A woman who sustained multiple spinal injuries in a head-on crash agreed to a $1.6 million settlement in her Monmouth County suit, Cardamoni v. Brian’s Auto Center, on March 25.
Kathleen Cardamoni was driving west on Atlantic Avenue in Wall Township on Dec. 19, 2018, when she collided with an oncoming vehicle driven by Brian Riccio II. Riccio—who was in the course of his employment with Brian’s Auto Center, a car dealership owned by his father—was driving a high-powered Dodge Viper that belonged to the dealership, according to Cardamoni’s lawyer, Norman Hobbie of Hobbie, Corrigan & DeCarlo in Eatontown.
Riccio, then 21, was driving the Viper for the first time, and was traveling at 60 mph in a 45-mph zone when he lost control of the vehicle and crossed the center line, according to Hobbie.
Cardamoni, then 63, sustained multiple fractures and herniations to her lumbar spine, and required a two-level lumbar fusion, Hobbie said. She also sustained a closed-head injury that led to cognitive problems, fear, anxiety and sleep disturbances after the crash, he said. She missed a year from her job as a pharmacist’s assistant but has returned to work, he said.
Cardamoni’s suit sought compensatory and punitive damages. Lawyers for Riccio and for the car dealership maintained that he lost control of the car because of defects in the road surface, Hobbie said.
The settlement of $1.6 million was reached on March 25, during mediation with Thomas O’Brien, a former Superior Court judge who is now with Bathgate, Wegener & Wolf in Lakewood.
Nicholas Buttafuoco of MacDonald & Herforth in Jersey City, and Daniel Newman, a solo practitioner in Voorhees, who represented Ricco and Brian’s Auto Center, did not return calls about the case.
— Charles Toutant
$450K for Pedestrian Fall
Walsh v. Omkara Auto Repair: A Middlesex County case filed by a woman who sustained a fall on black ice in Piscataway settled on April 4 for $450,000
On March 11, 2018, Stacy Walsh was walking home from Walgreens when she slipped on the icy driveway apron of an auto repair shop.
According to her attorney, Paul Caliendo, Walsh crossed Lakeview Avenue at the intersection of South Washington, passing directly in front of Omkara Auto Repairs. As she walked along the sidewalk, it appeared to be clear of ice and snow.
Caliendo, of Gill & Chamas in Woodbridge, described the circumstances of the fall: “As she was walking with a full backpack and a plastic grocery bag in her hand, she was looking in the direction she was walking and watching the cars at the upcoming intersection when her right foot slipped to the right, down the apron and the full weight of her body fell on her left foot and leg.”
Caliendo stated that “Ms. Walsh was transported via ambulance to St. Peter’s Hospital in New Brunswick and underwent surgery.”
The Omkara Auto Repair business where the accident took place is owned by Rajan Modhawdia. The property on which his business operates is owned by his brother, Girish Modhawdia, under the business name Guredeva Realty LLC.
The defendants were represented by Thomas J. Decker of Wade Clark Mulcahy in Springfield. Decker could not be reached.
No lease for the property is in place between the two companies. Neither the auto repair business nor the realty company had any recollection of treating the property with salt or de-icer before March 11, 2018, Caliendo said.
The slip and fall occurred on a Sunday morning at around 11 a.m. when the business was closed. According to Caliendo, “Neither Defendant can recall the last time they were at the property and neither recalls being at the property on the day of this incident.”
The snow had fallen days before Walsh walked along their sidewalk. The engineer testifying for the defense argued that ice had formed on the apron as a result of a “refreeze event and it was not feasible and unrealistic to continually maintain a surface clear of ice.” He further cited the township ordinance “required abatement 8-24 hours after the formation of ice and as such the defendant’s conduct was reasonable and not negligent.”
On April 4, mediation with Kenneth J. Grispin, a retired Superior Court judge with Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, resulted in a settlement in the amount of $450,000.
— Colleen Murphy