201611.23
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Record $20.2 Million Award Challenged

November 23, 2016

The defendant in a record-setting civil lawsuit has argued that the verdict was a miscarriage of justice, which could mean that the ruling is overturned, resulting in the possible loss of a $20.2 million award for a New Jersey couple.

The accident is not under dispute, but the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries is in question. Dorthe, who was driving a pickup truck on the day of the accident, March 20, 2010, accidently rear-ended Visaggio at a stoplight. Steven Visaggio, the plaintiff, reportedly suffered ongoing back problems and permanent injuries to his shoulder after he fell off his motorcycle, landing underneath it. However, Kurt Dorthe, the defendant, is fighting the ruling.

A three-panel appeals ruling in October 2016 agreed with him, resulting in a new trial in the case. They stated that the defendant did not receive a fair trial and believe that the verdict is grossly excessive. They further stated that the judge limited the scope of the defense lawyer’s cross-examinations and that he admonished the same attorney before the jury, possibly affecting their opinion of his professionalism. The judge also permitted testimony from the plaintiff regarding adopting a baby with disabilities — although the child was 22 in 2010, during the trial.

The original judge refused to allow reported videos of a man believed to be the plaintiff working in 2013 despite his claims regarding his extensive injuries. The video documents this person climbing up a ladder onto a roof and back down, allegedly carrying plywood during one trip. Visaggio worked as a home improvement contractor.

The plaintiff did not request medical expenses or lost wages. However, the jury awarded a pain and suffering amount to Visaggio of $15.5 million. They gave his spouse an additional $3.8 million although she was not with him when the accident occurred. Added fees, interests and related costs increased the verdict to the highest in the state in 2014.

The legal team’s failure to pay close attention to seemingly minor details in a personal injury case could affect the entire outcome of a civil lawsuit, resulting in an eventual overturn of a significant verdict. Contact our law firm for seasoned legal representation after a serious injury-accident.