Gash & Associates, P.C. in the Courtroom
Verdicts and Settlements
Successful Results Speak for Themselves
Although we can’t always promise success, we can promise a tireless work ethic in striving to achieve it. These case histories illustrate our dedication.
Coleman v. N.Y. Vanity & Manufacturing Company, et al.
Wayne Coleman, a glazier, was driving on the eastbound Throg’s Neck Bridge when he encountered a construction vehicle executing a U-turn. Coleman stopped to allow the vehicle to pass in front of him and was struck from behind by the N.Y. Vanity & Manufacturing vehicle. The impact was one of several that occurred during the five vehicle crash. Coleman suffered injuries to his back and neck, including herniated discs; fracture T11, and a laminectomy and fusion of his spine’s L3-4, L4-5, and L5-S1 levels, with the implantation of stabilizing hardware. His back and neck continues to remain painful, with pain radiating to his right leg; he experiences recurrent spasms; he suffers residual erectile dysfunction; he suffers from chronic residual headaches; he retains a limp and requires the use of a cane and a back brace. The matter was mediated between the parties and the insurer of NY Vanity & Manufacturing Company agreed to pay $1.64 million, and the remaining defendants agreed to pay $20,000.
MEDIATED SETTLEMENT: $1,660,000.00
Costentino v. Sera
Plaintiff, who was stopped in traffic, was rear-ended by the defendant, causing serious injuries including partial disc tears at the C4-C5; C5-C6; C6-C7 and C7-T1 levels with cord impingement and radiculopathy; partial disc tears at the L4-L5; L5-S1 levels with central and bilateral neural canal stenosis and a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), as well as quadriceps tendonitis. Those injuries necessitated cervical spinal fusion and caging. The defendant conceded liability prior to trial, and the case settled for the combined policy limits of $600,000, prior to a trial.
DeFeo v. Civitano
Plaintiff, a motorcyclist, was injured when the Defendant, who was driving a large SUV, suddenly and without warning, made an abrupt left hand turn directly in front of him. The force of the impact was so severe, that plaintiff’s motorcycle was completely destroyed, while the plaintiff himself was catapulted high into the air, before crashing onto the ground.
As a consequence of the impact, the plaintiff suffered, among other injuries, a fractured left tibia and fibula, which required an open reduction with internal fixation. The plaintiff underwent further surgery involving irrigation and debridement of the open wound of the left tibia and fibula. In addition to the leg and hip injuries, he underwent an open reduction and fixation with K wires as a result of multiple fractures and dislocations of his left wrist. Prior to trial the defendants settled for the policy limits of one million dollars, with one policy paying $100,000.00 and another $900,000.
Garner v. Hayes, et al
On July 8, 2003, plaintiff, a 48-year-old licensed practical nurse, was driving on Palmer Avenue, near its intersection at Petersville Road, in New Rochelle. When she reached the intersection, she stopped at a red traffic signal and her vehicle stalled. Before she could resume travel, her car’s rear end was struck by a trailing minivan that was being driven by the defendant, which occurred a moment before or after the defendant’s minivan was struck by a trailing car being driven by another defendant. The plaintiff filed suit against the drivers and owners of both vehicles, claiming the drivers were negligent and that the owners of the vehicle were vicariously liable for the actions of the drivers.
Through mediation, the parties agreed on a pretrial settlement of $850,000 – $500,000 from the insurer of the minivan driver and owner, and $350,000 from the insurer of the owner and driver of the second vehicle.
Gibbons v. Torio and Juarez
On March 15, 2007, the plaintiff, a waitress in her mid 20s, was driving on the Hutchinson River Parkway, near its interchange at the Cross County Parkway, in Bronxville. When she reached the interchange, and traveled a sharp curve she veered onto the Cross County Parkway. Her vehicle struck the rear end of a disabled vehicle that was being operated by one of the defendants. The plaintiff claimed that she sustained injuries to her knee and neck.
Following her injuries, the plaintiff filed a claim against both the operator and the owner of the vehicle, claiming the operator was negligent in his operation of the vehicle and the owner was negligent in her entrustment of the vehicle to the operator.
Interestingly, plaintiff’s counsel noted that the accident occurred while the defendant operator, a mechanic, was test driving the other defendant’s vehicle for a car service company. Plaintiff claimed that the vehicle stalled three times during the test drive. She further claimed that, after each of the first two stalls, the defendant operator telephoned his supervisor and was instructed to have the vehicle towed, if it were endangering other motorists.
The plaintiff sought damages for past medical expenses, damages for past pain and suffering, and damages for future pain and suffering. She was ultimately awarded $300,000 in mediation.
Martos v. Goldoff
Parent’s Found to Have Impliedly Consented to Their 14 Year Old Son’s Use of Their Car, When Their Son Took Their Car Without Their Permission, Yet They Failed to Report the Car as Being Stolen to the Police.
This is regarded as one of the leading cases in New York involving the application of the “Permissive Use Doctrine”, of an automobile. It was tried before a Westchester County jury before and during the immediate aftermath of the tragic 9/11 terrorist attack.
The driver of the defendant’s late model luxury Lexis was the son of the vehicle’s owner, Mr. and Mrs. Goldoff. Despite Mr and Mrs. Goldoff’s explicit instructions to their son for him never to drive their car, he did. The juvenile son disobeyed his parent’s instructions, and took the keys out of his father’s jacket without his father’s knowledge. On the day of the accident, the driver, the Goldoff’s 14 year-old son, went through a red light at breakneck speed and crashed into the side of the plaintiff’s car, crushing the plaintiff’s femur which required surgical repair. Fortunately, he had no residuals and no lost income.
Although no one disputed that the child negligently drove the car, the real issue in the case was whether his parents, and therefore, whether their insurance carrier, was accountable for the loss under the doctrine of “implied consent”. The parents claimed that their child drove their car without their express or implied consent, and that they therefore were not responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. As a consequence, th defendant took a “no pay” position and the matter proceeded to trial.
At trial, the plaintiff proved that the son had been driving his parents’ car , allegedly without their permission, but with their knowledge, since he was 11 years of age. He had taken the car that night, once again, without their permission and the parents had a pretty good idea of where he was and where he could be found. Although the parents could have reported the car as being “stolen” to the local police, which would have resulted in the car being located and their son being apprehended, Mr and Mrs. Goldoff chose not to do so, since they feared that Child Protective Services would be involved, and they wanted to avoid family court intervention in their private family matters. They did this, however knowing full well that every day that this car was in a juvenile’s possession, he was a threat and menace to himself and anyone in his path of travel.
Based upon these set of facts, the jury concluded that by not reporting the car as being stolen to the police, the parents and car owners had impliedly consented to their child’s unlawful use of the car.
After a verdict for the plaintiff on liability, the defendant offered $10,000. Plaintiff rejected the offer. The jury returned a verdict of $195,000.
Monahan v. Reynolds
Soft Tissue Injury, with one Bulging Disc Results in Westchester County Jury Verdict of $103,333.00.
Plaintiff’s vehicle stopped in traffic on Rt. 287 when he was struck in the rear by defendant’s car. Plaintiff suffered bulging lumbar disc at L5-S1, radiculopathy at L-5. There was no thecal sac or nerve root involvement. The defendant’s made no offer thinking that his case would be dismissed. The jury awarded $103,333 for one bulged disc.
O’Neill v. Garcia
Soft Tissue Injury, with Bulging & Herniated Discs, Results in $350,000 Verdict: One of the Highest Reported Verdicts In Westchester County For This Type Of Injury.
In this “soft tissue” automobile accident case, in which the plaintiff, a nurse, was side-swiped by the defendant in a parking lot, she sustained “soft tissue injuries”, consisting of bulging and herniated discs in her neck and back, which she contended prevented her from performing her duties as a nurse and from caring for her children.
The medical testimony at trial showed that she sustained a concussion, a herniation at L4-5 and at L5-S1, along with traumatically induced bulging discs, also referred to as “partial disc tears”, at C3-C4, C4-C5, L1-L2, L2-L3 and L3-L4. Both she and her treating physician also testified that she suffered from radiculopathy, that is, nerve damage that causes pain not only in the local area where the disc is situated, but also in places further away, such as in the arms, legs, hands, feet, fingers and toes.
To treat these injuries and to address her constant pain, O’Neill testified that she received extensive treatment, including acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy, and the administration of 13 pain killing trigger point injections. O’Neill’s treating physician testified that her condition is permanent, that it will get worse as she gets older and that she will require a lifetime course of trigger pont injections. At the time of trial, O’Neill was 28 years old.
The defendant contended that O’Neill did not sustain a “serious injury” under the law; that all of her injuries were short lived and resolved within weeks after the accident, and that any continuing complaints of pain were solely due to her pregnancy and nothing else. The jury agreed with O’Neill, and it awarded her $350,000 for her pain and suffering; among the highest reported verdicts for this type of injury in Westchester County.
We have chosen to include this verdict not only because of the extraordinary result, but also because we believe it bears eloquent witness to the lengths that Gash & Associates, P.C., will do to accomplish justice for our clients. In this case, the defendant had an insurance policy providing only the minimal limits of insurance coverage under the law of New York: a mere $25,000.00. We demanded the full policy limits so that we could pursue our client’s claim against her own insurance carrier for “under insured” insurance benefits under the law, but the defendant refused to tender the policy contrary to the advice of the Court. Despite the fact that the costs of trying this case approached the policy limits, we would not yield, as other law firms might, to the best business decision, and settle the case for less, and just “move on”. We felt that our client deserved more, and we were determined to get it for her.
The matter is now under appeal, and we will be pursuing a “bad faith” claim against the defendant’s insurance carrier for its refusal to tender the policy limits, when it could have. In this bad faith claim, we will contend that the insurance carrier, as a result of placing its interests above those of its insured, to whom it owes a “fiduciary duty” it is responsible for the entire verdict.
Salant v. Grubman
Gash & Associates, P.C., was one of a few law firms who represented plaintiffs in the infamous case where Lizzie Grubman backed her Mercedes-Benz SUV into a crowd injuring fourteen young ladies in the Hamptons. Mr. Gash, protective of his clients’ feelings and rights, was quoted by the Daily News concerning the media frenzy occasioned by the case. These cases were settled for substantial sums of money without trial, although the specific settlement amounts were stipulated as confidential among the parties.
Toriello v. Jeraci Food Distributors
Plaintiff, while making left hand turn, was struck by defendant’s van which ran Stop sign. A witness to accident was brought to New York from Las Vegas (where he had since moved), to testify on behalf of plaintiff. Plaintiff’s injuries included herniations at C5-6 and C6-7 intervertebral discs, impingement of the associated nerve roots, along with superimposed bulges of her C5-6 and C6-7 discs, protrusions of her L4-5 and L5-S1 discs, and impingement of the associated areas of the thecal sac. The case settled during trial for $175,000.
Vandenberge v. Mahler
Soft Tissue Injury, consisting of Bulging & Herniated Discs with Lost Earnings, Results in 3 Million Dollar Jury Award for past and Future Pain and Suffering, Loss of Consortium and Past and Future Lost Earnings.
In this soft tissue automobile accident case, in which the plaintiff sustained bulging and herniated discs to his neck and back, with cervical radiculopathy confirmed by EMG’s, for which cervical surgery was indicated but never done, as testified to by his treating neurologist, the jury award to the plaintiff was $3,000,000.00. Because, at the time of his injury, the plaintiff was a union foreman in a construction company, whose earnings and job benefits were substantial, his inability to return to the same position he enjoyed before he was hurt, impacted heavily on his ability to work, to earn money, and to remain in the work force for as long as he would have been able to, had he not been injured. This resulted in a large past and future loss of earnings, as well as a diminished work life expectancy.
Because the plaintiff’s injuries also impacted on his ability to be both a husband and a father, and because they diminished the contributions that he could make in both capacities, his wife also had a claim for loss of consortium, or “spousal services.”
The defendant and his experts disputed that the plaintiff suffered from any disc pathology, and that if he did, it was merely degenerative (age related), that it pre-dated the accident, and that his injuries had nothing to do with the fact that the defendant rear ended the plaintiff’s car at great speed. The defendant further argued, and their experts testified at trial, that because it was their opinion that he was not injured, there was no reason why he could not continue to perform hard, manual labor, as he had prior to his injury.
The jury disagreed with the defendant. In one of the highest verdicts at that time for a similar injury, in this venue in a non surgical case for soft tissue injuries, the jury unanimously awarded the plaintiff three million dollars. The breakdown for this award was: $250,000 past pain and suffering; $750,000 for future pain and suffering; $200,000 for past lost earnings; $1.65 for future lost earnings, $150,000 for lost services to his wife.
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