A Manhattan jury on Wednesday awarded $27.5 million to a woman who lost her left leg after a New York City Transit bus ran over her while it was turning a corner two blocks from her apartment in 2005.
The woman, Gloria Aguilar, 45, who had to have her leg amputated and has worn a prosthetic leg ever since, cried when the verdict was announced. She then thanked some members of the jury who had heard the nearly seven-week trial in Manhattan Supreme Court, her lawyer, Ben Rubinowitz, said on Thursday.
“I think she feels vindicated,” Mr. Rubinowitz said in a telephone interview. “The transit authority went after her, calling her a liar. The problem that she has, it’s a lifelong injury, and whenever she looks down, she’ll have a constant reminder.”
The lawyer for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, John Woodruff, made a motion to the judge, Paul G. Feinman, immediately after the verdict, arguing that the award to Ms. Aguilar was excessive. But Justice Feinman let the verdict stand, Mr. Rubinowitz said.
The transit agency plans to appeal the verdict, according to Wallace Gossett, a lawyer for the agency who did not try the case. “This is just a jury verdict,” Mr. Gossett said in a brief interview. “The appellate courts won’t sustain a verdict of this magnitude.”
Mr. Gossett pointed out that the jury found Ms. Aguilar negligent for not looking when she crossed the street. But the jury also found, according to Mr. Rubinowitz , that both New York City Transit and the bus driver, Andrew Monaco, had been negligent, and that their negligence was 100 percent responsible for Ms. Aguilar’s injury.
Charles Seaton, a spokesman for the transit agency, said only that the case was being appealed.
In recent months, juries have awarded three other plaintiffs in personal injury cases against New York City Transit a total of about $11 million, but the agency is appealing all of them, Mr. Seaton wrote in an e-mail message.
In the case involving Ms. Aguilar, one of the main issues was whether she had been in or outside the crosswalk when she was hit, at 50th Street and 10th Avenue on Nov. 4, 2005. The transit agency contended that she had walked into the path of the bus.
Mr. Rubinowitz said he had shown how the wheel, with its 40,000 pounds of weight, crushed a portion of Ms. Aguilar’s lower left leg, from just above the ankle to below the knee, although the foot was not damaged. Ms. Aguilar’s leg was amputated at Bellevue Hospital Center.
Two weeks later, Mr. Rubinowitz said, doctors had to perform another operation to amputate her leg to the groin, because of infection. She has been unable to work since then, he said.
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