Stephen Toner Wins Defense Verdict in Kings County
On April 5, 2016, Stephen Toner won a defense verdict on liability in Supreme Court, Kings County in the case of Mashni v. Faye, Index No. 22226/2010. The plaintiff claimed that his limousine was parked and “t-boned” by the defendant’s taxi. The plaintiff alleged that he sustained herniated discs in his neck and back, and that he ultimately underwent a lumbar spinal fusion surgery with insertion of rods and screw into his lumbar spine. Mr. Toner argued that defendant was free from negligence because of the “Emergency Doctrine;” i.e. the collision occurred because the taxi changed lanes to avoid an unidentified mystery car that had swerved into its lane. Unfortunately, the defendant driver had returned to Senegal and did not testify at trial. Nonetheless, Mr. Toner was able to convince the Court to allow him to read the defendant driver’s pre-trial deposition to the jury, thus establishing his defense. Despite which, the trial Court still gave the jury the “missing witness” charge against the defendants before the jury began their deliberations. Mr. Toner also called into question the plaintiff’s version of the accident circumstances, as they contradicted the Police Accident Report prepared at the scene of the collision; as testified to by the responding Police Officer. The jury returned a verdict after 25 minutes of deliberations finding that the defendant was not negligent, and dismissed the plaintiff’s Complaint.