Mark Campbell v. City of Elmira

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Case Name

Mark Campbell v. City of Elmira

Type of Injury



self-employed outboard motor repairman


Chemung, NY


$500,000 (6/0).

Verdict Amount


Case Details


Mark Campbell v. City of Elmira 3498/88 5-day trial Verdict 7/24/92 Judge William N. Ellison, Chemung Supreme

VERDICT: $500,000 (6/0). Breakdown: $21,319 for medical expenses; $ 55,000 for lost earnings; $75,000 for past pain and suffering; $153,381 for future pain and suffering (42 years); $55,000 for past impairment of earning ability; $139,000 for future impairment of earning ability (28 years). Post-trial motions were denied. Notice of Appeal by Deft.

Pltf. Atty: David J. Clegg, Kingston

Deft. Atty: John L. Perticone of Levene, Gouldin & Thompson

Facts: Pltf., a 25-year-old self-employed outboard motor repairman, claimed that on 8/12/86 he was driving his motorcycle when he struck the side of a fire truck which went through a red light. The accident occurred at the intersection of Clemenson Center Pkwy. and Second Ave. in Elmira. Pltf. claimed that he was driving southbound on Clemenson Center Pkwy. and was in the left lane. Pltf. claimed that as he approached the intersection, the light changed to green and that he proceeded through the intersection at 25-30 mph. Pltf. did not see Deft. ‘s fire truck enter the intersection until it was too late to stop and collided with it. Pltf. contended that he did not see the lights or hear the siren because he was wearing a full face motorcycle helmet. Pltf. contended that there was a line of trees and a parking lot filled with trucks and cars on the northwest corner of the intersection which obstructed his view of the oncoming traffic. Pltf. applied the brakes when he saw Deft.’s truck and struck the side of the truck close to the rear tire. Pltf. claimed that he was faced with an emergency situation. He also contended that the driver did not observe traffic and did not look when he entered the intersection.

Deft. contended that it was an emergency vehicle and was entitled to the right-of-way. It contended that the truck had on its flashing lights and siren to warn other drivers. Deft. was responding to a call at a local County jail. Deft. also contended that in order for it to be liable, the driver would have to show reckless disregard for the safety of other drivers. Deft. claimed that there were cars stopped when it approached the intersection. The truck was 200 feet from the intersection when the driver last looked at the light. The driver testified that cars were still stopped at the intersection when he approached and that he proceeded through the intersection at a speed of approximately 10-15 mph. He also testified that he slowed down as he proceeded through the intersection. A fireman sitting in the rear of the truck testified that the driver accelerated as he proceeded through the intersection. Deft. contended that its personnel acted reasonably under the circumstances.

Injuries: comminuted displaced radius and ulnar fracture of the right ( dominant) arm; fractured right wrist. Pltf. had gone back to work in Spring 1987 until Fall 1987 when he underwent surgery for fusion of the wrist. He went back to work May 1988 at limited capacity. Deft. contested that the lost income claim was not valid because Pltf. was working at the time of trial. Demonstrative evidence: photographs; rehabilitative implements; motorcycle helmet. Offer: $40,000; demand: $ 300,000. Jury deliberation: 3? hours. Pltf. Experts: Thomas Kershner, economist, Schenectady; Edmond Provder, rehabilitative medicine, Manhattan; Dr. William Bishop, orth. surg., Elmira; Sandy Robinson, occupational therapist. There was no expert testimony for Deft.