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.
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On July 31, 2012, our partner, Christopher L. Sallay, was granted summary judgment in a New York Construction accident case pursuant to §240(1) of the New York State Labor Law against the general contractor for the construction project.

On October 26, 2008, the plaintiff, a painter, susstained injury when the baker scaffold on which he was working shifted due to unlocked wheels resulting in him losing his balance and fall feet first to the floor, approximately 4-6 feet.

The plaintiff sustained a severe calcaneal fracture to his right foot which required surgery in which he doctors inserted 15 screws and 3 plates into his heel. He now walks with the assistance of a cane most of the time and has not gone back to work since the accident.

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On April 24, 2009 a 40 year old woman died in a gas explosion that took place in her house in Floral Park, Queens, New York. The defendant in this action, Consolidated Edison, was notified of the gas leak by a neighbor of the woman; however, the Con-Ed workers were not timely dispatched to evacuate residents in the area. As a result of the negligence of Con-Ed, the woman was never notified of the gas leak nor was she evacuated from her home. The gas explosion was severe – – the house was demolished and the woman was killed. Three children were left without their mother. The woman’s husband was left without his wife.

In a record settlement, Ben Rubinowitz of Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf settled this claim for $12,400,000.00. This is one of the largest settlements in New York for a Wrongful Death case. “The woman who died was a wonderful mother to her children and a loving wife,” said Rubinowitz. “It is indeed unfortunate that no one listened to the warnings of a concerned neighbor – – he tried so hard to do the right thing. If only Con-Ed had just paid attention to a known fact and followed proper protocol this never would have happened. While I realize that no amount of money can compensate for this family’s loss, I am very pleased that we were able to provide financial security for the needs of this family who lost so much in this terrible explosion.”

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By: Anthony H. Gair, Esq.

This New York malpractice case involved a fifty-three year old man who was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth encompassing the soft palate, the uvula, the tonsil and the base of the tongue. He underwent extensive radiation therapy and fortunately the cancer was irradicated. The patient developed osteoradionecrosis of the mandible following a wisdom tooth extraction by his dentist who was well aware that he had undergone radiation therapy.

As a result, he had to have three major surgeries involving removal of part of the mandible and extensive bone grafting and reconstructive surgery.

The definition of osteoradionecrosis is bone death due to radiation. Teeth removed in irradiated jaws often initiate Osteoradionecrosis.¹

In patients who have undergone radiation therapy for cancer of the mouth, the tissues in the mouth become hypoxic. Further, the vascular supply to the tissues is impaired and blood vessels are destroyed as a result of the radiation. The tissues also become hypocellular. These effects on the tissues of the mouth are permanent.

The important issues in the development of Osteoradionecrosis are endothelium, bone, periosteum and fibrous connective tissue of the mucosa and skin. The effects of radiation on the tissue level are endothelial necrosis, hyalinization, and thrombosis of vessels. The periosteum becomes fibrotic and bone osteoblasts and osteocytes undergo death with fibrosis of the marrow spaces. Mucosa and skin also undergo fibrosis, with decline in the cellularity and vascularity of the connective tissue. The result is a composite tissue which is hypovascular and hypocellular and has proved to be hypoxic compared with non-irradiated tissue. Once any wound is created, it would be unrealistic to expect effective healing, given the hypovascular, hypocellular and hypoxic nature of the affected tissue.²

It was the plaintiff’s contention that when a tooth is extracted a wound is always created at the site of extraction and that as a result of the radiation induced hypoxia, hypovascularity and hypocellularity of the tissues there will be problems with the healing process which may often lead to infection spreading to the bone and leading to osteoradionecrosis. This is even more so in patients with periodontal disease, which is often the case in those facing tooth extraction.
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Our partner, Ben Rubinowitz, will be representing the Medina family in their medical malpractice case against Montefiore Medical Center. On May 23, 2012, Yolanda Medina, 41 in an act of pure altruism, attempted to donate a kidney to her brother Roberto Medina, 39 as part of Montefiore Hospital’s voluntary Live Organ Donor Transplant Program. Roberto Medina has been on dialysis suffering from renal failure since early February.

During the voluntary Live Organ Donor Transplant Yolanda Medina bled to death as a result of her aorta being negligently severed during the organ harvesting surgery. Yolanda’s death ended any chance of using her kidney for this life saving procedure for her brother, Roberto. Mr. Rubinowitz stated; “This is a terrible tragedy. Out of the goodness of her heart and sheer kindness, one woman attempted to save her brothers life; unfortunately her kindness resulted in tragedy. It is our firm’s responsibility to the Medina family to provide them with the security that they deserve as a result of this horrific event.” The Montefiore Medical Center has recently suspended its live organ donor transplant program.

Roberto Medina has still not received a kidney. He awaits transplant surgery. The Montefiore Medical Center had scheduled another transplant for Roberto Medina on Thursday, June 7, but the surgery was abruptly canceled. Montefiore Medical Center officials had not obtained the proper federal approvals required to expedite a transplant. Mr. Rubinowitz, responded that, “The entire Medina Family is devastated. Roberto lost his sister. He was told they have a kidney for him. He gets his hopes up, only to be told he’s not going to have the surgery. You can’t imagine the disappointment that the entire family is experiencing right now. Why didn’t they tell him he would have to wait for a transplant? I believe the hospital was well intentioned in finding him a kidney, but the communication on their part was, simply put, horrible.” Four months after starting dialysis, Roberto Medina still does not have a kidney designated to him. “It is our hope that a kidney will become available before it is too late,” said Rubinowitz. “This family has suffered enough heartache. A young woman died as a result of medical negligence. She was an innocent victim of medical carelessness. At this time I hope a kidney can be found for this wonderful young man, Roberto Medina, before time runs out on him.”

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Our partners Anthony H. Gair and Christopher L. Sallay settled the personal injury case of a 63 year old female pedestrian who was struck by a motor vehicle traveling in reverse on a one-way street. The case settled prior to trial for $2,050,000.

As a result of the accident, the plaintiff sustained spinal fractures from L1 – L4, which required corrective surgery. The defense claimed that he never saw the plaintiff prior to his vehicle striking her as she was bending over in the street looking for her gloves. The defense further alleged that the plaintiff made a full recovery and required no additional treatment following the initial surgery.

The New York Personal Injury Lawyer at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf have years of experience representing people who have suffered injury in all types of accidents in New York.

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Ben B. Rubinowitz

Ben B. Rubinowitz
Gair Gair Conason
Steigman Mackauf
Bloom & Rubinowitz

The National Institute for Trial Advocacy will hold its Flagship Trial Techniques Program from July 25 to August 2, 2012 at the NITA Educational Center in Boulder Colorado. The National Program has been considered by many to be the best course they have ever taken and an unparalleled learning experience. “There is no better program for lawyers interested in honing and polishing their Trial skills than this one,” said Ben Rubinowitz, the National Program Director. “Our faculty is superb and every participant will learn the most up to date techniques in all trial skills including Jury Selection, Opening Statements, Direct and Cross Examination, Examination of Experts and Summation. Communication Experts will work with each participant individually to sharpen their oral advocacy abilities. What makes this program far better than other Continuing Legal Education Programs throughout the country is that each student will receive detailed instruction, individualized attention and video review on a daily basis. In addition, each student will have the opportunity to put their newly learned skills to work by having the opportunity to try two cases — a bench trial and a jury trial — and even more importantly, have the opportunity to watch their jury deliberate following trial. We are even bringing in Focus Group Experts to help out. If you want to improve your skills, take this course — This program will be the best ever.”

For more information about this program contact NITA

The Method
The NITA Learning-by-Doing method is the most effective way to practice, learn and retain the advocacy skills used throughout one’s legal career.

The Faculty
Comprised of lawyers, judges, professors and consultants from around the nation, the NITA faculty brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to every program and provides participants immediate feedback on their performances.

The Opportunity
In addition to undoubtedly being a better lawyer after completing the program, participants will be learning alongside potential colleagues and referral sources from across the country.

The National Program

Brought to you in an entirely new format, the 2012 National Session is like never before. Though the program will still take place in beautiful Boulder, CO and continues to bring in the very best and brightest NITA faculty members from across the country, the programming within this year’s National Session is groundbreaking.

For the first time the National Session will be led by Program Director Ben Rubinowitz, prominent New York City attorney, NITA Trustee and member of the Inner Circle of Advocates. In addition to the group of highly experienced practitioners, professors and judges being brought in to teach Rubinowitz has also assembled a team of NITA’s communications experts Marsha Hunter and Brian Johnson of Johnson Hunter Inc. and jury selection/focus group experts Mary Ryan and Bryan LeRoy of the Portia Group.

Throughout the program you will use NITA’s learning-by-doing method to practice and perfect your skills in the challenging arts of trial advocacy and persuasion. In a simulated trial setting you will be performing:

• Opening statements and closing arguments
• Direct and cross examinations of fact and expert witnesses
• Impeachment
• Voir Dire
• Oral advocacy skills

To signify the end of the first “half” of the program you will conduct a bench trial. In the days immediately following the bench trial you will go through intensive workshops on jury selection, including the use of focus groups. Before your presentations you will have a chance to see demonstrations of experienced lawyers conducting focus groups and performing open jury selection. These workshops will also be videoed giving you the opportunity for video review with faculty. Other than NITA’s Advanced Trial Program this is the only place these courtroom simulations are offered.

The program finishes with you performing full jury trial, once as counsel and once as a witness. After the trial you’ll get to watch real jurors deliberate via closed circuit TV, and upon hearing their verdict, have a chance to ask them questions and hear their feedback.

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Ben B. Rubinowitz

Ben B. Rubinowitz
Gair Gair Conason
Steigman Mackauf
Bloom & Rubinowitz

In recognition of his success in the Courtroom, our partner, Ben Rubinowitz, has once again been asked to Chair the prestigious Masters Program. This CLE program is designed to highlight cutting edge trial techniques that have resulted in justice for individuals injured through the negligence of others. Those who have been asked to participate in this program as faculty have each obtained exceedingly large verdicts on behalf of their clients.

Mr. Rubinowitz, who specializes in the representation of plaintiffs — those injured through the fault of others in auto accidents, bus, train and plane accidents as well as medical malpractice and products liability claims — has obtained 19 verdicts in excess of one million dollars. When speaking about this program Mr. Rubinowitz stated: This program is designed to allow lawyers of all abilities to see techniques that have worked and techniques that have secured justice for those who have suffered injury through the fault of others. Each speaker will demonstrate openings or summations and show how to meet and deal with recurrent problem areas at trial. The New York State Trial Lawyers will allow law students interested in trial advocacy to attend this seminar free of charge. To learn more about this program visit cle@NYSTLA.org.

Register Now!

May 30 & June 20, 2012
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM 132 Nassau Street New York, NY 10038
GGCSMB&R is a law firm that specializes in the representation of plaintiffs. For more than 90 years our lawyers have fought with relentless vigor and enthusiasm against large Insurance Companies, Multi-billion dollar Corporations and Medical Institutions to secure justice for those who have been severely injured. We take pride in knowing that our law firm has the talent and resources to secure justice regardless of the economic or social status of the person who has been injured.

For more information about our firm visit gairgair.com

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In The Courts

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Ben B. Rubinowitz

Ben B. Rubinowitz
Gair Gair Conason
Steigman Mackauf
Bloom & Rubinowitz

Ben Rubinowitz, a partner at Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf will be speaking at the Dutchess County Bar Association in New York State. Mr. Rubinowitz, who specializes in representing the victims of auto accidents, construction accidents, bus and train accidents, medical malpractice, premises liability cases and products liability claims, will discuss effective Direct and Cross Examination techniques.

To date, Mr. Rubinowitz has 92 settlements and 19 verdicts in excess of $1,000,000.00. GGCSMB&R is widely considered the top personal injury firm in New York. As is true for many of the partners at his firm, lecturing and teaching lawyers is an integral part of the firm’s practice. Throughout its 90 year history the firm has obtained some of the highest awards for its clients. The firm believes strongly in giving back to the legal community and has always volunteered its time to participate in Continuing Legal Education Programs throughout the State and Country.

Thursday, May 10, 2012
Personal Injury Update 2012: Pretrial Motions, PJI Charges, Direct/Cross Examination and Medicare
5:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.
3 Skills credit The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
$70 for members paid in advance, $90 for non members and walk-ins Includes Dinner Panel discussion coordinated by Bryan Schneider, Esq.,
with speakers Hon. Ralph Beisner, Ben Rubinowitz, Esq. and John Cattie, Esq.

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By Rhonda Kay, Partner, Gair Gair Conason Steigman Mackauf Bloom & Rubinowitz
Facebook

In New York personal injury cases it has become routine for defendants to serve a notice for discovery and inspection of a plaintiff’s facebook page.

Who doesn’t have a Facebook page these days? It’s the most popular way to connect and stay connected. Fortunately, there are numerous settings available so you can control the privacy level of your content and therefore, who you share your information with.  So if you wanted to post a comment to your Facebook “friends” informing them that despite that devastating car accident you were recently in, and the pending million dollar lawsuit against the other driver, you feel great, have gone back to work, and participate in all of your daily activities; no problem right? Your secrets are safe?

In the context of personal injury cases, the New York courts seem to agree that legally, to the extent that a plaintiff’s Facebook postings are relevant, in that it contradicts or conflicts with plaintiff’s alleged restrictions, disabilities, and losses, and other claim, it is discoverable (see, Patterson v. Turner Constr. Co. (88 A.D.3d 617, 931 N.Y.S.2d 311 [1st Dept. 2011]; McCann v. Harleysville Ins. Co. of NY (78 A.D.3d 1524, 910 N.Y.S.2d 614 [4th Dept. 2010]).  In fact, disclosure is not necessarily limited to the “publicly available” portions of one’s facebook account but may also include the portions which were deemed by the user to be “private” or even those postings that had been deleted (see, Patterson v. Turner Constr. Co., supra [the postings on plaintiff’s online Facebook account, if relevant, are not shielded from discovery merely because plaintiff used the service’s privacy settings to restrict access]; Loporcaro v. City of New York, 2012 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1726, 2012 NY Slip Op 30977U (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Apr. 9, 2012][allowing access to certain deleted materials]).

After all, “to permit a party claiming very substantial damages for loss of enjoyment of life to hide behind self-set privacy controls on a website, the primary purpose of which is to enable people to share information about how they lead their social lives, risks depriving the opposite party of access to material that may be relevant to ensuring a fair trial” (Romano v. Steelcase Inc., 30 Misc. 3d 426, 907 N.Y.S.2d 650 [Sup. Ct. Suffolk Co. 2010]). What is not clearly defined, nor apparently uniform, is the way the courts treat Facebook disclosure requests.  For instance, in Loporcaro v. City of New York, (supra), the plaintiff alleged in his bill of particulars that he was incapacitated, confined to bed or home during the first two months following the accident, and suffered permanent effects on his daily life.   Granting defendant access to  portions of plaintiff’s Facebook account, including access to certain deleted materials, it was the court’s opinion that since it appeared that plaintiff had voluntarily posted at least some information about himself on Facebook which may contradict the claims made by him in the present action, the moving defendant had sufficiently shown that information contained within plaintiff’s Facebook account may contain information that may well prove relevant and necessary to the defense.

Similarly, in Romano v. Steelcase Inc (supra) defendant filed a CPLR 3101 motion for access to plaintiff’s current and historical social networking pages and accounts claiming that the plaintiff had placed certain information on the sites that it believed were relevant to the extent and nature of her injuries, especially her claims for loss of enjoyment of life.  The court found, inter alia, that in light of the fact that the public portions of the plaintiff’s social networking sites contained material that was contrary to her claims and deposition testimony, there was a reasonable likelihood that the private portions of her sites might contain further evidence such as information with regard to her activities and enjoyment of life, all of which were material and relevant to the defense of her personal injury action. Consequently, pursuant to CPLR 3101, the defendant was entitled to the information.
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