Block O’Toole & Murphy has achieved the number one construction accident verdict in the United States for 2019, as listed by the publication Top Verdict.
Top Verdict compiles their rankings based on factual results only, rather than on peer review. Additionally, they limit their rankings to 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or 100 verdicts per list, meaning they “recognize the narrowest circle of achievers in the legal industry,” according to their website.
“This is a bittersweet accomplishment,” Partner Scott Occhiogrosso, one of the handling attorneys on the case, said. “On the one hand, we are glad that this verdict amount has allowed our client to begin to heal and have hope for a brighter future. On the other hand, we sincerely wish this accident had never occurred.”
The $110,174,972 verdict was handled by Partners Scott Occhiogrosso and Daniel O’Toole. In this case against the defendant New York City Transit Authority, the handling attorneys were fighting on behalf of plaintiff Robert Liciaga, a healthy young man who was 23 years old at the time of the accident.
Liciaga had been riding his bike through Brooklyn on a spring day when he came upon a construction zone where work was being done on train tracks overhead. The zone was blocking the lane where he could safely ride his bike, and to avoid riding closer to moving vehicles, he asked one of the workers if he could ride through the zone where work was being done overhead. The worker said it was safe to do so, and it should have been.
However, due to numerous avoidable errors from the workers above, a 10-foot railroad tie was dropped down to the street just as the plaintiff was riding through. The workers did not check to see that the drop zone was clear, and when they realized their mistake, the workers tried to warn him, but it was too late. Liciaga was struck directly by the falling object, and his spine was fractured. Tragically, this preventable accident paralyzed him from the waist down for the rest of his life.
O’Toole and Occhiogrosso fought for Liciaga against the New York City Transit Authority in an 11-day trial that lasted for three weeks. Ultimately, the jury found the NYCTA 100% liable for the plaintiff’s injuries and awarded $110,174,972.38 to him. This total includes $60 million for the plaintiff’s pain and suffering, $40 million for future medical expenses, and approximately $10 million for past medical costs.
This verdict is believed to be the largest non-medical malpractice jury verdict in the history of New York State. This result was also the number one verdict in New York State, as listed in the 2019 issue of the New York Law Journal’s annual Top Verdicts and Settlements report.
“We appreciate this ranking and are proud to have achieved one of the top verdicts in the nation. But what is truly rewarding to us is being able to attain every dollar of compensation our client deserved, especially after such a life-altering accident,” Partner Dan O’Toole said.