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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Personal Injury Lawyer Ben RubinowitzOur managing partner Ben Rubinowitz, is a renown trial lawyer who has obtained many of the largest verdicts in New York State history. He was interviewed by Brian Lee, a litigation reporter for the New York Law Journal about a recent report by Marathon Strategies that puts New York State as the 10th state with the highest total number of  what they call “nuclear” and “thermonuclear verdicts”. The report identifies “nuclear verdicts” as verdicts of $10 million and above and “thermonuclear verdicts” as  verdicts of $100 million and above. According to their findings the number of verdicts against corporations in the US doubled between 2020 and 2022 with the median “nuclear verdict”  increasing from $21.5 million in 2020 to $41.1 million in 2022.

The report indicates that corporations facing trial in New York are more likely to be hit by “thermonuclear verdicts” than in any other State. While at federal level two extraordinary verdicts account for most of the total of the large verdicts ($956 million in the fraud matter Liberty Media Corp. v. Vivendi Universal in 2012 and $253 million in the employment case Velez v. Novartis Corp. in 2010), verdicts  in New York State courts were lower. The report indicates that 42% of  the State verdicts above $10 million were cases related to product liability (such as asbestos cases), worker/workplace negligence and construction accidents. In regards to the last category the report points out that many of the large construction cases are related to the New York Labor Law 240 or “Scaffolding Law” which render employers strictly liable for workers injured as a result of inadequate or missing safety equipment at elevated work sites. With falls remaining the number one cause of death in the New York construction industry, the “scaffolding law” has proven instrumental in assuring that  employers are providing the necessary fall safety equipment to their workers and making sure that they are always using it while working at heights.

Ben Rubinowitz sees the report as a “lobbying vehicle for insurance companies that don’t want to pay claims while raising the average consumers’ premiums”. Among the recent jury verdicts obtained by Ben was a $59 million verdict for Alonzo Yanes, a high School student who suffered catastrophic burn injuries in a botched science experimentation. Alonzo underwentmore than 100 surgeries and will remain disfigured for the rest of his life. While Judge Alexander Tisch considered the verdict appropriate, the final award was reduced to $29 million by the Appellate Division, First Department in 2021.

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deadly-construction-site-at-126-LafayetteA construction worker died and 3 others suffered personal injury after a wall collapsed at a Manhattan construction site located at 126 Lafayette Street near Canal Street.

The accident occurred on Tuesday around 1:00 pm. Workers were demolishing a 3-story building. They had already demolished the third floor when a rear wall collapsed, burying a 64-year-old worker under a mountain of rubble. Two other workers tumbled from scaffolds and another one was also injured.

Firefighters arrived quickly at the scene and used  their owns hands and hand tools to remove the victim from the rubble. The 64-year old worker was rushed to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.

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Mermaid Ave where the mother and son were struck by a hit and run driverSeveral  people were seriously injured or died in car accidents in New York City this last week-end. 2 pedestrians died. One cyclist was critically injured. Another pedestrian suffered serious injury and one motorist suffered minor injuries, all caused by reckless driving.

Young mother killed by drunk driver

The carnage started on Friday night with the death of a 23 year old pedestrian, identified as Tecinna Bahadur. The young mother was killed by a drunk driver on on the Van Wyck Expressway Service Road near 107th Avenue in Jamaica, Queens. The driver who killed her was identified as 41 year old Athony Ramjit. He was arrested by the police and charged with DWI  (read more in 1010 WINS).

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FDNY twitt on lithium battery fire in the Bronx NYCMayor Adams and Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh are calling for a federal action to crack down on defective lithium-ion batteries  that are invading the American market and causing an alarming number of fires in New York City.

Mayor Adams and Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh  both visited the Bronx on Sunday after a small e-scooter charging in the back of a supermarket exploded and caused a massive fire that injured several and took hours for the FDNY to stop. So far one person died this year and last year, 6 people died and 147 were injured in more than 200 fires caused by exploding lithium-ion batteries in New York City.

Delivery companies should be also held accountable for letting their employees use defective batteries

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Lithium ion battery can be dangerousDefective lithium-Ion e-bike batteries have been the cause of 216 fires in NYC last year. 147 people suffered personal injury and 6 of them died in these fires. This year so far more than 20 lithium-ion battery fires have caused serious injury and death. Two weeks ago, in Brooklyn, a woman died from her injuries after being rescued from a fire in her building that was caused by batteries exploding in an another apartment that a tenant had transformed into an illegal lithium battery repair shop.

Yesterday the New York City Council voted on a legislative package dedicated to strengthen safety and prevent fires related to e-bike batteries:

  • Introduction 663-A restricts the sale, lease or rental of e-bike, e-scooter or any other mobility device powered by lithium batteries as well as storage batteries that do not meet recognized safety standards.  This means that these devices and their storage batteries will have to be tested by an accredited laboratory and  meet the applicable Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards. the testing laboratory or name will have to be displayed on the product itself or on the packaging or documentation.
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deadly intersection of Wilson and ArmstrongA man died in a bicycle accident in New York City last Friday.  52 year old James Giambalvo was on his way to the supermaket, riding his bike on Wilson Avenue in Great Kills, Staten Island, NYC when he was side swiped by the driver of a SUV.  The accident occurred near the intersection of Armstrong Avenue around 10:30 am.

According to the SILive, the victim was struck and pinned under the SUV which also sideswiped another car and knocked down a street sign. The driver of the car, a woman in her 30s remained at the scene of the accident. She has not been charged so far.

A large crew of police and emergency staff was deployed at the scene of the accident.

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US PS truck contractors are danegrousLast June, 5 people including a baby were killed in a truck accident involving a truck carrying mail for the U.S. postal service. Investigation found that the truck driver who didn’t have a valid commercial license, got distracted and slammed into a car as traffic was slowing down. An entire family was killed. The truck was carrying U.S. postal mail and belonged to Caminantes Trucking from Long Beach, California. Caminantes is one of the many truck contractors that USPS hire to carry its mail across the country.  Investigation of the accident by the DOT indicates that Caminantes has a history of similar violations over the last 10 years.

Five months after the crash, as USPS  continued to work  with Caminantes, a 9News tv investigation looked back at the accident and at the truck company’s troubled past. The investigation found that the truck driver was travelling at 75 mph when it crashed into the back of the car that had slowed down because of traffic and was moving at only 5mph. 9News also checked the federal records of Caminantes and found out that the company was involved in two other deadly crashes over the past two years. 3 drivers were caught without valid commercial licenses. The company also had several violations for drug and alcohol testing. After the deadly accident that killed the family, the company was fined $21,460 by the Federal Motor Carriers Association but continued to carry the mail for the U.S. Postal service. The driver responsible for the accident was not charged and Caminantes continued to operate as well.

Finally after the tv investigation, USPS announced it was reviewing its contract and relationship with Caminantes and said in February that it would stop to work with the truck contractor.

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lawdragon-black-3The law firm of  Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Blooom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is proud to announce that 8 of our personal injury attorneys have been listed in the 2023 Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers including one in the Lawdragon Hall of Fame.

Congratulations to Marijo Adimey, Jeffrey Bloom, Diana Carnemolla, Christopher Donadio, Howard Hershenhorn, Ben Rubinowitz and Peter Saghir for being included in this list and to Anthony Gair for not only being included in this list but also to to be an esteemed member of the Lawdragon Hall of Fame.

For more than 30 years Lawdragon has been researching and reporting on the legal profession. Their teams are made of independent journalists researching submissions and establishing lists of lawyers who have significantly impacted their area of law and regularly won consequent verdicts and settlements.

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After a dip in 2020, construction accident deaths in New York State and New York City were on the rise again in 2021 according to the recently released “Deadly Skyline” report.  “Deadly Skyline” is an annual report released by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH). NYCOSH uses the most recent available data from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (DOL BLS) to compile an annual report on construction accident deaths in New York City and New York State.

A total of 61 hard hats died in NY State in 2021 compared to respectively 71, 69, 58, 55 and 41 in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. Since 2016, during which a record number of construction workers died in NYS, the number of fatalities gradually declined to reach its lowest since 2013. While the slowdown in construction activity due to the Covid19 lockdown was a factor in the 2020 dip, the number of fatalities reported in 2021 jumped above the number of fatalities reported in 2019 and 2018.

fatalities in construction NY State 2021
Among the 61 construction workers who died in NY State,  20 of them died while working on a construction site in NYC. Construction workers fatalities also increased in 2021 in NYC compared to 2020 but remain lower or equal to the number of fatalities reported annually between 2013 and 2019 in the city. With the exception of 2020, construction fatalities in NYC never went below 20 since 2012 ands the only time they went down to 20 was in 2017.

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Personal Injury Trial Technics by Attorney Ben RubinowitzOur managing partner, Ben Rubinowitz, was recently a guest on Unscripted Direct, a popular podcast among the law school trial advocacy community presented by Spencer Pahlke and Justin Bernstein. In “Episode 48 – Bad Facts” Ben demonstrates how to cross examine witnesses by using voice of reason questions to which the witness has no choice but to answer in the favor of the plaintiff.  This approach to cross examination helps to both destroy the witness’ credibility and at the same time create powerful and winning arguments on summation.

In the podcast Ben demonstrated how this approach can be used in almost any negligence case by using multiple examples. Ben calls this “walking the witness down to a tight rope so when you finally push, the witness falls in the canyon of doom and there is no escape”.

Listen to several interactive examples of “voice of reason questions” in episode 48 of Unscripted Direct  (Ben segment starts at 00:17:50)