Jury Award Given for Injury at Polo Match

Florida -- The Palm Beach Post carried a story on December 2, 2000 by Sanjay Bhatt about a jury award of almost $300,000 for an injury to an antique car show spectator when a horse from a neighboring polo match struck him:

A jury Friday awarded $295,390 to a Fort Lauderdale man run over by a polo pony at a 1997 Boca Raton car show.

The verdict came after nearly five hours of deliberations following an eight-day trial. The jury gave John Bartolini $45,390 for past and future medical expenses and $250,000 for pain and suffering, diminished quality of life and other intangible losses.

The award fell far short of the $800,000 to $1.6 million in non-economic damages sought by Bartolini, but still "shocked" Robert Geisler, the lawyer for Royal Palm Polo Sports Club, where the accident happened. Attorneys for both sides couldnít say late Friday whether they would appeal.

Bartolini, 80, spent five days in the hospital in February 1997 with a concussion, broken ribs and a separated shoulder after the accident. He was looking at a 1968 Buick Wildcat when a nearby polo pony, spooked by the loud engines, ran wild and knocked him over. In closing arguments Friday morning, Bartoliniís lawyer, Walter Postula, accused the polo club of being reckless and negligent for not putting up fences between the polo field and the car show or taking other precautions.

He also painted a picture of a strong father and husband whose quality of life had been destroyed by the accident.

"If a horse is worth $80,000, ladies and gentlemen, surely a man, a manís quality of life is worth 10 to 20 times the value of a horseís life," Postula said. Later, he said, "The only way that message will get to them is compensation."




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