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Falling Debris From Tractor-trailer Blamed for Accident – Settlement: $286,000 [2008-12-21]

Nancy DeLuca [Verdict Search]
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Supreme Court, Twelfth Judicial District, Bronx County, New York.

Vicente Castillo v. John C. Glover, H & W Trucking Company, Inc., T & M Managers, Inc., H & W Resolution LLC & H & W Holdings, LLC d/b/a H & W Trucking Company, Best Cartage, Inc. & Arrow Truck Sales, Inc.

Index No. 21989/04

DATE OF VERDICT/SETTLEMENT: June 20, 2008

TOPIC: MOTOR VEHICLE – TRACTOR-TRAILER

SUMMARY:

RESULT: Settlement

The case settled for $286,000 of which Arrow paid $11,000 and the remaining defendants paid $275,000. Arrow also released Castillo from the $32,000 still owed to them on the tractor.

EXPERT WITNESSES:

Plaintiff:

Jadan Abbassi; Pain Management; Plainfield, NJ

Simon Lee, M.D.; Neurology; New York, NY

Yahya Awari, D.C.; Chiropractic; Newark, NJ

Defendant:

James Hughes, M.D.; Neurology; New York, NY

ATTORNEYS:

Plaintiff: Peter DeFilippis;  Peter DeFilippis & Associates P.C.; New York, NY (Vicente Castillo)

Defendant: Sandro A. Battaglia; Lester, Schwab, Katz & Dwyer; New York, NY (H & W Trucking Co., Best Cartage Inc., H & W Resolution LLC, H & W Trucking Co. Inc., John C. Glover, T & M Managers Inc.); Raymond M. D’Erasmo; Savona & Scully; New York, NY (Arrow Truck Sales Inc.)

JUDGE: Paul A. Victor
STATE: New York
COUNTY: Bronx

INJURIES: Castillo claimed that he sustained herniated cervical discs at C3-4, C4-5, C5-6, C6-7, L2-3, L3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1. He also suffered radiculopathy. His injuries were confirmed by EMGs and MRIs.

Facts:

On Jan. 9, 2002, plaintiff Vicente Castillo, 42, an independent truck driver, was driving his tractor-trailer on I-81 north of exit 13, in Preble. He claimed that a piece of steel on the flatbed of a tractor-trailer in front of him fell into the roadway, causing him to swerve off the roadway and hit an embankment. He claimed that he sustained injuries of his back and neck.

Castillo sued the tractor-trailer’s driver, John Glover. He also sued the owners, H & W Trucking Co. Inc.; T & M Managers Inc.; H & W Resolution LLC; H & W Holdings, LLC; and Best Cartage Inc. He claimed that Glover negligently operated the vehicle and secured the cargo and that the owners were vicariously liable for his actions. Castillo also sued Arrow Truck Sales Inc., from whom he purchased his tractor-trailer several months prior. He claimed that they improperly repossessed and sold the damaged tractor-trailer at auction without his permission.

Evidence indicated that Glover was cited for two counts of improper load securement after an examiner for the New York State Department of Transportation performed an inspection of his tractor-trailer. He pleaded guilty. At the time of his deposition, Glover was in prison for an unrelated crime. He testified via telephone that he noticed that the strap holding the piece of steel had been cut by direct contact with a sharp edge on a piece of equipment. This was the only strap holding the piece of steel. Glover testified that he did not see or hear the piece of steel fall, though he stopped at the accident scene.

Castillo claimed that the roadway conditions were wet and the impact was very strong. The tractor-trailer had to be towed away. Castillo claimed that he was wearing his seat belt.

On the claims against Arrow, Castillo claimed that he had paid Arrow approximately $6,000 toward the purchase of the tractor-trailer and financed approximately $32,000. Although the title was registered in Castillo’s name, Arrow repossessed the tractor-trailer, which had about $3,600 in damage, and sold it at auction without his permission. Castillo intended to prove that he had paid Arrow to purchase full-coverage insurance for him and gave them cash with receipts. After the accident, he found that he had no coverage and had to pay more than $15,000 in medical expenses with his own money. Arrow claimed that it sold the truck at auction after notice to Castillo.

A family member brought Castillo to the hospital from the accident scene. He was treated and released. Castillo was confined to home for three months. He received epidural injections at C6 and C7, as well as several months of chiropractic treatment and physical rehabilitation.

Castillo still drives a truck, but he claimed that he can only drive for one hour before having to take a break. He has limited cervical and lumbar mobility. He still receives pain management treatment and is considering surgery.

Castillo sought $15,000 for past medical expenses. He also sought $11,000 for the value of the truck.

Insurer:

Occidental Fire & Casualty of North Carolina for Best Cartage, Glover, H & W Holdings, H & W Resolution, H & W Trucking and T & M Managers

ALM Properties, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN: VerdictSearch New York Reporter Vol. 26, Issue 14, 2008 WL 4093218 (N.Y.Sup.)