Tillie v. NYC – Waiting for $1.9M Pay Day [2005-04-04]


By Chrisena Coleman

A passenger who was injured when the cab he was riding in collided with a fire truck stands to collect $1.9 million.

But it has taken him 10 years to collect – and he’s still waiting for his payday.

The city is digging in its heels and appealing the Bronx jury verdict.

His attorney is calling it sour grapes.

“The jury has spoken on this issue and the judge has spoken,” said Peter Defilippis, attorney for Alex Tillie, 35, who suffered broken bones and partial hearing loss from the accident, involving a collision with a fire truck from the firehouse known as The Animal House, which later became embroiled in a sex scandal.

“[The judge and jury] both decided the city is liable and responsible for payment to the plaintiff,” said Defilippis. “My client has been dragged through the litigation process for 10 years.”

Bronx Supreme Court Justice Patricia Anne Williams recently signed the order, which holds the city liable for the entire $1.9 million.

A spokeswoman for the city corporation counsel, Kate Ahlers, said, “The matter is pending litigation, but as far as the appeal is concerned, the city feels strongly on the merits of the case.”

When Tillie’s case finally came to trial in 2003, the jury awarded him $400,000 for past pain and suffering and $1.5 million for future pain and suffering.

Tillie sustained a spiral fracture of his right arm and 50% hearing loss in both ears when the cab in which he was a passenger was struck by a fire truck from Ladder 33.

“Now my client has a hearing problem that can’t be corrected,” said Defilippis.

Witnesses testified that the firemen on the truck were drunk and disoriented and had alcohol on their breath at the scene of the accident.

The driver of the fire truck testified under oath that he could not recall if he had had alcohol within 24 hours of the incident.

But the Fire Department said the men were tested after the accident and showed no alcohol in their bloodstreams.