Centre County, PA (August 6, 2019) – Ostroff Injury Law is pleased to announce that Louis C. Ricciardi and William Coppol have prevailed in enforcing a major personal injury verdict in a Centre County, PA trial.
In its 34-page opinion, a three-judge panel in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed a jury’s decision to award $750,000 to Seth Nazarak, a commercial truck driver with M & C Trucking Co., who was injured in a rear-end collision caused by driver Rubin Waite Jr. and his employer Haranin Construction Inc. in Cambria County, PA. The 2014 crash caused Nazarak to sustain a back injury that required an arthroscopic surgery to implant a pain stimulator. Prior to trial, Haranin Construction’s insurer made a final offer of $36,000 to settle the case. Ostroff Law partner Bill Coppol was lead trial counsel for plaintiff Seth Nazarak. Coppol’s $750,000 verdict was over twenty times higher than this offer.
Defendant Waite and Haranin Construction appealed the jury verdict.
The Pa Superior Court panel affirmed the verdict in Seth Nazarak v. Rubin Waite Jr. et al., shooting down defendants’ arguments that the trial court erred in numerous ways. Among the issues raised by defendants, they argued that Nazarak’s vocational expert, Celia Evans, was improperly permitted to testify outside the scope of her pretrial expert report. Evans testified that Nazarak could not renew his truck driver’s CDL license due to his spinal cord stimulator and pain medication prescribed following the crash. Defendants contended that since the stimulator was inserted after Evans prepared her report, she should not have been permitted to address it. However, the Superior Court panel noted that the appellants had been aware that Evans would testify that Nazarak was unable to drive a truck and her testimony was therefore within the scope of her report.
The panel also rejected the argument that medical expert Dr. Charles J. Harvey merely “parroted” a report by non-testifying neuroradiologist Dr. Michael Brooks, regarding an MRI that Brooks interpreted. The appeals court found that Dr. Harvey had indeed relied on his own expertise and judgment and was permitted to rely on Brooks opinion, since surgeons often rely on the interpretation of radiology specialists in the course of their medical care.
Finally, the appellants argued that Coppol improperly elicited testimony from Waite regarding the possible cause of the accident, such as brake failure, because the defendants had already admitted fault. The panel found this argument to be irrelevant, as the trial judge sustained Waite’s counsel’s objection, ordered the challenged testimony be stricken, and instructed the jury to ignore it.
“This victory is a testament to the tireless legal work performed by Lou and Bill, combined with their unique skill and experience, whether at the trial or the appellate level,” said Ostroff Injury Law Founding Partner Jon Ostroff. “They continue our firm’s perfect five-year record of winning every appeal filed by defendants, when they try to avoid paying the strong verdicts our firm has obtained for our injured clients.”
About Ostroff Injury Law
For nearly three decades, Ostroff Injury Law has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for injured victims. The firm has fought for clients against negligent parties in lawsuits involving passenger and commercial vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents and medical malpractice. In the past three years alone (2016-2018), Ostroff Injury law has recovered more than $75 million for clients. The firm has recently received national recognition for recovering over $21 million against Greyhound Bus Company for a group of clients after Ostroff proved during a six-week trial that the company’s recklessness led to a massive highway bus crash in Pennsylvania.