News and Insights

Black Marjieh & Sanford News and Insights

Congratulations to Black Marjieh Partner Jim Lofrese on obtaining a defense verdict from a Kings County jury in a motor vehicle case.

Congratulations to Jim Lofrese on obtaining a unanimous defense verdict in the Kings County case of Williams v. Attiyeh and Zipcar which involved an April 2013 “bicycle vs minivan” intersection accident. Zipcar member Sabrina Attiyeh was operating a Honda Odyssey Minivan eastbound on Lafayette Avenue in Brooklyn when she collided with a bicycle operated by plaintiff Elijah Williams. Plaintiff entered the intersection from a northbound direction on Lewis Avenue.  Lafayette is a one-way street with two lanes for eastbound traffic and parking on both sides of the street.  Lewis has one lane of northbound traffic with parking on both sides of the street. The intersection is controlled by two overhanging “red/yellow/green” traffic control devices. 

Attiyeh testified that she was in the left eastbound lane of Lafayette and entered the intersection between 20 mph and 30 mph with a steady green traffic signal.  There were two cars to her right proceeding in the same direction – one slightly ahead of her and one slightly behind her.  She further testified that the plaintiff entered the intersection from her right, going between the two vehicles to her right, and directly in front of her vehicle. She braked and veered to her left but was unable to avoid striking the rear wheel of the plaintiff’s bicycle with the front license plate area of her vehicle.

Plaintiff testified that his last recollection was of seeing the light go from green to yellow just after he entered the intersection. He did not recall the impact. Plaintiff was ejected from his bicycle and sustained a fractured left orbit with a concussion.  He also alleged a herniated cervical disc, multiple bulging cervical discs, and various residual from his injuries. Plaintiff was not wearing a helmet. Plaintiff’s theory of the case was that Attiyeh ran a red light and even if the light was not red, she had a reasonable opportunity to avoid striking plaintiff and failed to do so. 

After a powerful cross-examination of the plaintiff and hearing testimony from Attiyeh, the Kings County jury credited Attiyeh’s version of the accident and returned a unanimous defense verdict.  Congratulations to Jim on a job well done.

Robert Leff