settlement for a 30-year-old pedestrian who suffered multiple fractures of both legs when he was struck by a hit and run drunk driver.
$937,500 for a 35-year-old woman who was struck by a tow truck while she was riding her bicycle in New Jersey. The impact caused her to be thrown over the front of her bike where her hands landed under the tires of the tow truck. Our client suffered partial finger amputations from the accident, underwent several surgeries and was left with significant scarring.
$925,000 for a CNBC television cameraman who fell from a cliff while shooting a rock climbing exercise near West Point, requiring a knee replacement. We established that the equipment provided by the excursion company supervising the climb was faulty.
$915,000 for a 30-year-old Broadway casting director who was rendered quadriplegic as a result of his being in an antique wooden guide boat at night on Lake Placid when it was run over and demolished by a large power boat traveling at a high speed. Despite the limited available insurance coverage, this settlement was the largest settlement/verdict ever recorded in Essex County, New York at the time.
$900,000 for a 42-year-old Queens resident who sustained injuries to his neck, back, knee and shoulder when, while driving on the Cross Island Expressway, he was struck in the rear by another vehicle upon approach to the Long Island Expressway entrance ramp.
$775,000 recovered prior to commencing a lawsuit for a 52-year-old man who suffered the loss of his larynx as result of his physician’s failure to diagnose laryngeal cancer. We established that the cancer could have been successfully treated had it been diagnosed in a timely manner.
$750,000 verdict for a 53-year-old private duty nurse who underwent dental implant surgery in her lower jaw. As a result of the dentist's malpractice, our client sustained permanent numbness in her lower right lip, chin and jaw. This is the highest reported dental malpractice verdict in New York for this type of injury. The trial lasted three days and the jury deliberated for three hours. The defense offered absolutely no money to settle the case prior to the verdict, claiming that the dentist did nothing wrong.
$750,000 for a young woman who was raped at gunpoint in her office after hours in the Times Square area. The management of the building was found to be negligent for not having either a guard or a security system.
Smiley law obtained $700,000 for the family of a 39-year-old developmentally disabled man who drowned in the deep end of a swimming pool. We proved that the decedent's caretakers failed to properly supervise him and failed to obtain help which would have saved his life.
$650,000 for a 50-year-old Bronx laborer who suffered severe shoulder and internal injuries when he was struck by a beam which was thrown over the side of the building that he was working on. This case was based on a violation of a Labor Law statute requiring the use of chutes for removal of such material.
A47-year-old construction laborer was injured while working on the renovation of the Lowery Street Subway Station, which services the Number 7 train in Queens, New York. At the time of his accident, he was carrying a heavy jackhammer along the subway tracks when the temporary planking he was walking on gave way; he fell approximately two feet down between the rails. As a result of the fall, the client sustained a fracture to the middle of his foot (known as a "Lisfranc" fracture), which rendered him permanently disabled.
$500,000 Verdict for a 35-year-old computer consultant, underwent what should have been a routine oral surgical procedure to have his bottom left and right wisdom teeth extracted. Unfortunately, the procedure did not go as expected and our client came out of the surgery with a numb lip, chin and tongue. The numbness never went away. Our client soon learned the cause of the numbness: during the course of the procedure, the oral surgeon had transected/cut nerves on both sides of his mouth. The defense refused to offer any money to settle this case, claiming that the transactions were not evidence of malpractice, but were accepted and known risks of the extraction procedure. Partner Andrew J. Smiley, Esq. and his team of experts strongly disagreed with the defense and brought this case to a jury.
$375,000 settlement obtained prior to closing arguments at trial on behalf of a fitness trainer who suffered a broken wrist when the exercise ball he was using burst during a workout.
$300,000 settlement on behalf of a New York woman who suffered injuries when a personal trainer at her Brooklyn gym failed to assist or spot her during an exercise she had never performed before. Her injuries required reductions, hardware in her wrists and she missed approximately 4 months of work.
$300,000 settlement on behalf of a 35-year-old woman who underwent PRK laser eye surgery. We proved that the defendant doctor was negligent when he entered the wrong measurements into the laser machine prior to the surgery. As a result, the laser cut our client's eye at the wrong angle and caused her vision to become much worse than it was prior to the surgery. We were able to secure this settlement relatively quickly due to our thorough medical investigation about what went wrong during the surgery. In addition, this case was settled through mediation which reduced our time and expenses to the benefit of our client.
$225,000 award for the chief executive officer of an international shipping company who sustained permanent numbness to his lip and chin. This injury was caused by the negligent placement of implants into the nerve canal of the CEO's jaw.
Smiley Law obtained a $225,000 settlement prior to opening statements for a retired superintendent whose sustained wrist and pelvic injuries when he fell down the staircase of the entry to his building as a result of a heavy door and defective steps.
$167,500 for our client who fell on an icy ramp while exiting her apartment building. She sustained a fractured ankle requiring surgery with the insertion of a plate and screws.
$125,000 settlement for a woman who tripped over an unmarked step while walking to a friend's cabana at an Atlantic Beach country club. Smiley Law proved that the failure to mark the step resulted in an optical illusion that made it appear that there was no step. As a result of the fall, our client fractured her ankle and required surgery.
Our client, the Dean of a prominent university, while attempting to put a casserole in her oven, opened the oven door only to have a ball of flames burst into her face. She suffered significant burns and resulting scars. Smiley Law obtained a confidential settlement with the manufacturer of the appliance.