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Gail E. Rye v. Lift Line

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department


January 31, 2012

GAIL E. RYE,
PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
LIFT LINE, INC. AND ROCHESTER GENESEE REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY,
DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS. (APPEAL NO. 1.)

Appeal from an order of the Supreme Court, Monroe County (Matthew A. Rosenbaum, J.), entered April 28, 2010 in a personal injury action.

Rye v Lift Line, Inc.

Appellate Division, Fourth Department

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.

Decided on January 31, 2012

PRESENT: SMITH, J.P., FAHEY, CARNI, SCONIERS, AND GORSKI, JJ.

The order denied plaintiff's motion to set aside the jury verdict regarding pain and suffering damages awarded to plaintiff and for a new trial relating to past and future pain and suffering.

It is hereby ORDERED that the order so appealed from is unanimously reversed on the law without costs, the post-trial motion is granted, the verdict is set aside and a new trial is granted on damages for past and future pain and suffering unless defendants, within 30 days of service of a copy of the order of this Court with notice of entry, stipulate to increase the award of damages for past pain and suffering to $45,000 and for future pain and suffering to $15,000, in which event judgment shall be entered accordingly.

Memorandum: Plaintiff commenced this action seeking damages for injuries she sustained while a passenger on a bus operated by defendants. The incident in question occurred when the bus stopped suddenly and plaintiff was ejected from her wheelchair, causing her to slide head first into a partition located behind the driver's seat. Defendants conceded liability and, after a trial on damages only, the jury awarded plaintiff damages in the amount of $10,000 for past pain and suffering and zero damages for future pain and suffering. We agree with plaintiff that Supreme Court erred in denying her post-trial motion to set aside the verdict and for a new trial on damages inasmuch as the verdict deviates materially from what would be reasonable compensation (see CPLR 5501 [c]). Plaintiff's injuries included a slightly displaced fracture of her right femoral medial condyle, i.e., knee joint. The injuries plaintiff sustained in the accident, combined with her pre-existing medical conditions, forced her to spend just over two months in the hospital and a rehabilitation facility. We therefore reverse the order, grant the post-trial motion and set aside the verdict, and we grant a new trial on damages for past and future pain and suffering, unless defendants, within 30 days of service of a copy of the order of this Court with notice of entry, stipulate to increase the award of damages for past pain and suffering to $45,000 and for future pain and suffering to $15,000, in which event judgment shall be entered accordingly (see Inya v Ide Hyundai, Inc., 209 AD2d 1015; see also LaPort v Bojedla, 262 AD2d 1025; cf. Miller v Reynolds, 298 AD2d 836).

Entered: January 31, 2012

Frances E. Cafarell Clerk of the Court

20120131

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