One Sunday, plaintiff, then twenty-seven years of age, was returning home from church services with her two children, a daughter then, 3 1/2 years of age and son, then 2 1/2 years of age, accompanied by her mother, then 62 years of age. The group proceeded along Buhrem Avenue in Bronx County and came abreast of defendants’ one-story taxpayer building. At this point, the infant daughter walked ahead, necessitating her mother’s ‘catching up’ to ensure that she did not go near the street. On the top of defendant’s building was a brick parapet approximately seven feet in height and one hundred feet long. This parapet had been observed to be leaning outward toward the sidewalk for a period of at least six months prior to the accident. The falling of this parapet wall occasioned the accident.
A doctor said that, plaintiff testified that she turned around to see how far her mother and son were behind, and heard her son asking for a cookie. Her mother stopped and reached into her bag to get him a cookie. Then plaintiff turned back to her daughter and heard a loud roar. When she turned around, she saw bricks were falling and hit the side of her body. She ran over and saw her mother and son under the bricks. A bystander rushed to aid plaintiff and the fallen victims and through his intervention plaintiff was able to remove her son, who was moaning, from the debris. He took plaintiff and her son to the hospital. Plaintiff, holding her injured son on her lap in the back seat of the vehicle, had for the first time a chance to look at his body. She testified that ‘his legs were hanging off at the sides. He had a little sun suit on, so it was very clear to me what I saw. I went to push his legs back on but I was afraid they would fall off. And as I did so I grabbed his shoes and saw that his ankles were the same way his thighs were’. Plaintiff’s son died on the evening of the same day from cardiac arrest following surgery necessitated by the previous personal injuries he sustained. The personal injuries sustained by plaintiff’s mother were severe, including comminuted compound fractures of the legs, pelvis, and ribs, a severe avulsion laceration of the scalp, and a spinal cord trans-section at about the middle of her back which paralyzed her from that point down. She was conscious with some intermittent periods of unconsciousness, and underwent two operations not under anesthesia. Plaintiff’s mother died as a consequence of her spinal injuries on May 19, 1970.
A Lawyer said that, after trial the jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff’s son’s father as administrator of the deceased infant in the amount of $150,000 for wrongful death and $25,000 for conscious pain and suffering. The trial court reduced the award for wrongful death to $40,000 and for conscious pain and suffering to $5,000. The jury verdict in favor of plaintiff’s father, the surviving spouse o plaintiff’s mother, in his capacity as administrator of her estate in the amount of $75,000 for wrongful death and $25,000 for conscious pain and suffering was not disturbed.