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Personal Injury Verdicts & Awards

$12.6 Million Given Crash Victim

TIMES LEADER - WILKES-BARRE, PA

County Jury Award Biggest Ever Here

By MARY THERESE BIEBEL
Staff Writer

WILKES-BARRE - A $12.6 million settlement - the highest ever in Luzerne County Court - was awarded to Linda Ann Cappellini Friday afternoon as compensation for injuries she received in a 1982 automobile accident.

Ms. Cappellini, 26, formerly of West Wyoming, and now of Scotsdale, Ariz., said Friday she did not know how she would use the money.

"To tell the truth, I haven't really thought about it yet," she said.

"I am so thrilled for my daughter's sake. It's overwhelming," said Mrs. Edolo Cappellini, of 665 Florida Ave. West Wyoming. "I know she'll be taken care of for the rest of her life."

A number of jurors on the nine-man, three-woman jury which returned the record-setting verdict embraced Ms. Cappellini as they filed out of the courtroom Friday afternoon.

They said they based their decision on the testimony about her physical pain, mental anguish and loss of earning power.

"Everybody as a person felt sympathy for the plaintiff but the testimony really did it for us," said juror Jeff Rozelle, 23, of Swoyersville.

Doctors testified during the trial that Ms. Cappellini, who is employed as a pharmacist in Phoenix, Ariz., will probably have to stop working in three years due to complications from her injuries.

She testified Thursday that she must often miss work due to pain from her injuries.

Economists testified that she stands to lose more than $3.5 million in salary and benefits which she could earn as a pharmacist by age 65.

Doctors also testified at the trial that she can no longer participate in the sports she enjoyed before her accident - swimming, skiing, racquetball and basketball - and will not be able to deliver children naturally.

The doctors said that she will someday face hip replacement surgery.

According to the jurors, the $12,608,028 they awarded with the verdict, breaks down to:

$13,028 for loss of earnings to date.
$3.5 million for future impairment of earning capacity.
$1,300,000 for past and future physical pain.
$2,525,000 for past and future emotional distress.
$270,000 for loss of pleasures of life.
$3 million for inconvenience, discomfort and embarrassment.
$2 million for disfigurement and scarring.

Ms. Cappellini sustained hip, pelvic, and knee injuries when an automobile driven by Michael S. Kasuga of 294 N. Pleasant Valley Road, Gales Ferry, Conn., struck her car Oct. 18, 1982 on Route 115 near the Holiday Inn.

Defendants in the lawsuit were Kasuga and Nuclear Energy Services Inc., his employer; G.K. Technologies Inc., owner of Nuclear Energy Services and Budget Rent-A-Car of West Chester Inc., the company which rented the car Kasuga was driving.

Luzerne County Judge Arthur Dalessandro, who heard the case, said the four defendants can divide the cost of the settlement however they see fit.

Defense attorneys Patrick Dougherty, Hugh Mundy and Joseph Murphy could not be reached for comment Friday.

Dalessandro attributed the size of the verdict to the expertise of Ms. Cappellini's attorneys, Joseph Quinn, Anthony Falvello and Thomas Helbig.

"In all my years I've never seen a more perfectly tried case," Dalessandro said.

The judge said that the lawyers for the plaintiff presented 102 exhibits during the trial including doctors' reports, anatomical charts, hospital records and charts from economists concerning Ms. Cappellini's potential earning power.

Dalessandro said Friday's verdict was the largest ever returned in the history of Luzerne County.

Other verdicts surpassing $1 million have been awarded in Luzerne County.

Lucy McDonald, of 167 Johnson St., Pittston, was awarded $4 million from the federal government Jan. 31, 1983 as compensation for suffering paralysis due to a swine flu shot administered in its 1976 swine flu program.

In September of 1981, a verdict of $1.875 million was awarded to Aline Richardson of Hazleton as compensation for the death of her husband, Roy, which was attributed to malpractice at Hazleton State General Hospital.

Both cases were tried by Mr. Quinn.

PLEASE NOTE: Every case is fact specific, and these results do not guaranty the same results will be obtained in a different case.

About Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn, PC

Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn is considered one of the top civil litigation and commercial law firms that has had the privilege of representing more families in the courtroom than any other NEPA firm. The attorneys at HKQ Law have been honored as Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms by US News and World Reports, and have received the AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbel. HKQ Law was recently recognized for one of the top 20 Verdicts in Pennsylvania.

The firm’s Personal Injury Team, led by Attorney Joe Quinn, Jr., has won some of the largest verdicts and settlements in the region's history, totaling over a half billion dollars on behalf of injured clients. The Personal Injury Team focuses on a wide array of personal injury claims and civil litigation, including medical malpractice, auto and truck accidents, aviation accidents, unsafe vehicles, dangerous or defective products, workplace injuries (worker's compensation), construction site accidents, claim denials by insurance companies, dangerous drugs, defective children's products, nursing home abuse and neglect, and falls due to unsafe conditions (slip and fall).

Attorney Joseph A Quinn, Jr. is one of only 100 attorneys in the United States (and one of only three in Pennsylvania) honored with membership in the Inner Circle of Trial Advocates, and one of only 500 attorneys worldwide chosen to be a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has been a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer every year since the program began and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America every year since the publication was established in 1987. Best Lawyers also named him top personal injury attorney for Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley. In addition, Best Lawyers, in conjunction with U.S. News & World Report, has designated HKQ a Tier 1 Best Law Firm for personal injury and medical malpractice litigation in Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.

Since the inception of the firm, the Commercial / Corporate Team led by Attorney Allan Kluger has provided comprehensive, integrated legal services to many of Northeastern and Eastern Pennsylvania's largest corporations, businesses, banks, non-profits and institutions, handling matters involving labor and employment, wills, trusts and estate planning, estate administration, elder law, commercial transactions, residential and commercial real estate, zoning, land use and development, telecommunications, mediations and arbitrations, commercial litigation, title insurance, business planning and business succession, corporate/business structuring, employment discrimination law for employers, banking, creditor’s rights, finance, lender liability defense, covenants not to compete, construction law, mergers and acquisitions and other business matters.

Additional information can be found at www.HKQLaw.com or by calling (800) 760-1529.

				

 

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