Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Rozinsky v. Assurance Company of America

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 7, 2017

VALERY ROZINSKY, Plaintiff,
v.
ASSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Richard D. Bennett, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Valery Rozinsky (“Plaintiff” or “Mr. Rozinsky”) has brought this one-count breach of contract action against Defendant Assurance Company of America (“Defendant” or “Assurance”), seeking uninsured/underinsured motorist (“UIM”) benefits under a motor vehicle insurance policy issued by Assurance to his former employer, Milhouse, LLC d/b/a Edible Arrangements (“Edible Arrangements”). Mr. Rozinsky has filed this claim in connection with an October 22, 2012 automobile accident, in which he was seriously injured while driving a work van owned by Edible Arrangements. See Compl., ¶¶ 1-12, ECF No. 2. The parties agree that Mr. Rozinsky is entitled to UIM benefits as he was not at fault in the accident, and the other driver causing the accident had limited insurance coverage. It is further agreed that Mr. Rozinsky has incurred a total of $16, 774.15 in medical expenses as a result of the accident and that he was out of work for approximately two years after the accident. Mr. Rozinsky lived and worked in Maryland at the time of the accident, but has since moved to Florida and now operates his own fingerprinting, drug testing, and medical testing company. Although he continues to feel pain in connection with his accident injuries, it does not interfere with his work, and the pain is limited to his left arm and neck. The parties have stipulated that Assurance is liable to Mr. Rozinsky for UIM benefits under the Milhouse, LLC d/b/a “Edible Arrangements” policy. Accordingly, this case proceeded to a one-day bench trial before this Court on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 on the issue of damages alone, at which time this Court heard the testimony of two witnesses: Mr. Rozinsky himself and Kathy Stone, Mr. Rozinsky's expert in “vocational assessments, ” who testified that Mr. Rozinsky is no longer employable as a result of his accident injuries.

         For the reasons stated herein, and by stipulation of the parties, this Court now concludes that Defendant Assurance Company of America is liable to Plaintiff Valery Rozinsky under the Milhouse, LLC d/b/a “Edible Arrangements” uninsured/underinsured motorist (“UIM”) policy. Accordingly, Judgment shall be entered in favor of Mr. Rozinsky as to his claim for breach of contract. As to damages, the only contested issue before this Court, this Court concludes that Mr. Rozinsky has suffered economic damages in the total amount of $73, 272.55 as a result of his October 22, 2012 accident, including stipulated medical expenses of $16, 774.15 and an undisputed $56, 498.40 in lost wages over the approximately two years following the accident. Although Mr. Rozinsky has sought an additional $149, 093.00 for future lost wages, that shall not be awarded. This Court is not persuaded by the testimony of Kathy Stone that Mr. Rozinsky is no longer employable. On the contrary, he has in fact been employed as a fingerprint technician since September of 2014 and now operates his own fingerprinting, drug testing, and medical testing company. He has testified that his work, which includes packing and unpacking fingerprinting gear, transporting his gear, traveling to meet customers, and guiding customers through the fingerprinting process, does not aggravate his accident injuries.

         Additionally, this Court shall exercise its discretion to award non-economic damages for Mr. Rozinsky's pain and suffering as a result of the accident in the amount of $236, 205.00. Although he is employable, it is undisputed that Mr. Rozinsky's injuries have reached maximum recovery and that he will continue to experience some pain for the rest of his life. Therefore, Assurance Company of America is liable to Plaintiff Valery Rozinsky in the total amount of $309, 477.55.

         Pursuant to Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the following memorandum constitutes this Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Mr. Rozinsky filed this action in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Maryland, but Assurance has removed this case to this Court based on diversity of citizenship, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. See Notice of Removal, ECF No. 1. Initially, Mr. Rozinsky brought a second count against Assurance, jointly with his wife, Galina Rozinsky, alleging loss of consortium in connection with the same accident and his subsequent injuries. Compl., ¶¶ 13-14, ECF No. 2. However, this Court has subsequently dismissed Court Two and, accordingly, has dismissed Galina Rozinsky as a party in this action with prejudice. See March 4, 2016 Mem. Opinion and Order, ECF Nos. 14 & 15; Rozinsky v. Assurance Co. of Am., No. RDB-15-02408, 2016 WL 927147, at *1 (D. Md. Mar. 4, 2016). Additionally, prior to trial, Assurance moved to exclude the expert opinion testimony of Kathy Stone, Mr. Rozinsky's vocational assessments expert, under Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. See Mot., ECF No. 27. This Court denied that motion via Memorandum Opinion and Order dated July 21, 2017 (ECF Nos. 30 & 31) although, as discussed herein, this Court ultimately finds Ms. Stone's testimony unpersuasive. This case proceeded to a one-day bench trial before this Court on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 as to the amount of damages owed by Defendant Assurance Company of America to Plaintiff Valery Rozinsky under the Milhouse, LLC d/b/a “Edible Arrangements” uninsured/underinsured motorist (“UIM”) policy.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         Having conducted a one-day bench trial on August 1, 2017, having heard the testimony of Plaintiff Valery Rozinsky and Kathy Stone, Mr. Rozinsky's expert witness in “vocational assessments, ” and having considered the documentary evidence submitted by the parties, this Court makes the following findings of fact:

         Plaintiff Valery Rozinsky (“Plaintiff or “Mr. Rozinsky”) was born on November 16, 1956 in the country of Moldova-at that time a republic of the former Soviet Union. Trial Tr., p. 9. He received what he has characterized as a “high school” education in that former Soviet republic and worked for a number of years in a state-operated shoe factory before joining the military, where he remained for two years and attained the rank of Sergeant. Id. at 10-11. At the conclusion of his military service, Mr. Rozinsky continued to work as a shoemaker. Id. Then, between 1989 and 1990, he immigrated to the United States by way of Vienna, Austria and Rome, Italy. Id. at 11. Mr. Rozinsky is now an America citizen. Although he lived and worked in Maryland at the time of the accident discussed herein, he now resides in the state of Florida with his wife, Galina Rozinsky. Id. at 12, 37. Mr. Rozinsky is now sixty years old, although he was fifty-five at the time of the accident.

         Upon arriving in the United States, Mr. Rozinsky worked as a painter for two years, from approximately 1990 to 1992. Id. at 12. In that time, he painted “[h]ouses, buildings, fence[s], whatever [he had] to paint.” Id. He then worked for about 14 to 15 years as a taxi cab driver for the Yellow Cab and BWI Cab companies, often taking on “side jobs” in construction after airport traffic slowed in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Id. at 13. In 2006, Mr. Rozinsky left his work as a cab driver to open his own contracting business. Id. He completed a wide range of small construction jobs, including kitchen and bathroom remodeling, tiling, painting, wall moving, and wall installation. Id. That business closed as the economy slowed in late 2008, after which time he began working as a driver for Milhouse, LLC d/b/a Edible Arrangements (“Edible Arrangements”). Id.

         On October 22, 2012, Mr. Rozinsky was completing a delivery for Edible Arrangements when another car struck his vehicle. Id. at 14. That other vehicle was driven by a man named Paris David, Sr., and it is undisputed that Mr. David was at fault in the accident. At that time, Mr. Rozinsky was driving a van owned by Edible Arrangements, and the impact of the collision caused the van to tip over onto its left side. Id.; Photographs of Accident Scene, Ex. 1. Emergency responders cut the van's windshield to remove Mr. Rozinsky from the vehicle and transported him to a hospital. Id. at 14-16. Mr. Rozinsky suffered chest pain after the accident, although that pain went away after six months. Id. at 17. Additionally, he experienced swelling and tingling in his left hand, pain in his left arm and shoulders, and neck pain. Id. at 17, 19-20. Despite physical therapy, cortisone treatments, and several epidural shots, Mr. Rozinsky still feels pain to this day. Id. at 17-18. Although doctors have given him the option of a complex spinal surgery that could potentially alleviate his symptoms, he has declined Id. at 18. It is undisputed that, absent surgery, Mr. Rozinsky's injuries have reached maximum recovery and that he will continue to experience some pain for the rest of his life, although he manages that pain with medication.

         The parties have stipulated that Mr. Rozinsky incurred a total of $16, 774.15 in medical expenses as a result of injuries sustained in the October 22, 2012 accident. See Stipulation of Fact, No. 1; Trial Tr., pp. 21-22. Additionally, Mr. Rozinsky's treating physicians did not permit him to return to work until after August 16, 2013, almost one year after the accident, and only then on “light duty, ” meaning “no lifting greater than 5 lbs and no prolonged head and neck positioning.” See Physician Orders, Ex. 20.[1] The parties have stipulated that Mr. Rozinsky's average weekly wages at the time of the accident were $560.50. See Stipulation of Fact, No. 3. When Mr. Rozinsky did finally return to work after August 16, 2013, Edible Arrangements did not have any “light duty” work available. Trial Tr., pp. 34, 37; Stipulation of Fact, No. 5. Accordingly, around that time, Mr. Rozinsky and his wife moved to Florida, where his wife found a job working as a nurse. Id. at 37-38.

         Mr. Rozinsky remained unemployed for the entire year following his August 16, 2013 authorization to return to work on “light duty.” Finally, in September of 2014, Mr. Rozinsky began working as a fingerprint technician, initially as a contractor for a fingerprinting company. Id. at 38-41; Stipulation of Fact, No. 8. That job included collecting information from customers, rolling their fingers on an electronic device, and submitting their information and prints to various government agencies for review. Trial Tr., p. 38. Additionally, Mr. Rozinsky was required to transport his fingerprinting equipment, including a laptop, scanner, power supply, and small camera, in a suitcase to and from various locations. Id. at 39-41; Photographs of Gear, Exs. 22A-C. He has continuously worked as a fingerprint technician since September of 2014 and is currently self-employed in that capacity. Stipulation of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.