Ian Lane Prevails at Trial in Kings County

Ian B. Lane, Associate at HFPM, LLP

A Summary Jury Trial in Supreme Court, Kings County before Hon. Dawn Jimenez-Salta resulted in a defense verdict on May 6, 2021. The plaintiff in the Metaxas-Monogioudis v. Wohlfahrt matter (Index no.: 516375/2017) sought recovery for personal injuries arising from a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian that occurred on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at approximately 12:00 P.M. at the intersection of 93rd Street and Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. The accident involved a collision between the vehicle owned and operated by our client, Susanna Wohlfahrt, with the plaintiff, Nicole Metaxas-Monogioudis, who was a pedestrian at the time. According to the evidence adduced at the trial, our client was in the process of making a left turn from 93rd Street onto Fourth Avenue when her vehicle came into contact with Ms. Metaxas-Monogioudis (age 35 on the date of accident). The evidence showed that Ms. Metaxas-Monogioudis was walking in the crosswalk with the light in her favor when the accident happened. As a result of the accident, Ms. Metaxas-Monogioudis claimed serious personal injuries which included a tear of the anterior talofibular ligament which two different doctors told her would require surgical repair, left ankle derangement, and loss of cervical and lumbar lordosis.

Plaintiff’s demand was for the full $100,000.00 policy. The defendant’s offer was $15,000.00. The parameters of the Summary Jury Trial were $0 to $100,000.00 indicating a great deal of confidence by the plaintiff’s attorney that the verdict would be in his favor.

We argued to the jury that Ms. Metaxas-Monogioudis was crossing the street without paying attention, which is why she did not see our client’s red colored vehicle until “a few seconds” before the impact. We argued that had the plaintiff been looking where she was going, she would have seen that our client’s vehicle had crossed over a parking lane, and two lanes of traffic while directly in front of Ms. Metaxas-Monogioudis, and should have easily been able to avoid the accident. As for the injury, the plaintiff’s claim was that she sustained a serious, significant and consequential injury as a result of this accident, and that, for the past four years, she has been in pain and her activities were substantially limited. She testified that she was told to have surgery on the injured foot, but between pregnancies, breast feeding her newborn and the Covid pandemic, she just never had the chance to have the surgery. We argued that Ms. Metaxas-Monogioudis was referred to her doctors by her attorney rather than her primary care physician, calling into question the motivation of her medical treatment, and that any injuries she sustained in the accident did not meet the threshold requirements of the New York State Insurance Law.

Although the Jury found our client 45% negligent for the happening of the accident, they also found that plaintiff failed to demonstrate that she sustained a significant limitation of use of the body function or system, a permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member or a medically determined injury or a medically determined impairment of a nonpermanent nature that prevented her from performing substantially all of the material acts constituting her usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the accident. As the plaintiff failed to meet the threshold requirements for a serious injury under the New York State Insurance Law, the verdict was for the defense.