Header graphic for print

New York Civil Litigation Review

New York’s Highest State Court Tells NYC To Improve Roadway Safety

Posted in Municipal Liability

The majority of blog posts about automobiles concern luxury car design, 007 movies, electric cars, or NASCAR racing. Traffic law and roadway planning/maintenance, the automobile’s much less popular counterparts, are conceivably not as often discussed. However, it is these counterparts that have been responsible for the safety of human life on the roads each and every day since mass production of the automobile replaced travel by foot and animal in the early twentieth century. Recently, in Turturro v. City of New York, et al., New York’s highest state court opined on the importance of traffic law and roadway safety, while delivering a clear message to the City of New York to make greater efforts to improve roadway safety. Continue Reading

Post-Verdict Defense Judgment Dismisses $11 Million Dollar Verdict In Asbestos Litigation!

Posted in Asbestos

gavelCongratulations to trial counsel, Robert S. Deutsch and Nancy L. Pennie, and post-trial motion authors, Nancy L. Pennie, Elliott J. Zucker, and Oded Burger, on a post-verdict dismissal of all personal injury claims against their client. The defense successfully established that plaintiffs’ experts impermissibly based their causation opinions on invalid assumptions and therefore lacked proper foundation. As a result, the trial judge struck plaintiffs’ experts’ unsupported causation opinions and rendered a defense judgment vacating an $11 Million verdict. A copy of the decision and order is available on the court’s website.



New York’s “Good Samaritan Law” and the Use of AEDs

Posted in General Liability, Health Law

The ancient parable of the “Good Samaritan” — exemplifying one who voluntarily assists a stranger (or even an enemy) in imminent danger without expectation of reward — remains a powerful and honored concept and one that has been statutorily codified within the New York Public Health Law to protect volunteers who render emergency medical assistance. Continue Reading

No fiduciary breach without respondeat superior

Posted in HIPAA/Confidentiality

The Court of Appeals, in a 6-1 decision arising from a certified question from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has held that an upstate health clinic is not liable for the confidentiality breach that occurred when one of its nurses revealed to a patient’s girlfriend, via a text message, that he had a sexually transmitted disease.  However, it should be noted that in Doe v Guthrie Clinic the nurse at question was the sister-in-law of the girlfriend.  This appeared to be ‘the’ compelling factor for the Court of Appeals, that found that the employee-nurse was not acting in and for the employer’s benefit, and thus no respondeat superior, but rather was driven by personal reasons given the familial relationships of the parties.


Accordingly, this holding should be viewed as ‘fact-specific’ and not the general rule in such situations.


New York County Judge Rules Against the Joint Trial of Asbestos Cases

Posted in CPLR, Toxic Torts

Within a recent decision, Judge George Silver of Supreme Court, New York County, held that since not all asbestos plaintiffs are created equal, the joint trial of several, bundled asbestos lawsuits is not axiomatic — as the plaintiffs’ bar would have it — but rather needs to be established in each individual case. In doing so, the judge struck a balance between the policy in favor or judicial economy and the defendant’s right to a fair and impartial trial. Continue Reading

Begining of the End for Medicaid Liens?

Posted in Medicaid News

As recently reported, the United States Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Delia v. EMA (briefs can be found here) on the issue of States recovering Medicaid expenses from the proceeds of a medical malpractice settlement. Continue Reading

First Department Finds That Quantification of Environmental Contaminants Necessary for Plaintiff To Survive Summary Judgment:

Posted in Toxic Torts

In Cleghorne, et. al. v. The City of New York, et. al., 2012 NY Slip Op. 06648 (1st Dept., October 4, 2012), the Appellate Division, First Department, dismissed Plaintiffs’ claims, granting summary judgment to the Board of Education of the City of New York (Board of Ed.), because Plaintiffs’ expert failed to quantify Plaintiffs’ exposure to allergens, which allegedly caused her asthma and because Plaintiffs’ expert failed to specify what level of exposure in general would cause the disease. Continue Reading

New York Courts Continue to Deem Social Networking Sites Discoverable

Posted in e-Discovery and Social Media, Media and the Law

As reported in the New York Law Journal, more and more New York courts have applied a liberal standard to the discoverability of a plaintiff’s social media information in personal injury or medical malpractice claims.  How significant can a plaintiff’s social media information be to a case?  In Romano v. Steelcase, a case venued in Suffolk County, the plaintiff’s MySpace and  pages proved to be crucial. Continue Reading

Wrongful Death Suit Tossed for Staten Island Man Killed by Pit Bulls

Posted in General Liability

Recently, a Staten Island judge found that the City had no “special duty” to protect a dog bite victim and held the City not liable for damages to the family of a 90-year-old man who died as a result of injuries by two dogs.

Recently, Staten Island Supreme Court Judge Thomas Aliotta dismissed a $7 million lawsuit against the City filed by the family of a 90-year-old man who was killed by two dogs in Port Richmond.  In doing so, he ruled that the City had no “special duty” to protect Henry Piotrowski from the dogs that eventually killed him, even though several 911 calls were made about the unleashed dogs, and that “Absent a special relationship, a municipality may not be held liable for injuries caused by a breach of a duty owed to the public at large, e.g., to provide police protection.”

To the public eye, this may seem unjust; however, an analysis reveals and brings an understanding to the end result. Continue Reading