A jury awarded $45.2 million to a brain-damaged philanthropist and her family who sued an East Harlem mall where two youths tossed a shopping cart onto her head.
The Manhattan Supreme Court jury took just three-and-a-half hours to reach its colossal verdict after a month-long trial, in which lawyers for Marion Hedges argued that East River Plaza mall and Planned Security Services didn’t do enough to keep her safe.
“It’s been a long, long road,” said Hedges, who clapped after the verdict. “This nightmare hopefully will end.”
They plan to give some of the award to the nearby Johnson Community Center to help teenagers.
“We want to help Harlem kids have a chance to do something besides throw a shopping cart on a boring Sunday afternoon,” Hedges said.
Hedges, 53, was buying Halloween candy for needy kids with her son on Oct. 30, 2011, when two boys, who were 12 at the time, threw a shopping cart from a fourth-floor walkway.
“I found out in the hospital, doctors coming in said to me, ‘You should have died. You were dead,’ ” Hedges testified. “I didn’t know what to say.”
“I saw a shopping cart over to the left,” said her son, 19-year-old Dayton, when he took the stand.
“I went to pick her up,” said Dayton, who was only 13 at the time, “and she was just covered with blood.”