Stephen J. Murphy, Esq. (lead) and Sean P. Constable, Esq. of Block O'Toole & Murphy, LLP handled the case for the Plaintiff.


On January 23, 2006, Plaintiff, a 49 year-old hair stylist, was crossing Gatling Place at the intersection of 86th Street in Brooklyn, New York when she was struck by delivery van owned by Defendant Sears, Roebuck & Co., and operated by Sears employee, Frederick Faust. Plaintiff claimed that she was entirely within the crosswalk and was approximately halfway across the street when she was struck and thrown to the ground.

Plaintiff was transported by ambulance to Lutheran Medical Center, where she was treated in the emergency room and released. A cervical spine MRI conducted two months after the accident revealed a posterior disc herniation at C5-6. Plaintiff treated conservatively for approximately eight months after the accident without success. On September 11, 2006, Plaintiff underwent discectomy and fusion of C5-6. The surgery was performed by Dr. Ramesh Babu at New York University Medical Center. Plaintiff was also diagnosed with a frozen left shoulder as a result of the accident. A left shoulder arthroscopy and subacromial decompression was performed on July 10, 2007. Plaintiff was still receiving therapy for her injuries at the time of the settlement.

Defendants claimed that the vehicle's driver had already started his turn when Plaintiff walked in front of his vehicle. Defendants also claimed that the vehicle was traveling at a slow rate of speed and that the impact was minimal.

Defendants argued that Plaintiff's injuries were not caused by the accident but were degenerative in nature. Defendants relied upon prior MRI studies which revealed severe degenerative disc disease in the spine and a prior positive upper extremity EMG revealing nerve damage at the site of her neck surgery. Defendant also argued that the Plaintiff made consistent complaints of back and neck pain to her treating doctors for several years prior to the accident.