ALBANY, NY-An Albany County Jury awarded $1,161,270.59 in compensatory damages Monday to an elderly Slingerlands couple for catastrophic injuries they sustained in a car accident which took place on July 17, 2013. Inquiries with the Albany County court reporters’ office and with the Office of the Supreme Court Clerk confirmed this is the first million-dollar verdict handed up in Albany County in at least the last 10 years.
Plaintiffs Ascenza and Joseph DeAngelis—who immigrated to this country from Italy in the 1950s to build a life and raise their family in the Capital District—were both taken via ambulance to Albany Medical Center from the scene in critical condition, after the defendant, Marion Parmenter, crossed over the double-yellow line into their northbound lane of travel on State Farm Road in the Town of New Scotland, and crashed head-on into their vehicle. As a result of the accident, Mrs. DeAngelis (then age 76) suffered a complex ankle fracture requiring surgery, a fracture of her humeral shaft (upper arm) requiring splinting and casting, an injury to her radial nerve, three broken ribs, and an 8-cm laceration on her forehead requiring stitches. Mr. DeAngelis (then age 85) sustained a severe 30-cm laceration on his head necessitating emergency repair with staples and stitches.
Attorneys George Szary and Luke Malamood, of the law firm of DeGraff, Foy & Kunz, LLP, represented the DeAngelis’ at trial. On Tuesday, Mr. Szary said that despite the ankle surgery, two weeks of hospitalization, three months of inpatient rehabilitation, and roughly 2 months of outpatient rehabilitation, Mrs. DeAngelis’ ankle and arm injuries have left her with “permanent disabilities which will cause her significant pain and limit her ability to walk and perform some of the most basic day-to-day activities for the rest of her life.”
Mr. Szary commended the jury for their patience during the course of the week-long damages only trial, which was presided over by Judge Richard Platkin, and for seeing through the various defense tactics aimed at minimizing the seriousness of the DeAngelis’ injuries, stating “the jury clearly was able to hone in on the reality that Mr. and Mrs. DeAngelis don’t get to change the channel when they’re fed up with how this horrific accident has left them—this is real life—and when the negligence of another results in the ruining of lives, there have to be real life consequences.”
“This is exactly what the civil justice system is designed for,” Mr. Malamood added, “lawsuits aren’t some get-rich-quick scheme, or something people should be ashamed of, they are the only recourse for personal injury victims whose lives can be flipped upside-down in the blink of an eye.”
Szary concluded that “while no amount of money will ever bring these lovely people back to the way they were on July 16, 2013, the $1,065,000 the jury awarded for past and future pain and suffering [and loss of consortium] will hopefully play a meaningful role in improving the quality of the years they have left … and it is the kind of verdict justice required."