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November 2017

New York Partner Don Derrico Scores Major Win

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani managing partner of the firm's Westchester office, Donald Derrico, along with assistance from senior counsel Amy Curley, scored a major win in Bronx County against famed Florida attorney Willy Gary. The plaintiff, a private equity fund manager alleged that the defendant's school bus struck him while riding to work. As a result of the accident, the plaintiff alleged he sustained brain damage, post-concussion syndrome, PTSD, a torn rotator cuff which required surgery, a neck injury with a recommendation for surgery, lower back injuries and various lacerations which requires stiches.

The defendant was in the process of making a right turn when the plaintiff, who was riding a hybrid electric bike, struck the right front fender of the bus. The defendant driver admitted that she knew the plaintiff was riding his bike behind her in a designated bike lane and that she didn’t see him when she turned because he was in her blind spot. The defense argued that the bus driver properly signaled her intention to turn and that the plaintiff failed to see the turn signal and was riding too close to the bus.

The plaintiff claimed that as a result of the accident and injuries his private equity fund had to shut down which resulted in the loss of millions of dollars. The plaintiff called numerous experts including an accident reconstructionist, neurologist, orthopedic surgeon, orthopedist, neuro psychologist, a vocational expert and a life care planner. All of the plaintiff’s experts opined that he sustained a serious head injury with brain damage which caused him psychological injuries which prevented him from continuing as a private equity fund manager.

The defense called a neuropsychologist, orthopedic surgeon and a neurologist. The defense experts opined that the plaintiff’s complaints at the emergency room and subsequent treatment were inconsistent with having sustained any head injury and that an MRI of his brain and his neuropsychological tests failed to confirm any brain damage. With regard to the lost earnings claim ($18 million), Derrico argued that his tax returns for the past five years showed a decline in income each year prior to the accident and that the plaintiff had numerous federal and state tax liens against him.

The plaintiff asked the jury for $38.5 million in damages for pain and suffering and included past lost earnings, future lost earnings, past and future medical expenses. The jury deliberated for four and half hours and returned a verdict wherein they found the plaintiff was 50 percent at fault and they only awarded the plaintiff $1 million which was reduced to $500,000 for his comparative fault. Derrico was brought in prior to trial by the excess carrier.

Amy Curley
Donald G. Derrico