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D'Amato v. Long Island Railroad Company
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
874 F. Supp. 57 (1995)
Fred D’Amato (plaintiff) worked for the Long Island Railroad Company (the railroad) (defendant). One morning, D’Amato fell over a piece of the railroad’s equipment that was left on the side of the tracks. D’Amato missed 36 weeks of work and had two surgeries to release a compressed ulnar nerve and relieve his carpal tunnel syndrome. Although D’Amato endured repeated examinations, diagnostic tests, and physical therapy sessions, he continued to have pain in his hand, elbow, back, and neck. D’Amato sued the railroad for negligence. Both D’Amato and his wife testified that because of his injuries, D’Amato was depressed, and his everyday activities were restricted. D’Amato could no longer easily perform household chores, would not engage in his favorite outdoor activities, and could not sit for an extended period. The jury found the railroad negligent, with D’Amato also negligent and 15 percent responsible. The jury further found that D’Amato's injuries were permanent and awarded him $800 for past out-of-pocket expenses, $25,000 for lost earnings, $75,000 for pain and suffering up to the date of the verdict, and $60,000 for future pain and suffering. The railroad moved for a new trial, arguing that the damages were grossly excessive and should be set aside or, in the alternative, asked for remittitur reducing the jury’s award. The railroad cited cases in which plaintiffs were awarded lesser amounts for injuries like D’Amato’s.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bartels, J.)
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