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Elyse J. Stern receives 2017 Outstanding Women in Law award from Hofstra Law.

Verdicts & Settlements

Wrongful Death following Surgery
Twenty-nine year old single mother of four died following surgical complications from a gastric bypass at Jacobi Medical Center. Several months after giving birth to her fourth child and struggling to lose weight, this mother underwent surgery for weight reduction and developed a severe post-operative infection with leakage of feces into her peritoneal cavity, which progressed to sepsis and peritonitis, all of which the young resident physicians failed to diagnose and timely report to the attending physician, contrary to stated hospital policy.

$4.5 million

Fall from Scaffolding
Sixty year old construction worker fell 10 feet after scaffold he was working on snapped, sending him plummeting down to the sidewalk below. He was not provided with safety equipment on the job site and after a summary judgment motion, the Court awarded him liability against multiple defendants. Plaintiff underwent a cervical and lumbar fusion surgeries. Settled on the second day of damages trial.

$3 Million

Wrongful Death
NYC Sheriff deputies, without training or authority to pursue, engaged in high speed chase thru residential Bronx community of scofflaw for expired parking expired tickets; fleeing vehicle ran red light and broadsided a 28 year old client's vehicle, killing her and seriously injuring brother. She left a one year old child without a mother.

$2.725 Million

Sideswipe motor vehicle accident
Venued in Court of Claims, Manhattan.
Forty-five year old housewife suffered herniated cervical discs which required a double level cervical fusion and will likely require future surgery. NY State lost both the liability and damage trials.
Defendant's examining neurosurgeon, who was not called by the defense, was subpoenaed to testify for plaintiff and he supported the contentions of the victim's own treating physicians and agreed that, over time, her condition would worsen through the natural degenerative process, which had been significantly accelerated as a result of the accident trauma.
A portion of the future award was structured in accordance with Art 50-b and no appeal was taken.

$2.33 Million

RSD/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Port Authority failed to clear snow and ice or otherwise open a path into a building at JFK, causing 53 year old mailman to slip and fall, injuring wrist. Subsequent wrist surgery led to reflex sympathetic dystrophy, limiting use of dominant hand, resulting in trial verdict against Port Authority.

$2.30 Million

Disabled Police Administrator re-injured
A 49 year old restrained rear seat passenger traveling in an Access-a-Ride car was rear ended by a commercial pick up truck in Manhattan. Plaintiff underwent a triple level cervical spine surgery just six months later. She was on disability for a prior car accident eight years earlier; however, there was a significant aggravation of her prior condition and the need for treatment was far more extensive and invasive.

$2.1 million

Erbs Palsy
OB-GYN malpractice; improper vaginal delivery of breech birth, causing brachial plexus injury with permanent contracture of infant's arm.

$1.65 Million

Ladder collapse results in laborer’s fall
While ascending a 21 foot extension ladder to install a ventilation fan in a roof above a Bronx auto body shop, this 29 year old man fell twenty feet to the sidewalk below when the ladder collapsed, an incident which was captured on defendant property owner’s surveillance video. Plaintiff fractured his wrist and a couple of ribs, as well as sustained nerve damage in his neck that required surgery. He wished to avoid trial in view of his prior criminal history.

$1.55 million

Collision on N.Y.S. Thruway
Forty-eight year old female driver was rear-ended on New England Thruway. No lost earnings claimed but future medicals were projected to be several hundred thousand dollars. The defendant driver claimed he was cut off by a phantom vehicle but an independent eyewitness challenged his claim as false. We agreed to a high-low premised upon winning or losing on liability, which eliminated the risk of an appeal of the verdict. The jury returned an unanimous verdict in plaintiff's favor, triggering an automatic settlement of the higher figure.

$1,100,000

Assault in Bar causes significant damage to outer ear
In a jealous rage in a Southampton nightclub, the son of a wealthy diamond dealer, stuck our client, a young stockbroker, in the side of his head with a beer bottle, nearly severing his ear. Four hours of reconstructive surgery reattached ear with good cosmetic result. Although insurance companies will not indemnify for criminal actions or intentional assaults, the assailant personally paid $750,000 out of his trust fund within a week of the incident. This case set a record based for the highest recovery in the shortest time!

$750,000

Automobile Accident
Arthroscopic knee surgeries for mother & daughter. Town of Hempstead water truck lost control on 'black ice' and hit clients head on; resulting in lumbar disc injuries and torn cartilage in knee. One of highest verdicts on record against Town of Hempstead.

$710,000

Rear end collision
Forty year old cable installer was rear ended while approaching the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. Cervical and lumbar herniations, requiring fusion surgery.

$700,000

Motorist struck by Traffic Control Officer
NYCTA car ran light without lights and sirens on, broadsided a 45 year old woman in Manhattan and caused knee injuries requiring surgery, post-traumatic stress disorder.

$675,000

Missing stop sign causes accident
Maintenance supervisor at hospital, 40 years old male, suffered exacerbation of neck and back disc herniations when a car went thru a four way stop sign-controlled intersection with a missing stop sign. After the other driver tendered its policy, the case proceeded against the City of New York Dept of Transportation. Settlement reached just prior to closing arguments at trial.

$525,000

Car runs red light with headlights off
31 year old store clerk struck defendant’s car as defendant ran a red light with its headlights off, resulting in $11,000 in property damage and millions of dollars in projected future damages and pain & suffering. Due to lumbar injuries, surgery was required to fuse damaged vertebra. Unfortunately, defendant had only $500,000 in insurance coverage and the policy was tendered after case was placed on trial calendar.

$500,000

Trip and fall on broken curb
Security Guard, 57 years old male diabetic, sustained a bi-malleolar fracture of ankle requiring surgery with placement of hardware and pins, when his foot got stuck in a broken curb side adjacent to parking lot of the building where he works. He had made repeated complaints to landlord and managing agent to fix the broken curb problem. Settlement during jury selection.

$500,000

Rear end motor vehicle accident
Tried to verdict in Supreme Nassau.
Forty-two year old Hempstead woman sustained two lumbar disc herniations. She missed only one week of work as a child care worker but continued to be plagued by severe lower back pain for nearly four years since accident through the time of trial. The award was exclusively for past and future pain & suffering plus interest.

$450,000

Parade Float Cook struck by overpass
During Jamaican Day Parade, this 40 year old cook sustained a non-displaced skull fracture while sitting on a stereo speaker on the back of the float he was riding on, when float driver drove under a bridge, causing him to strike his head on the underside of the bridge due to inadequate clearance and the driver's failure to warn his 50 float guests of low clearance and danger.

$450,000

Car hit by underinsured Truck
Multiple fractures and multiple surgeries in auto accident in Bronx. Client sustained fractures of nearly every bone in her body and underwent over 18 surgeries. Value of case was well into the multi-million dollar zone, except truck only had $500,000 in coverage and several other injured victims all had to share a woefully small amount of insurance coverage.

$430,000

Fell in Hole Exiting Bldg
21 year old volunteer at Bronx HeadStart program, fell into 5 foot uncovered hole while exiting building door, while principal was inside, standing next to door watching plumber (who dug hole) repairing pipes. Hole was dug while client was inside building, assisting teacher. No effort was made to lock or secure door, or otherwise place warnings. Lumbar bulge with radiculopathy. Jury found defense orthopedist and radiologist not worthy of belief.

$375,000

Elderly Diabetic poked in eye
Product liability case involving 77 year old diabetic woman, who was injured as she attempted to get out of K-Mart wheelchair with swivel shopping basket. Poorly designed basket, which had been lifted, fell as the customer stood up in wheelchair, stabbing her in eye. Nassau County jury awarded $500,000, which was reduced by a degree of comparative negligence by plaintiff.

$375,000

Slip and Fall
Fifty-one year old Brooklyn woman, out on disability for an anxiety disorder, slipped and fell in a hallway puddle outside her apartment unit in a NYC Housing Authority building in Coney Island, dislocating her elbow. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance, where the dislocation was reduced manually. Non-surgical case with slight loss of extension (arm no longer fully straightened) was settled after jury selection with waiver of medicaid lien. Three witnesses were prepared to testify about complaints of leaky pipe in common area outside apartment and engineering expert was ready to show age and chronicity of problem.

$350,000

Apartment Ceiling Collapse
54 yr old woman sustained torn rotator cuff of right shoulder, when her apartment's bathroom ceiling collapsed. Had reported leakage problem from bathroom in apartment above hers but landlord was slow to respond. Jury found landlord 100% at fault and awarded $300,000 in this non-surgical case.

$300,000

Rear End Collision.
Arbitration award of full UM-SUM policy for 47 year old Nassau County accountant, who was rear ended on Meadowbrook Parkway. In addition to sustaining multiple disc bulges and herniations, she suffered numbness and serious scarring to her breast, when the incisional sutures from a recent breast reduction surgery opened upon being struck by airbag, which deployed when her car was pushed into the stopped car in front of her.

$300,000

Premises negligence in Manhattan
While returning to work from lunch break, this 57 year old pedestrian, was struck by box thrown blindly off a truck, while it was unloading a delivery. She was knocked over while walking by the open side door of the grocery delivery truck and fell into the open sidewalk vault and down into the basement, fracturing multiple ribs and suffering herniated spinal discs.

$245,000

Boy fell on excavated sidewalk outside his city shelter
A four year old cerebral palsied child toppled out of his wheelchair and lacerated his scalp, requiring the placement of two staples, when his mother attempted to maneuver her way back into their apartment building over an excavated sidewalk, using a makeshift bridge which was too narrow. The sidewalk construction workers ignored requests to broaden the bridge width because handicapped child needed to get in and out of building. Child developed seizures sixteen months later but causal connection was questioned. Case settled shortly after defendant-proposed mediation during course of depositions in Bronx. Highly sympathetic young plaintiff.

$200,000

Slip & Fall snow and ice
52 year old woman sustained herniated discs and nerve damage when she slipped and fell on snow while walking her dogs on an un-shoveled sidewalk, six days after it had last snowed. In 2003, a new statute shifted liability from the City of New York to the abutting commercial property owners and multiple dwelling owners under NYC Administrative Code Municipal Law 7-210. Here the landlord did not reside in the property and there were more than three separate residences in the house, exposing him to financial liability for failing to maintain the sidewalks in front of his house. The property owner's insurer was eager to resolve this case, which involved a torn rotator cuff and lumbar herniations with radiolopathy, none of which required surgery. At the time, the client had been out of work on disability so the economic loss was limited to the medical expenses which exceeded $30,000.

$195,000

Taxi Cab ran stop sign
Sixty-five year old passenger fractured toe and sustained multiple herniated lumbar discs. Limited coverage, limited recovery during trial.

$175,000

Facial Scarring: Horsing around in school
An eighth grade student in the Hewlett-Woodmere Union Free School District suffered a inch long forehead laceration when she was bumped by fellow students who had been horsing around in the gym locker room before class. She fell face forward into the corner of a locker and sustained a mild cosmetic deformity to her pretty face. The settlement was paid shortly before trial by one of the two girls homeowner's insurers (the other child was uninsured).

$150,000

Frame Fell off Shelf on victim in OddJob Store
55 year old customer was struck in nose by wooden frames improperly secured on high shelving in store, required two surgeries to repair nasal fractures.

$125,000

Mouse paw in frozen spinach
Young mother was preparing pesto sauce for pasta dinner, using package of frozen Seabrook Brothers spinach, which contained mouse parts. She actually was eating the sauce when she got mouse paw stuck in her teeth while chewing. Diligent investigation obtained records of exterminator who had issued multiple critical warnings of rodent entry into defendant's factory, which could have been prevented by placement of an inexpensive door sweep. This was one of the largest recoveries for purely emotional injury in food consumption case in Nassau Supreme Court.

$125,000