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SKETCHES OF COURT: Shelter employee who was attacked seeks damages in spinal-injury case

Eagle Courtroom sketch by Alba Acevedo

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

In this courtroom sketch, Hon. Peter Sweeney (right) listens as attorney Thomas Moverman (standing), partner in the law firm Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman, makes his opening statement to a jury in Kings County Civil Term last Tuesday during the bifurcated trial of Valerie Lewis v. FJC Security Services Inc. Moverman is holding a model of a spinal column to show the location of Lewis’ spinal injuries. At far left, seated, is Marc Freund, also an attorney for the plaintiff and partner in the firm.

At issue in this phase of the negligence case is the award of damages for injuries that Valerie Lewis, then 43, sustained in October 2009 while working at the Tillary Street Women’s Shelter, when she was attacked by a former resident who had gained entry to the facility. In the liability phase of this trial, the jury found 98 percent against the defendant, FJC Security Services, which was under contract to provide security oversight at various checkpoints at the women’s homeless shelter.

The defendant, represented by James F. Burke of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP (seated, foreground), sought to mitigate the extent of the damages considered, alleging, for instance, that not all of Lewis’ injuries, which included pain and suffering from several invasive medical procedures as well as lost wages, were caused by the events of that time. For example, Burke sought to expose preexisting spinal degeneration and treatment in Lewis, and pointed to defendant expert witness’s use of the term “bulging disc” as opposed to plaintiff expert witness’s term “disc herniation” in reference to the degree of her spinal injuries.

The trial is scheduled to continue this week.

March 10, 2014 - 3:00pm


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