After a seven week jury trial in Manhattan, construction workers Ryszard Kruzynski and Krzystof Belzek were awarded verdicts of $4,250,000 (Kruzynski) and $6,125,000 (Belzek) for their pain and suffering for brain damage they sustained as a result of their exposure to lead fumes during demolition work at New York City's Grand Central Terminal.
After trial, though, the judge granted the defendants' motion to vacate the verdict and he ordered a new trial on the ground that plaintiffs' closing argument was prejudicial and that the damages awards were excessive. He found that the closing argument was so prejudicial that the defendants didn't get a fair trial (and therefore the issue of the amount of damages wasn't addressed by the trial judge).
Yesterday, an appeals court reversed the trial judge's finding and issued its decision in Wilson v. City of New York holding that plaintiffs' attorney's comments about the defense medical expert, while improper (he was called a hired gun, a charlatan and a con artist) did not create a climate of hostility that so obscured the issues as to have made trial unfair.
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