• WEATHER ALERT Severe Thunderstorm Warning

Girl paralyzed in crash to get $26M

December 3, 2008 6:02:39 PM PST
The family of a girl left paralyzed after a car accident caused by a drunken driver leaving a New York Giants game will receive a $26 million settlement. The amount of the settlement had been sealed until Wednesday, when a state appellate court overturned a lower court's decision and allowed it to be released.

The panel's decision brings an end to the lawsuit filed by the family of Antonia Verni of Cliffside Park, who was paralyzed from the neck down as a 2-year-old in 1999.

The family sued Aramark, the stadium's concessionaire, claiming that employees continued to serve beer to Daniel Lanzaro of Cresskill after he was visibly intoxicated and slurring his speech. Lanzaro was judged to have a blood alcohol level of 0.226, more than twice the legal limit at the time, after the accident.

A Bergen County jury awarded the Verni family $105 million in 2005, but that ruling was reversed on appeal the following year.

The parties reached a settlement last year before the case went back to court, but the agreement was sealed.

According to Wednesday's decision, Antonia Verni, now 11, and her mother, Fazila, sought to keep the settlement private because of concerns over how the girl's estranged father, Ronald, handled funds received from earlier settlements with other defendants.

The family reached separate settlements with the Giants, the NFL and Lanzaro for a total of about $1.2 million, according to David Mazie, an attorney representing Antonia and Fazila Verni.

The $25 million settlement with Aramark represents about 90 percent of the compensatory damages awarded in the initial $105 million jury verdict, Mazie said. The remainder of the original award was for punitive damages.

"It's a great deal from our perspective," he said. "She needed to get the appropriate care, and this will more than take care of her for the rest of her life."

David W. Field, an attorney representing Philadelphia-based Aramark, did not return an after-hours message seeking comment Wednesday.

----
Click here for New York and Tri-State News

Report a typo || Send a story idea || Send news photos/videos
Follow us on Facebook || Twitter New York News || Twitter Breaking News



Load Comments