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Sep 28, 2001 | New York Law Journal

Ricardo Carrillo v. Penske Truck Leasing Co.; JEFCO, Inc.; and Benefacio Rodriguez 26286/98

JUSTICE: Peter J. O'Donoghue

ATTORNEYS: Partner at Parker & Waichman, Great Neck for plaintiff; Mitchell Teitelbaum of Torino & Bernstein, P.C., Mineola for defendant.

FACTS: The accident occurred on Oct. 2, 1998 at 12:45 p.m. on North Boundary Road where it intersects with Area 261 at John F. Kennedy Airport. Ricardo Carrillo, a 30-year-old air cargo worker, was operating a motorcycle on North Boundary when, he claimed, Benefacio Rodriguez made a left turn in front of him to enter Area 261. Mr. Carrillo contended that Mr. Rodriguez failed to yield the right-of-way.

Over his counsel's objection, the court directed Mr. Carrillo to answer questions regarding whether he had a license to operate a motorcycle on the day of the accident. The court later gave a curative instruction to the jury.

Mr. Rodriguez testified that he did not see Mr. Carrillo when he began his turn, and that Mr. Carrillo hit the rear-most portion of his truck. An independent witness testified that the truck cut off Mr. Carrillo's motorcycle. On cross-examination, Mr. Rodriguez admitted to lying about his address, among other things, in his deposition and at trial. The jury found him 100 percent negligent.

Injuries: Not before the jury. Ruptured aorta requiring heart bypass surgery and repair with Hemashield graft; fractured vertebrae, brachial plexopathy of the right arm; fracture of the transverse process at T-1 and C-7; fractured ribs, clavicle, scapula, humerus; destruction of the deltoid and brachialis muscles of the right arm; root avulsion at C5-6, C6-7, and C7-8; collapse of the left lung; pneumothorax in the right lung; psychological injuries.

During the heart surgery, Mr. Carrillo's left vocal cord was nicked, and he underwent an implant and two surgeries. He was in a coma for almost two weeks and was hospitalized for almost three months. He returned to work for eight months, but then stopped, and he has not worked since then.

SETTLEMENT: Plaintiff's verdict on liability. Subsequently settled on the eve of the damages trial for $ 2 million. Post-trial motions were denied.

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