$2,200,000 Settlement for Sanitation Supervisor Injured on the Job and Could No Longer Return to Work
A 44 year-old male New York City sanitation supervisor was injured in a August 18, 2004 job related accident where he sustained a right femur and tibia fracture requiring an open reduction internal fixation.
The case settled right before jury selection for $2,200,000.
The case was handled by Stephen J. Murphy & Daniel P. O’Toole.
A summary of the case is below.
The accident occurred at approximately 3:00 a.m. at the intersection of Jamaica Avenue and 160th street. Prior to the accident the Plaintiff Kurt Corell was employed by the Dept. Of Sanitation as a supervisor, working out of the Queens East borough of the department.
At approximately 12:45 am the plaintiff received a call from Queens East headquarters advising him that there was debris on Jamaica avenue. Apparently there was an anonymous complaint made by a citizen claiming that he or she heard the a child crying and that the crying noise was emanating from the rear of a private carting truck. The private carting truck was owned and operated by B.F.I. Inc. The police officers stopped the B.F.I. truck and ordered the truck operator to empty their load in to the street. They complied. The complaint was unfounded in that there was nothing nefarious in the load of the truck. However there was now a street littered with garbage. Unfortunately B.F.I. did not have the equipment required, a front end loader, to pick up the discarded trash. This prompted the call to Plaintiff Kurt Corell, the Sanitation supervisor on duty in the area. The NYPD requested that Corell assign a unit from Sanitation to remedy the problem by bringing a front end loader to the scene. BFI agreed to bring a container to the scene to transport the garbage. Corell dispatched a Sanitation employee named Samuel Calhoun to the scene in a front end loader. Calhoun, a sanitation employee for 20 years at the time, was trained by the Sanitation Department to operate the Front End Loader and was experienced in using the machine. Corell also arrived to find a marked NYPD vehicle, the FI Carting vehicle, two police officers and two employees of BFI, the operator and his supervisor at the scene.
Jamaica Avenue runs in a east west direction with two lanes in each direction. The garbage was in the east bound lane on the southern side of Jamaica Avenue. It occupied approximately one and a half lanes of travel. The police vehicle was parked at the west end of the garbage closest to 160th Street. The BFI container is placed parallel to the curve. When the front end loader arrived, they began to clean up the garbage and the police vehicle left the scene.
The front end loader, after scooping up the garbage would then swing in to the west bound lane of traffic and dump the garbage into the large rectangular container at a perpendicular angle. This would slow down traffic. The police were directing traffic until they left. The Plaintiff said he saw a vehicle proceeding on Jamaica Avenue in a reckless manner after the police vehicle left the scene. The vehicle – – instead of waiting for the front end loader to dump the garbage – – attempted to go between the front end loader and the container. The Plaintiff, who is 6’6″ and 280 pounds, ran in the path of the front end loader and yelled at the operator of the motor vehicle to stop. At that point the front end loader backed over the Plaintiff. The front end loader had a yellow light on the roof and also has a beeping signal operational when it reverses. Both were working at the time of the accident The Plaintiff states that when he was yelling at the vehicle to stop and waiving his arms that he did not see or hear how close the front end loader was. Calhoun, the operator of the front end loader claimed that (1) Corell recklessly darted in the street without giving him any warning; (2) that Corell was responsible for the accident; (3) that he did not see Corell.
Calhoun was visibly upset after the accident. He left the front end loader, a 2,000 pound vehicle, on top of Corell and ran away. The vehicle was on top of Corell’s right leg for between 5 to 7 minutes.
The Plaintiff was taken immediately from the scene of the accident to North Shore University Hospital. He was hospitalized initially from August 18th to 25. He was diagnosed with the following:
right femur fracture
right tibia fracture
Plaintiff underwent an open reduction internal fixation with insertion of hardware on 9.17.04 at North Shore University Hospital. Thereafter Plaintiff spent approximately 2 weeks at North Shore’s in-patient rehabilitative program in Glen Cove, New York.
Plaintiff later underwent a skin graft to treat a large open wound measuring approximately 20 x 15 cm on his right thigh on October 4, 2004. Next, he underwent hardware removal as well as skin debridement, IM nailing of the right tibia and re-positioning of the existing hardware on 2.3.05. All were done at North Shore by treating orthopedic physician Hamid Mostafavi, who was assisted on the skin graft by plastic surgeon Ron Israel. Plaintiff still consults with Dr. Mostafavi a few times a year.
The Plaintiff was been confined to a wheel chair up until approximately January 2005 and then began using a cane. Plaintiff still walks with a cane. Plaintiff has been informed by Dr. Mustafavi that he will need a knee replacement to his right knee as a result of his injuries sustained in this accident.
Plaintiff has not returned to work since the accident. His doctors declared him totally disabled. Plaintiff applied for and was granted social security disability.