Fred and Mary Olsen v. City of New York

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Case Name

Fred and Mary Olsen v. City of New York

Type of Injury



new york city police officer


New York, NY


Defense verdict.

Verdict Amount


Case Details


Fred and Mary Olsen v. City of New York 83 Civ 0462 5-day trial Verdict 3/19/85 Judge Constance Baker Motley, Southern District

VERDICT: Defense verdict.

Pltf. Atty: Stanley F. Meltzer of Meltzer & Fishman, Manhattan

Deft. Atty: Vito A. Cannavo, Asst. Corp. Counsel

Facts: Pltf. was a 31-year-old New York City police officer assigned to the Harbor Unit of the police department. He claimed that on 12/2/81, he slipped and fell on a gangway while entering a police harbor boat. Pltf. brought this action under the Jones Act, claiming that the surface of the ramp was not skid-resistant. Pltf. also alleged that the gangway was set at too steep an angle (35G). Pltf. called several other police officers as eyewitnesses. They also testified that they had complained about the condition of the gangway to their superiors before the accident. Deft. contended that there was insufficient proof that the accident occurred at the time and place that Pltf. alleged. In addition, Deft. argued that if the accident occurred as Pltf. described, he was contributorily negligent in failing to use an available handrail and in not wearing nonskid deck shoes. In response, Pltf. argued that he was not allowed to wear deck shoes. Deft. also called the sergeant who supervised Pltf. He testified that no complaints regarding the condition of the gangway were made to him. Injuries: herniated discs at L-4, L-5 and L-5, S-1 (confirmed by CAT scan). Pltf. retired from the police department on disability. An economist testified that Pltf.’s lost earnings amounted to $ 600,000. Deft. called a neurologist who testified that Pltf.’s back injuries were apparently preexisting. Amount asked of jury: $2,500,000. Pltf. Experts: Howard Silfin, engineer; Herbert Stillwaggon, maritime expert; Irwin Stricker, economist; Dr. Edmond Prouder, rehabilitative medicine; Dr. Mark Kashen, radiologist, Great Neck; Dr. Gary Korenman, neurologist, Manhattan; Dr. Stephen Zolan, orth. surg., Hicksville. Deft. Expert: Dr. Murray Budabin, neurologist, Manhattan.