It's a tough day for Dustin Dibble, who says he was so drunk he doesn't remember being run over by an N train in the Union Square subway station in April of 2006. A jury awarded him $2.3 million last year, deciding that the motorman had plenty of time to stop the train when he spotted Dibble, 25, lying on the tracks 180 feet away, but kept moving because "he thought it was garbage." Well, today's verdict from the state Appellate Division rips that theory to shreds.
The court ruled that "the jury's determination that the accident could have been avoided was based on nothing more than a series of estimated stopping distances that incorporated purported average reaction time." Expert witness Nicholas Bellizzi, a professional engineer, had testified that "had the train operator put the train into emergency when he first saw what he described as debris, the train could have stopped before striking [Dibble]."
But the appeals court dismissed his testimony as "impermissible speculation" and ruled that it's highly probable that the debris train operator Michael Moore first spotted was in fact debris, and he was following procedure by slowing down and not stopping. Dibble "was found with his severed foot beside him 40 feet into the station, that is, 40 feet from where Moore testified he first saw the debris." Anyway, you can read the whole verdict here for yourself at your leisure, but the bottom line is that Dibble, who had to have his right leg amputated, just saw a couple million dollars blow away. Bloomberg must be psyched!