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Couple Rear-ended by Rye, New York Officer Loses Award

Thursday, January, 7, 2016

An arbitrator’s award of $650,000 to a New York Couple rear-ended by a police officers was recently rejected by a state Supreme Court judge.


The accident occurred in 2012 and included injuries. The couple filed their original lawsuit against Detective Joseph Verille and the Rye police department after Verille, traveling north in an unmarked police vehicle on Interstate 684 rear-ended the couple’s vehicle. The man was taken to an area hospital, and both the man and woman later filed their suit, which was sent to arbitration.


The arbitrator determined an award of $650,000 based on several back injuries and a concussion, as well as ongoing problems with anxiety. The man remains limited in his employment capacity.


In response, the city appealed the award. State Supreme Court Justice Mary Smith claimed the arbitrator made his decision without hearing arguments from the defendants. She further stated the officer and the city of Rye wanted to have live testimony from the four experts, which included a medical expert, but the arbitrator stated he never had live testimony at his arbitrations.


Attorneys familiar with the case point out it is rare to have arbitration decisions overturned. However, the judge felt the arbitrator failed to do his job. The couple’s attorney called the judge’s decision “irrational and bizarre,” and pointed out that documentation is used in arbitration, and live testimony is reserved for a trial. He further points out the city was unprepared from the start and never really wanted the issue settled in arbitration.