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Ramos v. City of New York

NEW YORK SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION, FIRST DEPARTMENT


December 22, 2009

ISRAEL RAMOS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
THE CITY OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT, ROBERT MURPHY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.

Order, Supreme Court, Bronx County (Kenneth L. Thompson Jr., J.), entered July 15, 2008, which granted defendant City's posttrial motion to set aside the verdict, unanimously reversed, on the law and the facts, without costs, the motion denied and the matter remanded for a new trial solely on the issue of damages, unless plaintiff, within 30 days after service of a copy of this order, stipulates to reduce the award of past pain and suffering from $2.5 million to $850,000 and the award of future pain and suffering from $1.5 million to $500,000 and to entry of judgment in accordance therewith.

Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.

This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.

Sweeny, J.P., Catterson, Renwick, Freedman, Abdus-Salaam, JJ.

18798/99

Applying "the narrowly restricted level of appellate review governing insufficiency-as-a-matter-of-law' challenges" to jury verdicts (see Campbell v City of Elmira, 84 NY2d 505, 509-510 [1994]), we find that the jury's verdict apportioning liability for plaintiff's injuries 40% to the City and 60% to Brian Morales was rationally supported by the evidence. Contrary to the City's contention, the jury could reasonably have concluded that the police officers continued their pursuit of the stolen vehicle driven by Morales after entering the Bronx River Parkway, thereby recklessly disregarding the safety of others (see Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1104[e]; see Fioriello v Sasson, 255 AD2d 549 [1998], lv denied 93 NY2d 817 [1999]). There was also sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict that the police officers' conduct was a proximate cause of the accident and plaintiff's injuries. Contrary to the City's contention, it cannot be said as a matter of law that Morales's conduct was the sole, superseding cause of the accident (see Mercado v Vega, 77 NY2d 918, 919-920 [1991]).

The jury's award of $2.5 million for past pain and suffering and $1.5 million for future pain and suffering over a period of 14 years deviates materially, to the extent indicated, from what is reasonable compensation for plaintiff's injuries to the left, nondominant hand, including severance of the left pinky finger (see CPLR 5501[c]; Bradshaw v 845 U.N. Ltd. Partnership, 2 AD3d 191 [2003]; Cabezas v City of New York, 303 AD2d 307 [2003]).

THIS CONSTITUTES THE DECISION AND ORDER OF THE SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION, FIRST DEPARTMENT.

20091222

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