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OCASIO RUIZ et al v. IMC CARIBE et al Complaint

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Case 3:11-cv-01516-JAG Document 1
Filed 06/03/11 Page 1 of 14
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO
RAMONITA OCASIO RUIZ, IVONNE M. LOPEZ OCASIO Plaintiffs v. IMC CARIBE/AIRPORT AVIATION SERVICES INC., US AIRWAYS, AUTORIDAD DE LOS PUERTOS DEL ESTADO LIBRE ASOCIADO DE PUERTO RICO, SECRETARIO DE JUSTICIA, ACE INSURANCE COMPANY, PROPERTY & CASUALTY INS. CO., MARISET COLON AND THE LEGAL CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP COMPRISED WITH HER HUSBAND JOHN DOE, RUDY VELAZQUEZ AND THE LEGAL CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP COMPRISED WITH HIS WIFE JANE ROE, COMPANY XYZ, INSURANCE COMPANY ABC, JOHN DOE Y JANE ROE Defendants FOR: DAMAGES Civil No.
PLAINTIFFS DEMAND TRIAL BY JURY
COMPLAINT
TO THE HONORABLE COURT: Come now, Plaintiffs RAMONITA OCASIO RUIZ, IVONNE M. LOPEZ OCASIO, by the undersigned attorney and respectfully allege and pray: JURISDICTION AND VENUE 1. This Court has jurisdiction of this action under 28 U.S.C. §1332 for diversity of citizenship because the amount in controversy exceeds the sum of $75,000.00 Dollars. 2. Venue is proper in this district under 28 U.S.C., § 1391 and 1400(a).
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PARTIES 1. Plaintiff RAMONITA OCASIO RUIZ is an individual of legal age, single and resident of 229 Avenue A, Apt 211 Rochester, New York 14605. 2. Plaintiff, IVONNE M. LOPEZ OCASIO, is an individual of legal age, divorced, daughter of plaintiff Ramonita Ocasio and resident of 17673 Jamestown Way, Apt. D, Lutz, Florida 33558. 3. Upon information and belief, Defendant IMC CARIBE / AIRPORT AVIATION SERVICES INC. is a corporation incorporated under the laws of Puerto Rico, Registry #29070 – 111, and during all times herein mentioned was authorized to operate at the San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. 4. Upon information and belief, Defendant US AIRWAYS is a corporation that is incorporated under the laws of Arizona, having its principal place of business in Arizona, and during all times herein mentioned was authorized to operate at the San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín Airport. 5. Defendant, the government of the ESTADO LIBRE ASOCIADO DE PUERTO RICO has the capacity to sue and be sued, and jointly liable for tortious acts committed by its agencies and dependencies. 6. Upon information and belief, Defendant AUTORIDAD DE LOS PUERTOS is a government agency of codefendant ESTADO LIBRE ASOCIADO DE PUERTO RICO
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and during all times herein mentioned, was the entity in charge of supervising operations at the San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. 7. Upon information and belief, Defendant ACE PROPERTY & CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, INC. is a corporation and/or legal entity organized and existing under the Laws of the state of Puerto Rico or one of the United States, and during all times herein mentioned, was authorized to do business in Puerto Rico, having issued an insurance company in favor of one or more of the codefendants in this case. 8. Upon information and belief, defendant MARISET COLON is a person, married, of legal age, resident of Puerto Rico, with a Legal Conjugal Partnership with her husband John Doe, who at all times alleged here in the complaint was an employee of defendant Airport Aviation Services. 9. Upon information and belief, defendant RUDY VELÁZQUEZ is a person, married, of legal age, resident of Puerto Rico, with a Legal Conjugal Partnership with his wife Jane Roe, who at all times alleged here in the complaint was an employee of defendant Airport Aviation Services. 10. Upon information and belief, Defendant COMPANY XYZ is the fictitious name of a corporation and/or legal entity organized and existing under the Laws of the state of Puerto Rico or one of the United States, and during all times herein mentioned, was authorized to do business in Puerto Rico, and jointly liable to plaintiffs for its own negligence or vicariously for the negligent acts of other codefendants, or for its breach of duty of care whose names and identities are unknown at this moment, but as soon as these names are obtained through discovery the complaint will be amended in accordance with Federal rules and Local District Rules.
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11.
Upon information and belief, Defendant INSURANCE COMPANY, ABC is the fictitious name of a corporation and/or legal entity organized and existing under the Laws of the state of Puerto Rico or one of the United States, and during all times herein mentioned, was authorized to do business in Puerto Rico, having issued an insurance company in favor of one or more of the codefendants in this case, whose names and identities are unknown at this moment, but as soon as these names are obtained through discovery the complaint will be amended in accordance with Federal rules and Local District Rules.
12.
Upon information and belief, Defendant JOHN DOE Y JANE ROE are the fictitious names of any person that during all times herein mentioned, was jointly liable to plaintiffs for their own negligence or vicariously for the negligent acts of other codefendants, or for their breach of duty of care whose names and identities are unknown at this moment, but as soon as these names are obtained through discovery the complaint will be amended in accordance with Federal rules and Local District Rules. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
13.
On June 4, 2010, Plaintiff Ramonita Ocasio Ruiz (hereafter Mrs. Ocasio) arrived in Puerto Rico from Rochester, NY, on US Airways flight 1568, Ticket #CYN4Y0 in order to enjoy the graduation of her grandson.
14.
Mrs. Ocasio is a diabetic whose health condition and advanced age qualifies her as a special needs traveler who normally uses a cane to walk and requires the use of a wheel chair at airports.
15.
After arriving at Luís Muñoz Marín International Airport, Mrs. Ocasio was wheeled out of the US Airways aircraft on a wheelchair by a US Airways crew member, who later helped the plaintiff board a golf cart that was waiting at the gate entrance to the aircraft.
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16.
Mrs. Ocasio was transported on the Golf Cart towards the baggage area when she was met by Airport Aviation Services, Inc. employee Ms. Mariset Colón (hereafter Ms. Colón).
17.
Plaintiff Mrs. Ocasio had no choice in the matter of who was to help her exit the terminal and meet with her family.
18.
Ms. Colón helps Mrs. Ocasio exit the golf cart and onto a wheel chair and proceeds to push the wheelchair until arriving at a revolving door that exited the terminal’s gates and accesses the airport baggage area.
19.
On the other side of the revolving door waited Mr. Rudy Velázquez (hereafter Mr. Velázquez), another Airport Aviation Services employee.
20. 21.
The revolving door was rotating on its own at a considerable speed. Ms. Colón then instructs Mrs. Ocasio to stand up from the wheelchair, and walk through the revolving door without any assistance whatsoever and without the benefit of her cane.
22.
Almost immediately upon entering the rotating door, Mrs. Ocasio was struck by one of its “spokes” or panels, causing her to fall inside the rotating door.
23.
After the impact, Mrs. Ocasio reached for a hand hold or something to hold on to to avoid a fall but nothing was present. She fell to the floor. The door kept rotating with Mrs. Ocasio
24.
Ms. Colón then abruptly and forcefully grabbed Mrs. Ocasio and lifted her on her feet, asking if Ms. Colón was all right and advising her to go home and apply some Ben-Gay cream on her wounds.
25.
Only now, after the fall, does Ms. Colón help Mrs. Ocasio through the rotating door to the other side, handing the plaintiff over to Mr. Velázquez.
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26.
Ms. Colón failed to inform Mr. Velázquez that Mrs. Ocasio had been struck by the door and consequently fallen to the ground.
27.
Mrs. Ocasio informed Mr. Velázquez that she was suffering great pain, and when she began explaining how she was truck by the door, Ms. Colón suddenly interrupted the statement and tried to cover up the truth by telling Mr. Velázquez that the only thing that had happened was Mrs. Ocasio’s hand having been stuck at the rotating door.
28.
Ms. Colón then informed Mr. Velázquez that she had to leave because she was in a hurry to return to the gates to assist other travelers.
29.
Neither Ms. Colón nor Mr. Velázquez called for medical assistance to check on Mrs. Ocasio’s condition.
30. 31.
Mr. Velázquez then escorted Mrs. Ocasio on a wheelchair to the baggage claim area. Mr. Velázquez calls plaintiff Ivonne López (hereafter Mrs. López) on the phone, in order to coordinate a place where to release Mrs. Ocasio from US Airways and Airport Aviation Services’s custody and care.
32.
Mrs. López informed Mr. Velázquez that her son, Ebik Torres (Mrs. Ocasio’s grandson, hereafter Mr. Torres), would pick her up at the airport.
33.
Mr. Velázquez then told Mrs. López that according to Mrs. Colón, Mrs. Ocasio’s hand had gotten stuck at a rotating door. He further stated that he had not witnessed the incident.
34.
Mrs. López then calls her son, Mr. Torres, informing him on the information received from Mr. Velázquez and on where Mrs. Ocasio could be picked up.
35.
Mr. Torres arrived at the specified location to pick up Mrs. Ocasio.
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36.
Upon pick up, Mr. Velázquez tells Mr. Torres that he should take Mrs. Ocasio to a doctor to have her had checked out because it had gotten stuck at a rotating door.
37.
Mrs. Ocasio then tells her grandson, Mr. Torres, the truth of hat had occurred: that she was instructed to pass through the rotating doors without assistance and had suffered a fall after being struck by the rotating door.
38.
Mr. Torres then questioned Mr. Velázquez, who reiterated that he did not witnessed what had occurred and had only stated what Mrs. Colón had told him.
39.
Mr. Torres then calls his mother, plaintiff Mrs. López while in the presence of Mr. Velázquez, to inform her that Mrs. Ocasio had been struck by a door and fallen and that her hand may be fractured because it was purplish and heavily swollen.
40.
At this time, nobody employed by US Airways or Airport Aviation Services had requested medical assistance for Mrs. Ocasio.
41.
Mr. Angel Rojas, a friend of plaintiff Mrs. López, called US AIrways 1-800 phone number to request assistance for the Mrs. Ocasio’s condition and was told by operator 3W that Mrs. Ocasio should be taken to the US Airways service counter at the terminal.
42.
Mrs. López then calls her son, Mr. Torres and tells him to report the incident at the US Airways service counter.
43.
Mr. Velázquez did not assist Mrs. Ocasio and Mr. Torres because he stated that hand he was in a hurry to leave because his shift had ended. He took the wheel chair with him because he had to return it to US Airways.
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44.
Neither US Airways nor Airport Aviation Services, nor Autoridad de los Puertos provided Mrs. Ocasio with a wheel chair on which cover the considerable distance to the service counter, forcing her using her cane while being supported by her grandson, Mr. Torres.
45.
Upon arriving at the US Airways counter, Mr. Torres was told by US Airways employee Ms. Irene, that there was a line and that she was extremely busy. She instructed MR. Torres to take his claim to Airport Aviation Services supervisor, Ms. Brenda Pagán (hereafter Ms. Pagán).
46.
Mr. Torres then proceeded to take Mrs. Ocasio before Ms. Pagán, who was the first person to request medical assistance for Mrs. Ocasio. Two hours had already passed since the incident at the rotating door.
47.
Paramedics arrived to treat Mrs. Ocasio, who expressed that she was suffering pain on her hips, back and right hand. Her hand was swollen.
48.
The paramedics limited their treatment to a simple triage and interview of the patient, placing Mrs. Ocasio’s arm in a sling and instructing Mr. Torres to seek X-Rays and medical attention at the Puerto Rico Medical Center.
49.
After the paramedics left, Mr. Torres and Mrs. Ocasio were met by Mrs. López ad Mr. Rojas.
50.
Mrs. Ocasio stated she was not feeling well and had a lot of pain. She had cold skin. She had not eaten for a while. Being that she was a diabetic, she was taken to buy some food at the airport prior to being taken to the hospital.
51.
A police officer then arrived and filled a police report, numbered 2010-02-216 01225.
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52.
An agent from Autoridad de los Puertos also filled a report stating that it would have the same 2010-02-216 01225 identification number as the police report.
53.
Mrs. Ocasio was taken by her daughter and Mr. Rojas to the Puerto Rico Medical Center, where she was treated by Dr. Saúl Irizarry (hereafter Dr. Irizarry), who ordered X-Rays and treated the patient.
54.
Dr. Irizarry diagnosed Mrs. Ocasio with a fracture on her right hand (close distal radio fracture), performing a reduction and setting of the bone. A cast was placed and Mrs. Ocasio was released after being referred to an orthopedist for an appointment the following week.
55.
After arriving at Mrs. Lopez’s home an deciding to bathe Mrs. Ocasio, plaintiffs noticed that she had bruises on her leg, hip, and knee.
56. 57.
Mrs. Ocasio complained of pain and suffering on her back, neck and wrist. On June 9, 2010, Mrs. López took Mrs. Ocasio to an orthopedist at the Puerto Rico Medical Center.
58.
Mrs. Ocasio was then treated by Dr. Santiago and Dr. Jiménez, who explained that Mrs. Ocasio required surgery on her fractured hand, but even with surgery, she would not recover full mobility of the right hand.
59.
Mrs. López then took her mother to Dr. Rojas in Caguas for a second opinion because Mrs. Ocasio was a diabetic with high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and had previously suffered allergies on sutures utilized in a prior surgery. Mrs. Ocasio is also a cancer survivor, having been subjected to a massive mastectomy that rendered her left arm useless. Mrs. López she feared that surgery might be prejudicial.
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60.
Dr. Rojas indicated that any surgery had to be performed as close as possible to the date of the fracture and that even with surgery , 100% mobility would never be established. He further stated that due to the patient’s age and health condition, it would be reasonable to treat Mrs. Ocasio without having to perform an invasive procedure.
61.
Dr. Rojas recommended leaving a cast for 8 weeks, after which rehabilitation therapies were to commence.
62.
Being that even with a surgery, Mrs. Ocasio would never regain full mobility of her hand, and after weighing the possible risks of surgery and the high probability of complications, plaintiffs decided against an invasive procedure and opted to follow Dr Rojas’s recommendations.
63.
As a result of all of the above, Mrs. Ocasio could not return to Rochester, NY on the scheduled June 19, 2010 flight, remaining under the care of her daughter, Mrs. López.
64.
As a result of the wounds received, Mrs. Ocasio was also diagnosed with a compression fracture on her back (Lumbar L1 vertebrae).
65.
Mrs. Ocasio has since been subjected to over 28 therapies for her hand and back which have not culminated.
66.
Plaintiffs have had to cover many of the medical costs for the treatment of the injuries suffered by defendants tortious acts.
67.
These medical costs covered visits to doctors, medicines, and orthopedic equipment as well as hired personnel to help bathe and care for Mrs. Ocasio.
68.
Mrs. López is a disabled woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer on October of 2010.
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69.
Even with her medical condition, Mrs. López had to cancel many medical appointments related to her own cancer condition in order to care for her mother, Mrs. Ocasio.
70.
Plaintiffs have contacted US Airways, Airport Aviation Services and ACE Insurance in an attempt to reach an extrajudicial settlement for damages suffered but to no avail.
71.
US Airways representative Ms. Sanders keeps telling plaintiffs to direct their claims to Airport Aviation Services.
72. 73.
Airport Aviation Services denies any wrongdoing. To this day, plaintiffs continue to suffer pain and mental anguish resulting from defendants’ tortious acts.
CLAIM FOR RELIEF: DEFENDANTS ARE JOINTLY LIABLE TO THE PLAINTIFF FOR DAMAGES UNDER ARTS. 1802 AND 1803 CIVIL CODE OF PUERTO RICO, 31 L.P.R.A. SEC. 5141 and 5142 74. Plaintiffs adopt by reference and incorporate herein all previous paragraphs of this complaint. 75. US Airways was negligent for breaching the duty owed to Mrs. Ocasio, a special needs traveler, regarding her safety and well being. 76. US Airways is vicariously liable for any tortious acts or omissions incurred by its employees in the breach of the duty owed to Mrs. Ocasio. 77. US Airways was negligent for trusting the safety and well being of one of its special needs passengers to a third party, to wit, Airport Aviation Services, without providing any supervision of the latter’s treatment of passengers. 78. US Airways was negligent in the manner in which it failed to address plaintiffs’ claims at the airport and further failed to contact medical personnel to treat Mrs. Ocasio’s injuries.
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79.
Airport Aviation Services was negligent in the manner in which it failed to properly supervise its employees at all times when Mrs. Ocasio was under its custody and care.
80.
Airport Aviation Services is vicariously liable for the manner in which its employees were negligent in the handling of Mrs. Ocasio when she was ordered to pass through a revolving door without any assistance whatsoever and for employees’ failure to timely contact medical personnel to treat Mrs. Ocasio.
81.
Airport Aviation Services was negligent for not providing or securing a wheelchair for Mrs. Ocasio after the incident when she was taken by her grandson to the US Airways service counter to make a claim.
82.
Defendant Ms. Maysonet was negligent when ordering Mrs. Ocasio to walk through a revolving door without any assistance, in the manner in which she picked up the plaintiff from the floor after the fall, in the manner in which she lied to Mr. Velázquez regarding the truth of what had happened, and the manner in which she rapidly dumped Mrs. Ocasio on Mr. Velázquez without having contacted any medical personnel for treatment of Mrs. Ocasio’s injuries.
83.
Defendant Mr. Velázquez was negligent for not questioning Mrs. Colón on what had happened to Mrs. Ocasio, for not contacting medical personnel to treat the injuries suffered by plaintiff Mrs. Ocasio, and for taking away the wheel chair Mrs. Ocasio was using, forcing her to walk in pain to the US Airways service counter.
84.
Autoridad de los Puertos was negligent for not providing a safe way from which a passenger in a wheel chair can exit the gate terminal to the baggage claim area the day of the events.
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85.
Autoridad de los Puertos was negligent for allowing patients who need a wheel chair or a cane to walk through a rotating door.
86.
Autoridad de los Puertos was negligent for not properly supervising Airport Aviation Services’ operations at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.
87.
Autoridad de los Puertos was negligent for not providing enough wheel chairs at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport for use of its patrons.
88. 89.
All defendants are jointly liable for the tortious acts alleged herein. Plaintiff Mrs. Ocasio has suffered pain and mental anguish as a consequence of defendants tortious acts. Mrs. Ocasio suffered severe pain during and after the fall. Mrs. Ocasio has lost full mobility of her dominant hand and her lifestyle has change dramatically, for she now is in need of constant assistance to tend for even the most simple tasks like cooking, bathing and getting dressed. Mrs. Ocasio has to receive physical therapy for her hand and back. Mrs. Ocasio can no longer visit a center for the elderly on a daily basis as she used to.
90.
Mrs. Lopez suffered pain and mental anguish as a result of seeing her mother suffer. Mrs. Lopez’s lifestyle was changed when she had to suddenly take care of her mother immediately after the incident and in the process, was forced for 8 months to miss most of the medical appointments for her cancer treatment. As a consequence, her cancer deteriorated and she moved to Tampa, Florida to receive surgery.
91. 92.
These damages are estimated at $750,000 for Mrs. Ocasio and $500,000 for Mrs. López. All defendants are jointly liable for damages resulting from the tortious acts alleged herein. JURY DEMAND
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93.
Plaintiffs demand trial by jury. PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for judgment against the defendants and requests that his Honorable Court find them to have acted negligently as alleged herein and order defendants to compensate plaintiffs with the sum of $750,000 to Mrs. Ocasio, $500,000 to Mrs. López, and that defendants be ordered to pay costs and attorney’s fees as provided by law, plus any other relief as may be granted RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED. In San Juan, Puerto Rico, this 3rd day of June, 2011.
s/FREDDIE O. TORES GÓMEZ USDC No. 226409 Tulipán 170, Urb. San Francisco San Juan, PR 00927-6221 Tel.: 753-4712 / Fax: 274-0191 E-MAIL: ftorres151@gmail.com
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