Jury awards Amsterdam woman $47K for two lost fingers

A jury awarded more than $47,000 on Wednesday to an Amsterdam woman who lost two fingers after her c

A jury awarded more than $47,000 on Wednesday to an Amsterdam woman who lost two fingers after her client turned on a lawn mower four years ago.

Pending any post-verdict motions or an appeal, Anna L. Baran will receive a total of $47,300 for pain and suffering, permanent injury, medical expenses and lost wages.

Baran, who operates a lawn maintenance and snow removal business, filed the lawsuit in 2009 after having two fingers chopped off and a third finger cut June 7, 2007.

According to the complaint filed in the case, Baran’s customer, Zenovia M. Rucky, came outside that day while Baran was mowing her grass and said she wanted the lawn to be cut shorter.

Baran released the handle of the lawn mower and the safety lever and went to adjust the height of the mower, but Rucky grabbed the handle and safety lever, reactivating the engine.

Baran noticed that the mower didn’t stop and tried to get Rucky’s attention, but it was too late, according to the suit.

“Simultaneous with the plaintiff noticing that the defendant had grabbed the mower handle, her hand slipped into the range of the rotating blade and two fingers [index and middle] were severed from her right hand and the ring finger was lacerated,” states the suit, filed by attorney Gerard DeCusatis.

no malicious intent

The suit alleged Rucky “just stood there and watched as the plaintiff realized she was cut and did not offer any assistance, nor did she call for assistance.”

Baran walked with her hand bleeding down the road to her home and called for help.

DeCusatis said later Wednesday no malicious intent was suggested — Rucky was in her mid-80s at the time of the incident.

DeCusatis said the award seemed a bit low considering Baran lost business, as well as some use of her hand.

The award is still pending, DeCusatis said, as Rucky has a right to appeal the verdict and post-verdict motions may be made.

Rucky’s attorney, Joseph D. Giannetti, said later Wednesday a decision has not yet been made on whether to file an appeal or make any motions.

Court Clerk Timothy Riley said a jury of eight people, including two alternates, was chosen Tuesday at the outset of the trial and attorneys made final arguments Wednesday morning.

The jury awarded Baran $8,000 for pain and suffering, $32,000 for permanent injuries and $7,300 for medical expenses and lost wages, Riley said.

Neither Baran nor Rucky have listed phone numbers and could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Categories: Schenectady County

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