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$2,250,000 Awarded to Employee Injured on the Job

Court and County 

Supreme Court, Bronx County  

Plaintiff Description 

Our client was originally from the Dominican Republic and has lived in the Bronx since 1986.  He was 28 years old on the date of the accident, was married, and had three sons.   

Description of Case 

Our client was working for Coca-Cola as a driver on July 9, 2002.  He arrived at Picholine restaurant at 35 West 64 Street in Manhattan at approximately 8:30 AM on the date of the accident and was delivering six canisters of Coca-Cola syrup, weighing between 250-300 pounds in total.  Our client stacked the six canisters, one on top of the other, and brought the canisters into the restaurant by using a hand truck. 

The Plaintiff was directed by the restaurant to enter the restaurant through the basement in order to deliver the canisters. He had to descend a set of concrete steps with the hand truck and canisters in order to reach the basement. Our client was bringing the canisters into the basement by maneuvering the hand truck down the concrete steps at the time of his injury. The concrete steps were wet and slippery. 

The steps appeared to have been recently hosed down. As our client went down the wet and slippery steps, the hand truck abruptly stopped short when one of the hand truck wheels hit a loose laying hose that was negligently left on the concrete steps. It was unnecessary for the hose to have been left on the steps, and other restaurant workers had walked past the hose at least twice prior to our client bringing the hand truck down the steps.    

He was jerked forward, and the canisters of syrup began falling. Our client was able to secure the canisters before they fell to the ground, but our client injured his lower back in the process. Importantly, an employee of the restaurant walked up the wet stairs and opened up the stairwell to the basement immediately prior to our client descending the stairs and allowed him to enter the stairwell to the basement. The restaurant employee walked up and down the wet stairs but failed to move the hose or warn our client of the negligently placed hose. 

Injuries and Damages 

The abrupt stopping of the hand truck caused our client’s injuries.  He hurt his lower back and was unable to straighten out his back.  Our client was immediately driven to a clinic and was seen by a doctor.  He complained of severe lumbar spine pain radiating into his right lower extremity.  He was diagnosed with a large central disc herniation with thecal sac impingement at L5-S1 and treated extensively with physical therapy.  Physical therapy did not provide pain relief, and our client underwent epidural injections in his lower back.   

Eventually, he underwent a laminectomy and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion surgery approximately ten months after his accident.  The Plaintiff had to stop working as a Coca-Cola employee due to his injuries, as he was no longer able to handle the physically demanding work.  He was able to get a job as a part-time bus driver, which was less physically demanding, but earned much less than he did before his injury when he was working for Coca-Cola.  He had no prior lower back injuries. 

 Settlement Amount 

The case settled during trial for $2,250,000 

 Handling Attorneys 

Partners Stephen Murphy and S. Joseph Donahue tried this case. 



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