In an action to recover damages for personal injuries, the defendants appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court, Kings County dated May 27, 2008, which, upon a jury verdict on the issue of liability finding that they were 80% at fault in the happening of the automobile accident and that the plaintiff was 20% at fault in the happening of the accident, upon a jury verdict on the issue of damages, and upon an order of the same court dated February 26, 2008, denying their motion pursuant to CPLR 4404(a), inter alia, to set aside the verdicts on the issues of liability and damages and for judgment as a matter of law or, in the alternative, for a new trial is in favor of the plaintiff and against them in the principal sum of $2,375,871.
On September 22, 2003, the plaintiff, LR, allegedly was injured when he was struck by a bus owned by the defendant New York City Transit Authority (hereinafter NYCTA) and operated by JA, sued herein as John Doe, as the plaintiff was crossing Gates Avenue at its intersection with Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn.
After serving a notice of claim upon NYCTA, and thereafter commencing this action, the plaintiff served a verified bill of particulars dated June 4, 2003, alleging that he sustained permanent, serious personal injuries including, inter alia, L5–S1 disc protrusion with impingement on the proximal right S1 nerve root and L4–5 disc bulge. On July 27, 2006, he underwent surgery consisting of right-sided hemilaminotomy, L5–S1 and right-sided partial disectomy L5–S1. The plaintiff did not claim aggravation of any preexisting condition or prior injuries. After the trial on the issue of liability, the jury found the defendants 80% at fault in the happening of the accident and the plaintiff 20% at fault.
After the trial on the issue of damages, the jury found that the plaintiff, as a result of the accident of September 22, 2003, sustained a significant limitation of use of body function or system. The jury awarded the plaintiff the sums of $200,000 for past pain and suffering, $1,210,000 for future pain and suffering for 25 years, $60,000 for past loss of earnings, and $905,871 for future loss of earnings over 17 years.
The defendants moved, pursuant to CPLR 4404(a), inter alia, to set aside the jury verdict on the issues of liability and damages, and for a judgment as a matter of law, arguing, among other things, that several of the plaintiff’s injuries were not proximately caused by the subject accident, and that those injuries which may have been caused by the accident did not meet the threshold of serious injury required by Insurance Law § 5102(d). In an order dated February 26, 2008, the Supreme Court denied the defendants’ motion. A judgment in favor of the plaintiff was subsequently entered. The defendants appeal. We reverse, and grant a new trial on the issues of causation and, if necessary, damages.
A postverdict motion pursuant to CPLR 4404(a) for judgment as a matter of law, made on the ground that a jury verdict is not supported by legally sufficient evidence, may be granted only if the court concludes that there is simply no valid line of reasoning and permissible inferences which could possibly lead rational persons to the conclusion reached by the jury on the basis of the evidence presented at trial.
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