Mark R. Bernstein, a partner and senior trial attorney with our firm, recently obtained a verdict of $1,950,000.00 against the New York City Transit Authority. The offer was zero. A New York County jury found that the NYCTA was 40% at fault for failing to stop a subway train before striking our client who was on the tracks at the 33rd Street station on March 9, 2006. Our client, homeless, suffered a partially severed left foot.
The NYCTA claimed that the accident was entirely our client’s own fault. They introduced evidence that our client, 51 years old at the time, had just left a Methadone clinic, that he had taken illegal street drugs that morning which made him drowsy and dizzy, that he told a social worker in the hospital that the accident was his own fault because he had taken drugs and was standing too close to the edge of the platform, that he had taken drugs his entire adult life, that he had been institutionalized in the past for mental issues, and that he had attempted suicide multiple times before the accident. The NYCTA asked the jury to consider that one month before the accident our client was found on the tracks at a different subway station and that when he was confronted by a police officer he lied and said that he slipped and fell onto the tracks so that he would not be charged with a crime. Our client told the jury in this case that he had slipped on the platform before falling to the tracks.
Mr. Bernstein explained to the jury that the train operator’s conduct was inexcusable in seeing our client on the roadbed before striking him, running the train over him, making the stop at the station, and then running the train over him again while leaving the station before finally calling in a “body” on the tracks at the next stop. Mr. Bernstein said, “This case proves that we are all equal- it doesn’t matter who is on the tracks or why, you have to stop the train.”
This is not the first time that Mr. Bernstein has successfully handled a difficult trial against the NYCTA. He previously obtained a jury verdict against the NYCTA in the amount of $650,000.00 where the offer was only $100,000.00.