By Alba Acevedo
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In this courtroom sketch Hon. Wavny Toussaint listens as attorney Martin Wolf (standing), of the law firm Ginsberg & Wolf, conducts a direct examination of the plaintiff in the motor vehicle accident trial Torres v. Goldner.
Guillermo Torres was riding a motor scooter in the left lane on 3rd Avenue near 26th Street in Brooklyn when he was struck by a car changing lanes. The defendant driver was represented by attorney Jesse Safer (at right), of the law offices of James G. Bilello & Associates. Liability was decided in summary judgment; at issue was the determination of damages.
Torres claimed that the October 2011 accident resulted in serious injury to his shoulder, pain in his neck and back and road burns to his skin. Safer disputed Torres’ allegation that the dent in an evidentiary photo was caused by the impact of Torres’ shoulder, maintaining that it could only have been caused by impact with the scooter and that Torres’ claim was exaggerated. Torres underwent arthroscopic surgery in December for a suspected rotator cuff tear, during which the surgeon instead found and repaired shoulder tears, and proceeded to remove ligament to facilitate Torres’ arm movement. Torres claims that he is still in pain.
Safer generally characterized Torres’ current condition as degenerative with only intermittent pain, and more likely the consequence of Torres’ 20-year military career as a staff sergeant than causally related to the accident. Torres continues to work part-time with modified duties after, as Torres claimed, pain prevented him from continuing in his full-time employment as a security guard.
The 53-year old plaintiff has a life expectancy of 25 years. The jury returned a damages award totaling $480,000, which included $300,000 in compensation for past and future lost earnings and $180,000 for pain and suffering, in the trial that resolved last week in Kings County Civil Term. Post-trial motions may be pending.