Court Upholds $18.7 Million Verdict for Client Seriously Burned in Apartment Fire



$16 Million of Award for Pain and Suffering — the Largest Affirmed Jury Verdict in New York State’s History

May 22, 2014

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK — The law firm Georgaklis & Mallas PLLC has announced that the Court of Appeals of the State of New York has upheld a jury verdict obtained by the firm’s Partner and Senior Trial Attorney, Kostantinos Mallas, Esq., in the amount of $18,681,323.19 on behalf of a client who was badly burned in an apartment fire. Of said amount, $16 million was awarded for pain and suffering — the largest affirmed pain and suffering jury verdict in the history of New York State jurisprudence. The balance was awarded for past and future medical bills.

On July 1, 2003, the plaintiff, Christopher Peat, was refinishing a floor in an apartment in the Fordham Hill complex. While applying lacquer on the floor, the pilot light on the kitchen stove ignited the lacquer and engulfed Mr. Peat in flames for over 6 ½ minutes. Mr. Peat suffered second- and third-degree burns over 50% of his body. Mr. Peat underwent more than 15 surgeries and extensive physical and occupational therapy. He also received psychiatric treatment for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

On June 5, 2012, a Bronx County Supreme Court jury found the Fordham Hill Owners Corporation, the management company for of the condo complex, liable for Mr. Peat’s injuries and that said management company failed to shut off the gas before Mr. Peat began refinishing the floor. The defense filed an appeal with the Appellate Division, First Department. Nevertheless, on October 31, 2013, the First Department affirmed the jury’s verdict. On May 13, 2014, the Court of Appeals refused to hear the case by denying defendant’s motion for leave to appeal, thus putting an end to this case.

Kostantinos Mallas was asked to try this case by the Law Firm of Bournazos and Matarangas, the attorneys of record for Mr. Peat, due to Mr. Mallas’ extensive experience with fire cases.

“We are pleased to learn that the verdict has been upheld,” said Kostantinos Mallas of Georgaklis & Mallas, PLLC. “We were able to prove that the building’s managers were responsible for Mr. Peat’s horrific injuries. Contrary to the defendant’s assertions, it was not Mr. Peat’s fault that this incident occurred. We are also happy that the New York Appellate Court did not disturb the Jury’s verdict and affirmed the entire award. We hope this award will help Mr. Peat in his life as he struggles with the aftermath of this horrific incident.”

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FOR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION CONTACT: John Zaher (631) 207-1057, ext. 8 or Hank Russell (631) 207-1057, ext. 4