In what is believed to be the largest personal injury verdict for a single plaintiff in the history of the Queens County Supreme Court, Benedict P. Morelli and his team obtained a verdict of $62,060,086.27 on behalf of their client, 26 year old Chinese immigrant Zeng Guang Lin. The case arose from a work-related accident that occurred on May 8, 2008 when Mr. Lin, only 20 years old at the time, was working at a construction site in the Bronx, owned by defendant Hutch Realty Partners, LLC. Mr. Lin sustained injuries after falling 20 feet from a roof while installing metal siding. In this bifurcated trial, a jury unanimously found that the Defendants violated Labor Law §240(1) in failing to provide Mr. Lin with proper safety devices, and were thus 100% responsible. The defendants unsuccessfully argued that Mr. Lin was provided with appropriate safety devices and that he was solely responsible for his accident. The liability trial lasted 2 ½ months.
As a result of the extensive length of the liability trial, the parties were required to select a new jury to decide the issue of damages. In the damages phase, which lasted an additional 3 months, Morelli alleged that as a result of the accident, Mr. Lin sustained injuries including a traumatic brain injury, multiple spinal fractures, multiple rib fractures, splenic laceration, renal hematoma, and lung contusion. Plaintiff further alleged that as a result of the traumatic brain injury, he sustained severe permanent cognitive deficits. The defendants contended that Mr. Lin did not have a traumatic brain injury with severe permanent cognitive deficits. After more than three months on the damages trial, the jury required only 50 minutes to reach their verdict which was a forceful, quick, and decisive repudiation of the defense. The jury awarded Mr. Lin $20,000,000 for past pain and suffering, $42,000,000 for future pain and suffering, and $60,086.27 for past medical expenses. The $62,000,000 was more than the $55,000,000 Morelli asked for in his summation. The trial team consisted of Benedict P. Morelli, Adam E. Deutsch, and David T. Sirotkin.
The case was entitled Lin v. Hutch Realty Partners, LLC and Gamut Consulting, Inc., Case No.: 24253-08 (J.S.C. Janice A. Taylor).