Parlin man gets $750G verdict for injuries at amusement arcade

By KEN SERRANO – Staff writer – January 7, 2009

MIDDLESEX COUNTY —A 53-year-old Parlin man was awarded $750,000 by a jury in Superior Court, New Brunswick for injuries from a fall he contended happened after he tripped on an arcade game at Funtime America in Cliffwood Beach.

Bruce Salem said he was at the indoor amusement park in June 2004 for the birthday of a neighbor’s child when his own child had to use the restroom. As he was walking with him, he turned around a blind corner and tripped over a game called Spyromania, said his attorney, Richard Galex of North Brunswick.

Salem suffered a broken nose and severely injured his neck, Galex said. The injury required the removal of two discs in his neck and the fusing together of vertebrae, Galex said.

But Funtime America contended that it was Salem’s pre-existing health condition, a mild form of muscular dystrophy, that caused his problem, Galex said.

Dennis Marconi, a Trenton attorney who represented Funtime America, declined comment other than to say he has already filed papers for an appeal.

The jury assigned Salem 25 percent of the liability in the incident. The award was for $1,048,500: $81,000 for medical expenses, $960,000 for pain and suffering and $7,500 for his wife for the impact on her life.

Galex said Salem now uses a walker and at times uses a four-pronged cane to get around. He was on disability at the time of the accident, but now works as an employee recruiter, Galex said.

The jury verdict came last month after a four-day trial before Judge Phillip Paley and a day of deliberations.

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