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Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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nylj.gifWe are pleased to announce that our partner Ben Rubinowitz and his good friend and colleague Evan Torgan were recently featured in the New York Law Journal. For more than 10 years Ben Rubinowitz and Evan Torgan have been providing Expert Commentary in their column, “Trial Advocacy.” Often, Richard Steigman of Gair Gair Conason Steigman Mackauf Bloom and Rubinowitz contributes to these articles.

This month they wrote an influential article “Using the Internet as a Tool for Cross-Examination.” According to Rubinowitz, “It is common for Internet users to post status updates, personal comments, photographs, videos and tweets that quite often reveal their recent activities, whereabouts, activities and even their thoughts.” Rubinowitz explained the dangers of such conduct: “All of this information can be used as a tool for cross examination. It now becomes obligatory for lawyers to carefully check the Internet not only to dig up information on the witnesses they expect to cross examine but to check the Internet for content about their own clients as well.

Known as experts in the field of personal injury law, wrongful death cases, medical malpractice cases and products liability claims, Rubinowitz and Torgan have not only written numerous articles but each has obtained multiple million dollar awards for their clients.

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By Ernest R. Steigman

The Court of Appeals on February 17, 2011, in a 4 to 3 decision has just written an extremely interesting and important opinion (Kabir v. County of Monroe) regarding New York Vehicle & Traffic Law, Section 1104(e).

The Court held that the reckless disregard standard of care in V & T Law 1104(e) only applies when a driver of an authorized emergency vehicle involved in an emergency operation engages in the specific conduct exempted from the rules of the road by V & T Law 1104(b). Any other injury causing conduct of such a driver is now governed by the principles of ordinary negligence.

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Gloria Aguilar was awarded $27 million
Gloria Aguilar was awarded $27 million

The Appeals Court in New York, known as the Appellate Division, First Department, allowed a total damage award of 18.5 Million Dollars for a woman who lost her leg as a result of the negligence of a bus driver employed by the NYC Transit Authority. The injured woman, Gloria Aguilar, was injured when she was crossing the street in Manhattan. Her left leg was traumatically amputated. This award is the largest ever allowed in the country for this type of injury. Our Partner, Ben Rubinowitz , tried the case in New York Supreme Court and argued the appeal for the injured plaintiff. 2011 Slip Opinion 01117. The case has been widely reported throughout the country.

According to Ben Rubinowitz, ” Our firm is particularly well equipped and staffed to handle cases of this magnitude. We specialize in catastrophic personal injury cases. We are always willing to work harder than anyone else and take the case to verdict to make sure our client’s receive the best possible award. Richard Steigman wrote a powerful and compelling brief. I am delighted that the Appellate Court saw fit to allow this type of damage award. Ms. Aguilar suffered life changing injuries. She was a pedestrian crossing the street when she was struck by the bus. We prepared the case with extreme attention to detail and fully protected our client’s rights and interests. ” In describing his job as a Trial Lawyer, Ben Rubinowitz said, ” A Trial Lawyer must at all times fight for his client’s plight. If the offer to settle is insufficient, this firm is prepared to go the distance. We will not sleep until we achieve the best result we can. The Transit Authority’s offer was insufficient and we insisted on taking the case to verdict. ” GGCSMB&R has some of the finest lawyers in the field of Personal Injury. It is the only Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Firm with 10 Lawyers Listed in the Best Lawyers in America.

$27.5 million payout for mom who lost leg to bus, New York Daily News, April 17th 2009

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A guest who stayed at New York’s famous Waldorf Astoria hotel claims she was bitten multiple times during a 2007 visit. Svetlana Tendler, a doctor, is the third person to file a personal injury lawsuit against the storied hotel for bed bug related injuries, as reported by The Gothamist.

The suit is in the amount of $10 million for damages and plastic surgery to address scaring. Her lawyer claims the bites caused “a serious infection and significant prominent scarring.” The medication she received over the recovery period also resulted in a fungal infection of the face. According to the suit, Tendler spent the past 3 years trying to get the hotel to reimburse her medical costs in order to avoid a costly legal battle. All she received from the Waldorf was a letter asserting there were no bugs in her room.

in November, a Michigan couple also filed a bed bug lawsuit against the hotel.

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A New York jury has awarded a Cheektowaga woman $66 million after she was paralyzed by a exercise unit that toppled onto her. The upstate woman was working as a physical therapist six years ago when the weight machine fell on her, causing severe and permanent injuries. The judgement is believed to be the largest personal injury award in western New York State history.

The manufacturer of the exercise equipment, Cybex International, Inc., was the center of the trial and found to be responsible for $49.5 million of the judgment. Cybex vigorously denies any wrong doing, claiming the woman “pulled a Cybex weight machine over on herself” and is solely to blame. The 300kg weight exercise machine crushed the woman’s vertebra, leaving her a quadriplegic.

Cybex has already stated it’s intention to appeal. It claims that if the judgment stands, it will likely put Cybex into bankruptcy.

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We are proud to announce that Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, has named Robert L. Conason as the “New York Best Lawyers Personal Injury Litigator of the Year” for 2011.

After more than a quarter of a century in publication, Best Lawyers is designating “Lawyers of the Year” in high-profile legal specialties in large legal communities. Only a single lawyer in each specialty in each community is being honored as the “Lawyer of the Year.”

As a premier trial attorney, Mr. Conason constantly emphasizes the dedication and individualized attention each case demands and every injured person deserves. Accordingly, in terms of the volume of cases accepted, he has advanced the firm on the philosophy that “less is more” and assists in the careful selection of only the most serious and substantial personal injury cases. He has said, “My satisfaction comes from knowing that absent a successful recovery of a claim, our clients wouldn’t have the ability to secure appropriate medical care and equipment, economic freedom and the ability to live a dignified life.”

Best Lawyers compiles its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. The current, 17th edition of The Best Lawyers in America (2011) is based on more than 3.1 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers.
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In Patricia Ross v. Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Decided August 12th, 2008, The Second Department held that where The Court vacated the plaintiff’s note of issue but did not dismiss the case the plaintiff was not required to show the existence of a reasonable excuse and a meritorious cause of action in order to have the matter restored to the trial calendar. The Court reasoned as follows;

“Contrary to the defendant’s contention, the plaintiff was not required to show the existence of a reasonable excuse and a meritorious cause of action in order to have this matter restored to the trial calendar. Although the Supreme Court purportedly vacated the note of issue pursuant to 22 NYCRR 202.21(e), vacatur under that court rule is warranted only with respect to actions which are not ready for trial or where “it appears that a material fact in the certificate of readiness is incorrect, or that the certificate of readiness fails to comply with the requirements of [that] section in some material respect” (id.). Here, the note of issue was vacated solely by virtue of the fact that the “[p]laintiff’s attorney fail[ed] to appear 2 times” at the call of the trial calendar. Accordingly, the plaintiff, in moving to restore the action to the trial calendar, was under no obligation to submit an affidavit of merit or to show “the reasons for the acts or omissions which led to the note of issue being vacated,” since such submissions are required only in connection with “[m]otions to reinstate notes of issue vacated pursuant to” § 202 of the Uniform Rules for Trial Courts (22 NYCRR 202.21[f]). Further, since the plaintiff moved to restore the action to the trial calendar within one year of the date it was stricken, restoration was automatic (see Kohn v Citigroup, Inc., [*2]29 AD3d 530, 532; Brannigan v Board of Educ. of Levittown Union Free School Dist., 307 AD2d 945; Basetti v Nour, 287 AD2d 126, 133-134).

Moreover, after the matter was stricken from the trial calendar, it was not dismissed, but rather designated as “inactive.” Since the matter was not dismissed due to the plaintiff’s failure to appear at a compliance conference (see 22 NYCRR 202.27; Dergousova v Long, 37 AD3d 645), or for any other reason, there was no requirement that the plaintiff submit an affidavit of merit or an explanation as to why the case was removed from active status. Hence, the Supreme Court did not err in restoring the action to active status (id.; cf. Lopez v Imperial Delivery Serv., 282 AD2d 190), regardless of the sufficiency of the plaintiff’s affidavit of merit or explanation as to why the matter was marked inactive.”

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In Tirado V. Elrac Inc., U-Haul Co., Inc. decided August 5, 2008, The First Department reversed the order of the Supreme Court granting U-Haul’s motion for summary judgment and granted plaintiffs cross motion to amend his Complaint and held the amendment related back to the original date of filing of the initial complaint thus avoiding application of The Graves Amendment. The facts were as follows;

” Plaintiff alleges that on November 9, 2004, while a passenger in a car driven by defendant Litzey and owned by defendant Elrac, he sustained injuries when their vehicle was struck by a truck owned by U-Haul Co., Inc. (UHI) and operated by defendant McFarlan. The truck in question bore Arizona registration number AB24019 and was apparently owned by U-Haul Co. of Arizona (UHAZ). ”

“On July 29, 2005, plaintiff filed a verified complaint, naming Elrac, Litzey and McFarlan as defendants. Believing that the rental truck was owned by UHI, plaintiff sued that entity, claiming vicarious liability for the negligent use or operation of the vehicle. UHI was served on August 26, 2005, by service on the New York Secretary of State, and an additional copy was mailed to UHI at 2727 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Arizona. On October 7, 2005, U-Haul Co. of New York (UHNY) filed an answer in lieu of UHI, presuming it was the intended defendant.”

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From The New York Law Journal, Thursday, July 31, 2008;

Our partner, Ben Rubinowitz, and Evan Torgan, a member of Torgan & Cooper,” write that too often, trial lawyers use demonstrative exhibits only in the one part of the trial during which the exhibit is offered – usually direct examination. Although a strong point can be made during direct, with a good amount of planning and a little bit of creativity, that exhibit can serve to bolster your point throughout the entire trial and, more importantly, serve as your surrogate during the one part of the trial when you are not present – jury deliberations.”