Richard and Kathleen Lightfoot v. State of New York

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Case Name

Richard and Kathleen Lightfoot v. State of New York

Type of Injury





$770,239 for Richard L.

Verdict Amount


Case Details


Richard and Kathleen Lightfoot v. State of New York Claim No. 90848 22-page Decision Filed 3/31/99 Court of Claims, Hauppauge

Judge: Leonard Silverman

Decision: $770,239 for Richard L. Breakdown: $350,000 for past pain and suffering; $150,000 for future pain and suffering; $42, 234 for past medical expenses; $91,764 for past lost earnings; $136, 241 for future lost earnings.

$30,000 for Kathleen L. for loss of services.

Clmt. Atty: Edward Fogarty of Fogarty & Fogarty, Mineola

Deft. Atty: Steven Weinberg of Gottesman, Wolgel, Secunda, Malamy & Flynn, P.C., Manhattan

Facts: On 10/8/94, Clmt., then age 43, fell 12-15 feet while working atop a mobile truck scaffold after its railing collapsed. At the time, he was employed as a structural steel painter, painting an overpass on Sunrise Hwy. in West Islip. Previously, Clmt. had been granted summary judgment on liability by the Appellate Division, Second Department. Lightfoot v. State of New York, 245 A.D.2d 488. This trial on damages ensued.

Injuries: interarticular fracture of the right distal tibia; fracture of the lateral tibial plateau of the left knee. Clmt. s right leg fracture required surgery utilizing both internal and external fixation. Clmt. was confined to a bed or wheelchair for 3 months; then used a walker for several months. He underwent physical therapy for several years. In April 1997, he was prescribed an ankle sleeve to help control swelling and provide support. He attempted to return to work in January 1998, but experienced pain and swelling in the ankle which, he claimed, prevented him from returning. Clmt. contended that he suffers pain and stiffness when he attempts to sit or stand for extended periods, that he is frequently required to use a cane, and that he walks with a limp. Deft. s experts acknowledged that Clmt. suffered a partial disability, but contended that, although Clmt. could not return to work as a painter, he was employable in other fields. The court agreed, finding that Clmt. was totally disabled for 2 years after the accident. From that point on, the court found, Clmt. s earning capacity was reduced by approximately $8,000 per year. Demonstrative evidence: surveillance video showing Clmt. walking with little or no limp.

Clmt. Experts: Dr. David Loya, treating orth. surg., Bay Shore; Conrad Berenson, Ph.D., economist, Woodbury; Edmond Provder, vocational rehabilitation, Manhattan.

Deft. Experts: Joyce Mesch-Spinello, vocational rehabilitation, Manhattan; William Book, vocational rehabilitation, Binghamton; Dr. Leon Sultan, orth. surg., Franklin Square.