Chernin v. NYC Transit Authority
Judge Katherine Levine
Chernin plaintiffs sought a unified trial arguing it was necessary to produce medical evidence as to the injuries Mikhail sustained in order to prove New York City Transit Authority's liability. They claimed a doctor must opine the injuries Mikhail sustained could only arise from a "certain quantum of force" for plaintiffs to prove the jolt of the subway car caused Mikhail's injuries. The city argued the norm was for trials to be bifurcated, contending plaintiffs failed to demonstrate the "unequivocal need for a unified trial." The court found the nature of Mikhail's injuries had an important bearing on the question of liability, and the medical evidence regarding the nature of his injuries was necessary to corroborate his version of how the accident occurred. The court ruled, according to precedent, that plaintiffs' expert may develop the nature and extent of Mikhail's injuries as they related to the liability aspect of the case in a bifurcated trial. Thus, it denied plaintiffs' motion in limine for a unified trial, but granted their request that their expert be allowed to testify about the nature and extent of Mikhail's injuries as they relate to the sudden force and jolt of the subway during the liability phase of the trial.