Bronx jury delivers unanimous defense verdict in favor of automobile owners

Belkis Bejaran v. Lourdes Perez and Maria Perez, Supreme Court, Bronx County, February 16, 2012

Following a two-day summary jury trial in Supreme Court, Bronx County, before the Honorable Yvonne Gonzales, AGF&J obtained a unanimous defense verdict on behalf of clients, Maria Perez and Lourdes Perez.

The case involved a pedestrian versus motor vehicle accident that occurred on August 25, 2004 at the intersection of 149th Street and Grand Concourse in Bronx, New York. As a result of the accident, plaintiff claimed a rotator cuff tear of her right shoulder that required a right shoulder laser arthroscopy and injury to her cervical spine and lumbar spine.

Plaintiff testified she was crossing the intersection when she was struck by a vehicle operated by a dark skinned male wearing an orange safety/construction-type vest. The police accident report indicated that the vehicle that struck the plaintiff was “possibly red Toyota N.Y. Registration # CWU-5439.” The plate number matched the defendants, Maria and Lourdes Perez’s, red Toyota.

Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the vehicle involved in this accident was owned by the defendants based upon the identification of the license plate number at the scene, as well as the color and make of the vehicle. Plaintiff’s counsel further alleged that the vehicle was operated with the permission and consent of the defendants.

Associate Dennis J. Monaco argued at trial that the license plate was misidentified and that the clients’ vehicle was not involved in this accident. The only evidence linking the defendants to this accident was the description and license plate of their vehicle in the police report, which, without more, was insufficient to prove that the defendants were negligent for the happening of the plaintiff’s accident.

Defendant, Maria Perez, testified that she was the owner and sole operator of the red 1992 Toyota Corolla. She had possession to both sets of keys. She testified that at the time of this incident she was working and did not operate her vehicle at or near the intersection of 149th Street and Grand Concourse. She indicated that she had never permitted any other individual to borrow the vehicle or operate it.

Most significantly, Ms. Perez denied being involved in the subject accident and specifically, striking the plaintiff at the aforesaid location with her vehicle. Ms. Perez affirmed that she was not contacted by the New York City Police Department or Bronx District Attorney’s Office about the plaintiff’s accident.

The jury rendered a unanimous defense verdict based upon the issue of liability. The jury found that defendants’ vehicle did not contact the plaintiff, Belkis Bejaran. The jury did not deliberate on the issue of damages.