Practice Area: Wrongful Death
Outcome: $19.2 million dollar verdict for Plaintiff
Description: The wife of an New Jersey Transit employee who died in 2002 of a job-related lung disease was awarded $19.2 million yesterday by a Superior Court jury in New Brunswick. Catherine Fuccilli of Freehold, the widow of Roger Fuccilli, will receive the compensation from New Jersey Transit, Central Railroad of New Jersey and Consolidated Rail Inc., according to William Levinson and Barry R. Eichen of the Edison law firm of EICHEN LEVINSON & CRUTCHLOW LLP. Roger Fuccilli was a railroad car repairman for New Jersey Transit for 18 years. Before that, he was employed by Central Railroad of New Jersey for about 18 months. In the course of his duties, his attorneys said, he engaged in welding, sanding, painting and repairing brakes using asbestos and silica products in addition to breathing metal dust and welding fumes exposing him to materials that caused him to be diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in June 2000. Roger Fuccilli, the father of four grown children including a 23-year-old son who is autistic, died in 2002 of pulmonary fibrosis, which Levinson said has a strangulation effect. During the last two years of his life, Roger Fuccilli had to be put on an oxygen supply and during his last six months he was in the hospital on a respirator, Eichen said. The award followed a five-week trial in the courtroom of Ann McCormick and seven and a half hours of deliberations that started on Tuesday. The jury, the attorneys said, awarded $4.1 million for the pain and suffering Roger Fuccilli endured before he died and another $15.1 million for his wrongful death. The panel found New Jersey Transit responsible for 50 percent of the award, Central Railroad of New Jersey for 7 percent and Roger Fuccilli for 8 percent. The jury found Consolidated Rail Inc. was 35 percent responsible, however, that company settled for an undisclosed amount before the trial, and will compensate Catherine Fuccilli based on that confidential settlement, according to Levinson and Eichen. The attorneys for New Jersey Transit and Central Railroad of New Jersey were not available for comment. Copyright (c) Home News Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.