Wednesday, December 29, 2004

New York DMV head defends tough rules against immigrants

After 9/11, New York DMV has taken the lead in cracking down on fraudulantly obtained drivers licenses. The Daily News, in a confusingly written article, quotes DMV Commissioner Raymond Martinez, who defends his agency's anti-fraud tactics. Immigrant groups have been opposed to the new measures because they have the effect of harming immigrants who may not have a valid social security number from obtaining a license. more...>

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Does legal history affect a country's economy?

Malaysia and Indonisia are two Asian nations that share a common backround. They are similar in terms of geography, religion and they speak the same language. However, the citizens of Malaysia are three times more prosperous. The Malaysian legal system, like the US, is based on English common law. As a Dutch colony, the Indonisian legal system is premised on French civil law. Are countries based on English common law more economically successful than those based on French civil law? more...>

Monday, December 27, 2004

New laws for the new year.

Even though it was one of the least productive years for the New York State legislature, dozens of new laws will take effect on the first day of the new year. Among the new state laws are a hike in the minimum wage and slight cut in the personal income tax. more...>

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Manipulators or straight shooters?

According to the blawg Uncivil Litigator, there are two types of lawyers: manipulators and straight shooters. The manipulators, practice their trade with dishonesty and lack of decency. more...>

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The best new legal websites of 2004

Robert Ambrogi of Lawsites lists a roundup of the best of 2004 non-blog legal websites.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Legal believe it or not?

The New York Daily News lists a few strange lawsuits brought against the City of New York. Here is their list: "The case of the one eyed driver," "The case of the crooked car buyer," and "The case of the 16-year old shooting." more...>

Monday, December 20, 2004

Profile of Michael Cardozo

After filing a lawsuit against the City of the NewYork, an answer is usually filed on behalf of Michael Cardozo, General Counsel. But who is he and what exactly does he do? more...>

Friday, December 17, 2004

Personal Injury lawsuits against tire makers gaining traction

Auto accidents allegedly caused by tire-separation have been at issue in an increasing number of lawsuits. The suits allege that tires over six years old, even if they have not been used, could cause a fatal accident due to degredation of the treads. more...>

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Trial Lawyers battle it out over Fen-Phen lawsuits

The conservative daily, The New York Sun, reports on a fee dispute between two personal injury law firms over referral fees. Following a large Fen-Phen settlement, Parker & Waichman and Napoli Bern are duking it out. It may come as a surprise that the Sun casts the two law firms as greedy trial lawyers. more...>

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Drafting Enforceable Sales Commission Plans

Looking to hire an employee on commission? Before drafting a contract, you should be aware of these tips.

Monday, December 13, 2004

City Bar latest to support No-Fault Divorce

The New York Times reported on November 30, 2004 about the effect of New York State's current divorce law, which requires one party to be "at fault" before a divorce may be granted. New York may be the only state that does not allow no-fault divorce.

Today, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York has urged legislators to ammend state law to allow "no fault" divorce. more...>

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Palsgraf family curse

Upon entering law school, one of the first cases taught in torts class is Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad. The case involves an explosion that occurred at the LIRR's Jamaica Station and illustrates the theory of duty and proximate causation. Since the case has been decided in 1924, the Palsgraf family has been subject to numerous accidents. Is the Palsgraf family cursed? more...>

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Kosher Party Lawsuit

Thankfully the New York Post, in an exclusive combining the talents of two reporters, tells us that an Orthodox Jew is suing his employer - claiming that he was not fed kosher food at a holiday party. Moshe Marc Cohen, a former supervisor at National Provident, a large finanicial firm, is suing his former employer for discrimination. more...>

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

New seat belt law to take effect in 2008

The United States will require car manufacturers to provide shoulder and lap belts in the center seat by 2008. more...>

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

New York State hit with $42 million dollar verdict

The State of New York has been hit with a $42 million dollar verdict in a tragic accident case. The Court of Claims, which usually sides with the State, refused to permit the State to present expert testimony because they neglected to follow the judges scheduling order. more...>

Is following procedure more important than finding the truth or is this proper result because the State blatantly disregarded a judges order?

Monday, December 06, 2004

Automakers lobby for limits on lawsuits

Automakers are the latest group calling for tort reform. Consumer groups, such as Public Citizen, are gearing up for a battle. more...>

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Widow faces deportation

Following the New York Time's lead on Monday, the Washington Post places a human face on deportation. The article focuses on a widow who faces deportation after her husband was killed in a car accident. more...>

Tort reform scorecard: both sides claim victory

Another assessment of the tort reform battle in the past election may be found here.
The final score - a virtual tie.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Is it time for no-fault divorce in New York ?

The New York Times reports on its front page today the looming issue of no-fault divorce reform in New York State. New York is one of the few states in the nation that requires one party to be at fault for the breakdown of the marriage before a divorce can be granted.

If you are planning a divorce, would you like one without a fight? How about collaborative law? more...>

Monday, November 29, 2004

Immigration News from the New York Times

The New York Times features 2 op-ed pieces (found here and here), one front page article, and four letters regarding immigration. The front page article reports on the clash between illegal immigrants and suburban residents on Long Island. One author of one op-ed piece argues that current immigration policy has been hurting the US economy by making it difficult for foreign students to study here. The other op-ed piece notes the difficulty of entering the US from Nigeria.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A Child is left behind when a mother is deported

The New York Times reports on its front page the plight of a mother who was deported out of the U.S. to her native Hondorus leaving her American husband and daughter behind. One of the bedrocks of U.S. immigration policy has been to maintain family ties. However, the Department of Homeland Security has all but eliminated discretion on the part of immigration officers before ordering deportations. more...>

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Benihana Chef blamed for customer's death

A chef at a Long Island branch of Benihana has been sued for wrongful death due to his antics with a piece of grilled shrimp. The attorney for the plaintiff's estate maintains that the man's reflexive response, to duck away from the food, caused a neck injury. The injury then required surgery. Due to complications from the surgery, Jerry Colaitis, of Old Brookville died. more...>

Monday, November 22, 2004

Lawsuit questions safety of Dodgeball

The New York Appellate Division refused to dismiss a lawsuit that claims that a school was at fault for allowing a child to play dodgeball. Here, a seven year old girl fractured her elbow while playing the sport. more...>

Friday, November 19, 2004

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Beverly Hills 90210 Star Settles Car Accident Case

In Celebrity car accident news, Tori Spelling, (aka Donna) former star of Beverly Hills 90210 settled a personal injury case yesterday. Ms. Spelling was the defendant in the action. The terms of the settlement are undisclosed. more...>

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Why become Chief Justice?

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, William Rehnquist is currently ill, and there has been much speculation regarding who will replace him. Why would anyone become Chief Justice? more...>

For a different take, buy this book.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The role of tort reformers on the election

Compared to the war in Iraq and "moral values," tort law may not have seemed to a large role in the election this year. Yet, from a historical perspective, it did: On a national level, voters were asked to think about civil liability to an uprecedented extent. more...>

Monday, November 15, 2004

Lethal accident in Bethpage, Long Island

Newsday reports that 1 teenager was killed and 3 others were injured when a car came into contact with a power pole. more...>

Friday, November 12, 2004

What is the magic word to avoid lawsuits?

It is a lesson that children learn at an early age. Can it help a doctor from being sued? more....>

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Is Judge LeVine at "war" against solo lawyers or is there too much pressure from above?

Personal Injury cases often take years before they are ready for trial. In the Supreme Court of Queens County, once the cases are finally ready for trial, they are sent to Judge LeVine's TAP part for trial.

Unfortunately, some sole practicioners have conflicts and are unable to be in two courthouses at once. For instance, yesterday, I covered a case, per diem, that was ready for trial in Queens County. The attorney was engaged in another trial at the same time in Westchester County. Obviously, he cannot be the trial attorney for both cases at once.

As I entered the judges chambers, I handed to the Judge an affidavit of engagement, that stated that the attorney that I was covering for needed an adjournment due to the aforementioned conflict. Opposing counsel did not oppose the application. Upon review of the affidavit, the judge stated that the contents were insufficient, however, he would contact the trial part in Westchester to ascertain its status.

The Judge ruled notwithstanding the conflict, jury selection was ordered to proceed the following day.

It is my view that the Judge's ruling is clearly prejudicial against sole practicioners. The Judge may not be at fault if the pressure to move cases in an expediated fashion comes from above. However, a sole practicioner, does not have the option of sending an associate to try the case.
What do you think?

Monday, November 08, 2004

Have jurors lost faith in corporations, leaders and lawyers?

A recent study by DecionQuest and Reuturs have found that 61 percent of Americans have lost faith in corporations, leaders and lawyers as compared to four years ago. (Is this a poll of likely voters?) It appears that the corporate scandals that have recently received so much press have been taking its toll on the way jurors view corporate cases. more...>

Friday, November 05, 2004

Who won the election: Lawyers or Doctors?

Lawyers and Doctors battled in four states over limiting damage awards and attorney's fees in malpractice cases. The verdict? A split. more...>

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Large increase in immigration appeals in NYC

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reports that 44 percent of its docket consist of immigration appeals, up from 9 percent in 2002. There is currently a huge backlog of immigration appeals that show no signs of letting up. more...>

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Is Elliot Spitzer overreaching in his suit against the insurance industry?

New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer recent brought a civil suit against Marsh & McLennan and others for alleged statutory claims for fraud, securities fraud, anti-trust violations and common law fraud and unjust enrichment.

Is the civil suit brought against the insurance industry by Elliot Spitzer a situation where the Attorney General is just doing his job or is he trying to make new laws without the support of the legislature? more...>

Monday, November 01, 2004

Should the Atkin's diet carry a warning label?

In Florida, a judge heard preliminary arguments regaring the country's first Atkins related lawsuit. The plaintiff, Jody Gorran, claims that the anti-carbohydrate diet clogged his arteries. The lawsuit seeks little in terms of monetary damages. (Note... trial lawyers are not always after money.)

The purpose of the lawsuit is to force Atkins Nutritionals, the company behind the diet, to print warning labels. more..>

Perhaps Julia Child was right, the way to a healthy diet is to eat everything in moderation.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Runaway SUV injures mourners

New York Accident News

Both the New York Times and the Daily News report that an out of control driver of a SUV plowed into a crowd of mourners at a funeral in Chinatown. more...>

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Can't get a flu shot? It's the trial lawyers fault

The Club for Growth Growth, a group of so called pro-growth conservatives, placed a full page ad in the New York Times today blaming the trial lawyers for the flu shot problem. They neglect to mention that the main cause of the flu vaccine shortage, according to CNN, was due to Chiron Corp. problem in producing the vaccine at its British plant.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

What is a tort?

Tort Reform is a highly charged issue in this year's presidential campaign. However, unless you are an attorney, you may not know what constitutes a tort. more...>

Monday, October 25, 2004

Tort lawsuits against the City of New York remain level

The New York Law Journal reports today that New York City's payouts on tort cases have remained steady for the past year. Shoshana Bookson, president of the New York State Trial Lawyers' Association, stated that this demonstrates "that there is no tort crisis in New York and the cries for tort reform are hollow."

Fay Leoussis, Chief of Corporation Counsel (the defense arm for the City of New York), cites that payouts have remained steady because the Law Department is more efficient in covering its caseload. more...>

Friday, October 22, 2004

How do Americans feel about immigration?

What are native-born American's attitudes toward immigration? Suprisingly, American's have been less negative about immigration than they have been in several years. more...>

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Election sparks an interest from new citizens

The New York Times reports that the US election is being closely followed by new citizens. A recent voter drive by the New York Immigration Coalition has signed up 225,000 immigrant voters. The city's foreign born citizens are not a homogenus group, however, many are worried about their status in the US since 9/11. more...>

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Should New York adopt no-fault divorce?

Currently, to obtain a divorce in New York, a party must either prove that they have a "fault" ground or a "separation" ground. Should there be a "no-fault" ground? more....>

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Northport women killed in auto accident

New York Accident News: Johanna Davis, 80 years of age, from Northport, Long Island (where my wife is from) was killed yesterday in a tragic traffic accident. Ms. Davis, a passenger in a car operated by her friend, Francis Oshaughnessy, was killed when the vehicle was struck when it attempted to make a left turn. more...>

Looking for a Personal Injury Lawyer? Contact my law office. more...>

Friday, October 15, 2004

Slow processing times causes denial of vote to immigrants

The New York Immigration Coalition released a study that found that thousands of immigrants have lost their right to vote in the November election because a backlog in processing their applications. more...>

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Spitzer's office reveals widespread corruption in the insurance industry

Lucrative payoff agreements. Soliciting rigged bids. Sounds like an episode of the Soprano's. But no, we are discussing your "friendly" insurance broker, Marsh & McLennan Companies.

New York State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer today sued the nation's largest insurance broker, Marsh & McLennan Companies for fraud and anti-competitive practices. The lawsuit implicates other insurance companies. Do you still blame the trial lawyers for your high insurance rates? more...>

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

American Insurance Reform releases a study finding price-gouging of doctors despite lower medical malpractice payouts

Tort reform has been a hot button issue in this year's presidential election. A group called Americans for Insurance Reform has released a study, based on the insurance industries own data, that there has been no explosion medical malpractice payouts. In fact, these payouts have dropped. The price hikes that doctors have been experiencing in their premiums can be attributed to dropping interest rates and investment losses. more...>

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Justice for fixed cases?

A judge arrested on charges that he took bribes. A lawyer, confessing that he wined and dined him and plied him with cigars and cash in return for favorable treatment. What happens if you were on the opposite side of the equation and your court case was fixed. Do you think you would obtain re-trial? more...>

Friday, October 08, 2004

Large jury verdict awarded to a Farmingdale motorcycle victim

Newsday reports that Justin Firmes, a resident of Farmingdale, Long Island, was awarded $13.9 verdict due to injuries he sustained in a motor vehicle accident. The accident occurred when Mr. Firmes motorcycle was impacted by a pick-up truck operated by Christopher Tiejen. Mr. Firmes left leg was amputated due to the accident. more...>

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The myth of America's lawsuit crisis

What does Newsweek and the Manhattan Institute have in common? Perpetuating the myth of America's lawsuit crisis. more...>

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Bush attacks Kerry over tort reform in new ads

President Bush's ongoing war for tort reform continues. As usual, he places the blame regarding the cost of rising health care costs on lawsuits and out of control lawyers. more...>

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

What is a blawg?

Wondering what a blawg is (this site is one)? If you have powerpoint installed on your computer, check out Mathew Lerner's excellent presentation to law librarians on the subject. (see New York Civil Law, October 3, post)

Monday, October 04, 2004

Is Britney Spears legally married?

Pop diva Britney Spears married her childfriend friend Jason Alexander (not from Seinfeld) last January in Las Vegas. Is the marriage legal? How about the prenuptial agreement? The answer may be found at the end of this article.

Friday, October 01, 2004

USCIS publishes a guide for new immigrants

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services released its guide for new immigrants here. It provides basic information regarding rights and responsiblities of lawful permanent residents, settling in the United States, education and childcare, emergencies and safety, and becoming a US citizen.

Do you have a legal question? Contact my law office: 212-233-0666.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Mandatory fingerprinting for all foreigners entering US airports

There is no more visa free travel into the US. The government has instituted fingerprinting of all foreigners entering the US by air. more...>

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Who are small law firms for? Bush or Kerry?

The Association for trial lawyers says that Bush would be extremely adverse to the ability for lawyers to properly pursue a negligence claim. A representative for the American Tort Reform Association claims that there is little difference between the two candidates. more...>

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Franklin Square father faces deportation

Marcio Garcia, a resident of Franklin Square, Long Island, faces deportation after he and his wife went to the Immigration Service Offices in Garden City for what they thought was a "routine" matter. The case appears to be typical of the U.S. new "zero-tolerance" policy imposed on immigrants post 9/11. more...>

See my new and somewhat improved website: Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Teenagers are killed by Drunk Driver in Westbury, L.I.

The New York Post and New York Daily News reports that four teens were killed early Saturday morning when the vehicle they were traveling in was involved in an accident with a vehicle operated by Gerrard Ganz. Mr. Ganz was charged with driving while intoxicated. more...>

Friday, September 24, 2004

New York City Transit Authority hit with a large verdict, appeal likely.

The New York City Transit Authority was hit with a $28.5 million dollar verdict yesterday. The jury found the conductor negligent when he hit Alice Huang who was stopped picking up her bible. One of her legs was caught between a car and the platform.

The City is likely to appeal the verdict. Unfortunately,it is unlikely that the final settlement amount, which is usually far smaller, will ever be publicized.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Trial lawyer for V.P. Point. Counterpoint.

Champion of the underdog or shark in a suit? How has Kerry's selection of John Edwards impacted the campaign? more...>

Thanks to Ernie the Attorney.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Judge Garson's Court Officer convicted

Louis Salerno, court officer to Brooklyn matrimonial Judge Garson, was convicted of bribery. The judge's clerk, however, was acquitted. This is the first trial regarding the corruption scandal involving the Brooklyn Judge. more...>

Monday, September 20, 2004

US Chamber of Commerce targeting trial lawyers

An advertising campaign "educating the voters of the devasting impact" "these people" have on the American way of life has been cosponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce. Who are these people? Al-Quida? more...>

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Bumper mismatches between cars and SUV's costly

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released a report entitled "Huge Costs of Mismatched Bumpers: When Bumpers on Cars and SUV's Don't Line Up." The study found that even a small impact from an SUV can cause severe damage to a car. more...>

Monday, September 13, 2004

Is there a threat beneath New York City streets?

In 1999, there were 2,062 "manhole incidents" by 2003, that number was 4,602, a 123% increase. Is ConEd doing all it can to keep our city's streets safe? more...>

Thursday, September 09, 2004

House Judiciary Committee approves fines for "frivolous" lawsuits

The Republican controlled House Judiciary Committee approved a bill slapping fines on lawyers who file "frivolous" lawsuits. The Democrats maintain that the bill was a cynical political maneuver intended to highlight lawsuit abuses. The measure would restore mandatory fines for lawsuits deemed frivolous by the judiciary. The cost will probably be the cost of defending the claim.

The bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, however, as many similar measures, such a bill to constrain class action lawsuits, have failed. more...>

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Are ads aimed against trial lawyers legal?

The November Fund, run by Republicans, partly funded by the United States Chamber of Commerce, is set to run ads against trial lawyers. However, the ads may run afoul of campain laws because they target John Edwards. more...>

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Accident News: Family Killed on Tappan Zee Bridge

The New York Times reports that a Long Island family was killed yesterday on the Tappan Zee Bridge. The family, coming home from their summer house in the Hamptons, was struck by a 18 wheel truck. more...>

If you have been involved in an accident, please contact my law office at 212-233-0666.

Friday, September 03, 2004

The importance of Queens

With Manhattan the center of the universe and Brooklyn suddenly hip, Queens is the borough that is often forgotten. Queens today is often remembered as the home of All in the Family's Archie Bunker. However, in many ways, Queens is New York City's most successful outer borough. more...>

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Disgraced lawyer details Judge Garson's "crimes"

Paul Siminovsky, an ex-attorney, testified yesterday that he committed "crimes" in Judge Garson's courtroom. Charges have been recently brought against Brooklyn matrimonial jurist, Judge Garson. The disgraced attorney claims that he paid the judge referral fee's and wined and dined him. The former attorney also contributed thousands of dollars to the judicial election campaign of his wife, Judith Garson. Judge Garson's attorney denies the charges. more....>

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The government's "war" against NYC immigrant neighborhoods

The city's population inhabits two parallel universes: one for citizens, one for everyone else. more...>

Monday, August 30, 2004

Blawg of the Day

Drum roll please..... The Blawg of the Day is Lawyernews. It is frequently updated, today with 13 short links (including a link to this site ... thanks), coupled with three or four more more complete posts.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Immigrant Groups to sue New York State over driver licenses

The New York Times reports today that the Puerto Rican Legal and Educational Defense Fund is planning a class action suit against the State of New York over denying driving licenses to immigrants. more...>

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

H1-B visa's close to cap

In Immigration news, Siskind & Susser report that H1-B visa's for the fiscal year that starts on October 1, 2004 are close to hitting its cap. They report that Congress is unlikely to raise the cap this year, as it is a politically sensitive issue.

Monday, August 23, 2004

GM to recall Aveo vehicles

Do you own a Cheverolet Aveo? General Motors is recalling 32,000 Cheverolet Aveo's because of a potential problem with their rear seat belts. more...>

Friday, August 20, 2004

Second jury finds Ford liable for Explorer rollover

Ford has settled another rollover case involving its SUV Explorer. A federal jury in Forida awarded a victim's family $5.3 million dollars in compensatory damages. However, Ford settled the case for an undisclosed sum before deliberations regarding punative damages. This is the second decision against Ford holding it responsible for the rollover of its Explorer model. more...>

How can one find a listing of Ford Explorer owners in New York State?

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Should illegal immigrants be permitted to drive?

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has started to crackdown on illegal immigrant's driving privileges. In January, New York State started issuing notices to drivers whose social security numbers did not match federal records. One of the purposes of the law is public safety. However, the enforcement of the law may have unintended consequences. DMV clerks are inadequately informed of immigration laws. As a result, there is a possibility that immigrants who are legally being processed through the United States Immigration Service could have their licenses suspending. Additionally, many immigrants need to drive to work. Many will continue to drive, possibly without insurance. Should illegal immigrants be permitted to drive? more...>

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

An overlooked issue regarding tort reform: Abusive litigation by defendants

Conservative politicians and corporate representatives charge that plaintiffs' lawyers--especially plaintiffs' tort lawyers--are abusing the courts by effectively extorting exorbitant awards from the defendants they target. But how about the the problem of defendants wrongfully transferring state cases to federal court? more...>

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Did you miss last night's 11:00 News? Try Current Auto Accident News

Did you miss last night's 11:00 news? In need of a fix of auto accident coverage? Try Current Auto Accident News.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Federal Report links injuries to weak motor vehicle roofs

A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concludes that there is a correlation between roof strength and the likelihood of injury and death in rollover accidents, especially in Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV's). Each year, an estimated 7,000 people are killed or severely injured in rollovers in which the roof is crushed, according to federal statistics. According to the Detroit News, Federal regulators plan to propose stiffer roof standards later this year, creating a showdown between automakers, safety advocates and political officials.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Defective elevator kills one in Manhattan

Newsday reports a horrible accident that occurred yesterday in Manhattan. Carl DeClerq, 56, had been in a decending freight elevator located at Five Times Square, when the cable snapped. He was declared dead at the scene. Apparently, the elevator had a history of violations.

If you or anyone you know have been injured because of a malfunctioning elevator, contact the Law Office of Frederic Abramson.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

If you think it is quiet in New York in August, try Europe

Many lawyers take vacations in August. The courthouses operate on a limited schedule. There is little legal news to report. However, if you think it is quiet in New York in August, try Europe. more...>

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Ford Explorer SUV rated most likely to rollover

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its ratings regarding rollover for all 2004 model vehicles. The Ford Explorer Sport Trac 4x2 was rated the vehicle most likely to rollover. The SUV was the only vehicle that received a two-star rating. The Mazda RX-8 4-DR was the highest rated vehicle in terms of rollover, achieving the only 5 star rating. Complete rollover ratings may be found here.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Sharp decline in jury verdicts reported

The Associated Press reports today that there has been a sharp decline in jury verdicts. Forty years ago, eleven percent of federal civil cases went to verdict. Today it is under two percent. The report is undecided as to whether the decline in jury verdicts is a positive development. more ...>

My view is that the decline in jury verdicts is a positive development. The cost of litigating a case to trial is often staggering. For example, in a personal injury lawsuit, the cost of a doctor testifying as an expert witness is usually $5,000 in New York. Both plaintiff and defendant have to bear the burden of these costs. Additionally, it may take years for a case to be placed on the trial calendar.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Neglect cited in 3 LI assisted living centers

Newsday has been providing excellent coverage uncovering problems with assisted living facilities on Long Island. The newspaper reports today, from information provided by the Freedom of Information Act, that State Health Agency inspections revealed that three assisted living facilities failed to provide adequate health care to its residents.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Litigation drops for US Corporations

The Insurance Journal, a mouthpiece of the insurance industry, reports today that litigation dipped for US corporations overall. However, the focus of the article is on large corporations, where it reports that there has been an increase in litigation. Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. cited as in-house counsel, who conducted the survey. They cited employment/labor disputes as their number one litigation concern, followed by contract disputes, intellectual property and product liability cases.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The City of New York found 100% liable for defective sidewalk

In Queens, a judge found the City of New York 100% liable for the injuries sustained by a plaintiff who slipped and fell on a sidwalk. more...>

Monday, August 02, 2004

The Food Critic Makes a Good Argument

The Legal Times profiles Jeffrey Steingarten, lawyer turned Vogue food critic.

Long Island Accident News: Violist killed

Kevin Chin, a violist who was a passenger in a mini van coming home from a performance on Saturday night, was killed in a violent car accident. more...>

What makes car accidents, such as the above item reported by Newsday newsworthy?

Friday, July 30, 2004

The Impossibility of Citizenship

Does citizenship provide both the explanation and the answer to the subordination of the Native American, alien and Puerto Rican communities in America? more...>

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Rocco ordered out of the Restaurant

After a two day hearing, Judge Gammerman barred  Rocco DiSpirito from entering his namesake eatery. Rocco claims that he is a 50-50 partner in the restaurant with Jeffrey Chodorow.  However, Mr. Chodorow cites that there is no partnership agreement between the two.  Mr. Chodorow claims that he has lost $4.7 million in the venture and may close the restaurant. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Plaintiff's more successful in sudden acceleration suits

An article in this week's Lawyers Weekly discusses the success of plaintiff's lawyers against the car companies in sudden or unintended acceleration lawsuits. Plaintiff lawyers have brought more of the these suits, with increased success, since the proliferation of electronic cruise control systems. more...>

Monday, July 26, 2004

New York City toughens strategy to cut tort liability costs

Crain's New York reports today that Corporation Counsel, the legal arm of the City of New York, have been attempting to cut its tort liability costs.   The results of the new strategy has been mixed.  The number of cases that are going to trial have declined to 136, compared to 210 the previous year.  The City is now settling more cases before trial.  The City is also subcontracting more of its legal work out to more outside counsel.

Recent jury changes have helped the City reduce its liability.  The courts' elimination of all professional exemptions from jury service, and the crackdown on no-shows, is changing the makeup of many juries--often in the city's favor.

In lead paint poisoning cases, it has become harder to sue the City of New York for its perfomance of its inspectors in failing to detect lead paint.

However, the gains are small given the size of the lawsuits brought against the City.  There are currently 36,500 lawsuits pending against the City.

Friday, July 23, 2004

US Immigration Services launches Infopass to New York City Residents

Many of my immigration clients have complained of spending the night waiting in line for hours in front of 26 Federal Plaza in New York City for immigration information.  The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service has announced a new service called Infopass.  According to a press release, the public can go online and schedule a date and time to meet with an officer, without the need for waiting on line.  Information on the specifics of Infopass can be found here.

Ford to add anti-rollover system in response to lawsuits

The Detroit News reports that Ford is adding and anti-rollover system to its 2005 Explorer model.  The move comes as the company has been a target for  SUV lawsuits.  Nationwide, dozens of cases involving Explorer rollovers are before the courts. Last month, a jury slapped Ford with a record $386 million verdict in an Explorer case.


Thursday, July 22, 2004

Is your car subject to a recall? Try the NHTSA

Ever wonder if you car is subject to a recall?  Try the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website.  The site has a recalls search engine that allows searches of the NHTSA Recall Campaigns by single year, make or model. As an option, Vehicle Component may be selected to help narrow the focus of the search.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The number of children killed in driveway accidents surged 57 percent last year

The number of children killed in driveway accidents surged 57 percent last year.  Kids and Cars and Consumers Union said large blind spots in popular trucks and SUVs contributed to many of the 91 deaths.  more...>

Monday, July 19, 2004

Federal auto safety regulators aim to curb car accidents

Federal auto safety regulators — seeking to reverse a troubling rise in highway deaths — are shifting their focus from mandates that allow occupants to survive crashes to emerging technology that will help drivers avoid deadly accidents altogether.  Some are worried collision protection will suffer.  more...>

Ten year old child killed in a car accident on Long Island

The New York Post reports that a ten year old girl was killed last night in a car operated by her mother when a silver car came into contact with her vehicle at the intersection of Coram Mount Sinai Road and County Route 83 in Mount Sinai, Long Island at about 5:30 p.m.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Thinking of having your will prepared? How about an ethical one?

Do you want your loved ones to know about your family history?  Have you made certain decisions about your estate, such as donating a portion of it to charity? Do you have a vision for your heirs' use of their inheritance?  How about an ethical will?  more...>
... or contact my law office at 212-233-0666.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Are the Republicans at war with trial lawyers?

Is John Edwards an economy-draining, ambulance-chasing social pariah, as Republicans and big business claim? more...>

Monday, July 12, 2004

The Science of Reconstructing Car Accidents

Using the law of physics in reverse, can the reconstruction of accidents show whether a driver was using a cell phone? more...>

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Honda recalling vehicles due to faulty transmissions

Honda motor company is recalling 536,950 vehicles, with V-6 engines and 5-speed automatic transmissions. Honda’s recall includes 2003- and 2004-model Accords, 2000- through early 2004-model Acura TL sedans, and 2001- through 2003-model Acura CL's according to Bloomberg news.

New York City Bus and SUV involved in an accident

The New York Daily News reports that 21 people were injured when a New York City Transit Authority bus and a SUV came into contact with each other at Gates and Nostrand Aves. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The article states that the driver of the SUV was probably at fault because it ran a red light.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Brooklyn accident news: Two serious crashes on Eastern Parkway

The New York Daily News reports that there were two serious accidents on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn yesterday. In one accident, the driver, Michael Williams, claims that he was hit by a speeding SUV. Seven of his children were seriously injured.

Later, another SUV came into contact with a seven year old girl on Eastern Parkway.

Monday, June 28, 2004

What do New York City's neighborhood's have on their minds?

To determine which neighborhoods have the most crime, ask the Police Department. But to learn what is on a neighborhood's mind, visit its bookstores. more...>

Con Ed worker dies as manhole cover explodes

Newsday reports that a Con Ed worker died yesterday when a manhole cover exploded. The accident occurred in Yonkers. The cause the accident is under investigation.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Home Safety Council report released regarding home injury costs

The Home Safety Council released a report today stating that employers are spending $38 billion a year for employee's injuries suffered at home. The State of Home Safety in America report found that falls to be the most common fatal home injury, followed by poisonings, fires/burns, choking and suffocation and drowning.

It is of note that one third of the Board of Directors of this group is comprised of employee's of Lowe's.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Reaction to Tort Reform Myths

Peter D. Assail, a medical malpractice attorney wrote the following letter to the New York Times in reaction to a recent editorial by Bob Herbert regarding medical malpactice reform: "Impartial and unimpassioned appellate judges routinely review and reduce excessive jury awards to fair and reasonable amounts. Many indefensible malpractice actions are bitterly fought to the end by doctors and their insurance company-paid lawyers, thereby unnecessarily driving up the costs of litigation.

Dismissive attitudes toward patients and the secretiveness of doctors remain the primary instigating causes of medical malpractice lawsuits. The medical profession may feel in extremis, but true healing always begins from within." More reaction regarding Bob Herbert's piece may be found here.

NYC accident deaths drop dramatically

In the past year, traffic deaths in New York City have declined by 23%. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly attributed this year's drop to increased police enforcement of seatbelt laws. According to the Associated Press, who quoted unnamed "officials," widened sidewalks, longer pedestrian walk signals and the construction of new speed bumps have also helped prevent fatalities.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Another pedestrian injured in Brooklyn on Bay Parkway

Watch your step if you are crossing Bay Parkway. The New York Daily News reports that a 74 year old women was injured on 63rd and Bay Parkway. The paper notes that from 1995 to 2001, there were 202 pedestrian injuries reported on a 1.8-mile stretch of Bay Parkway.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Tort Reform Myths

Tort filings are declining, only 2 percent of injured people sue for compensation, punitive damages are rarely awarded, liability insurance costs for businesses are minuscule, medical malpractice insurance and claims are both less than 1 percent of all health care costs in America, and premium-gouging underwriting practices of the insurance industry have been widely exposed. Does this sound like a call for tort reform? more ...>

Friday, June 18, 2004

Unlicensed driver injures a Queens child

New York Daily News reports that Lavonne Cooke, a 45 women driving a Ford Expedition, critically injured a 14 year old boy when she was attempting to make a left turn. It was later revealed that Ms. Cooke had her license suspended.

Ms. Cooke will likely be sued by the boy and the family for personal injuries. (Obviously, tell the family to contact my law office). Normally, Ms. Cooke's insurance company would defend her in any action brought against her due to the car accident. If Ms. Cooke had automobile insurance at the time of the accident, do you think that the insurance company will provide coverage even though her license was suspended?

More time off between service for jurors

New York Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippmann, who, incidentally, is a huge New York Yankee fan, announced that in New York, the downtime between doing jury duty will be raised from four years to six years. Naively, this reform was launched in the hope New Yorkers might someday actually want to serve on juries.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Ford lawyer apologized to jurors regarding SUV rollover

On June 4, a California jury awarded $369 million dollars to a women who was paralyzed when her Ford Explorer SUV rolled over after she swerved in attempt to avoid a metal object. Obviously, Ford is appealing the verdict. See my June 3 post regarding this case. Contact my law office if you have been involved in a similar accident.

UPI reports today that Ford's attorney in the matter, Anthony Sonnett, basically apologized to the jury stating: "It's impossible not to be angry at Ford Motor Co. for what decisions that in marketing and selling this Ford Explorer it knowingly put a defective product out on the market and caused the family tragedy that you see before you now." I agree with University of Detroit Mercy law professor Gary Maveal in his assessment that this comment may be used as an admission in future lawsuits brought against the automaker.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Weight loss Guru Atkins estate sued over diet, is this a free speech or a junk food issue?

Millions of Americans claim their slim figure was product of the Atkins diet. The estate and company of Dr. Atkins was sued by Jody Gorran,a 53 year old man who claims that the diet raised his cholesterol so much that his arteries became clogged and required a medical procedure to open them (see my May 27 post). While at first glance the Atkins lawsuit looks like a knock-off of the lawsuits against McDonalds, does it really have more to do with free speech than junk food? ... more>>

Monday, June 14, 2004

Latinos account for a disproportionate share of construction accident deaths

Recent construction accidents in Queens and Brooklyn have brought renewed attention to workplace fatalities. The New York Trial Lawyers have published an article entitled "The Scaffold Law: An Essential Protection for Immigrant Construction Workers." The article reports that Latinos account for a disproportionate share of construction accident deaths. In New York City, Latinos account for an amazing 62 percent of workplace deaths.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Is the New York Post biased against Mr. Softee?

Like Greek-motif coffee cups, the Mr. Softee ice cream truck is a part of gotham culture. Lately, these trucks have come under attack as part of Mayor Bloomberg's "new plan to reduce the cacophony in the big, brawling, brash city."

The New York Post today reports on $50 million dollar personal injury suit brought against Mr. Softee. The papers fails to note that the suit was brought over a year and a half ago and nothing newsworthy is presently occurring on the case. What does the New York Post have against Mr. Softee?

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Chowdrow to Rocco, You're Fired!

Today's New York Daily News reports that Jeffrey Chowdrow, owner of Rocco's on 22nd, has banned uber-cher Rocco DiSpirito from the restaurant. The feud between the two has received much press and was subject to the NBC reality show "The Restaurant."

Justice Ira Gammerman, who is presiding over a civil lawsuit between the two, has required Mr. DiSpirito to have prior consent from the court before entering the eatery.

Follow the paperwork and check for future court appearances regarding the litigation on e-law or the New York State Unified Court System website. The matter is pending in New York Supreme Court, index number 600336/2004.

For more on the dispute, see my April 6th and April 20th posts.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Construction accident in Queens crushes worker

A six foot foundation at a construction site located in Elmhurst, Queens killed one worker and injured two others. The New York Times reports that the developer of the site, Yong Fa Cai, and his company, USA Heng Tai Inc., were accused of failing to provide protection for their workers. The contractor on the site was Rotondo Contracting.

The man who was killed at the construction site was an immigrant from Shanghai. The man's immigrant status does not preclude his family from bringing a wrongful death lawsuit.

If you or anyone you know has been injured in a construction office, please contact the Law Office of Frederic R. Abramson.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Cell phone maker held not responsible for negligence in auto crashes

Imagine, driving your car, minding your business, when another driver, using his cell phone, comes into contact with your vehicle. In New York State, operators of motor vehicles are prohibited from using their cell phones when driving. Is the cell phone maker responsible for the accident?

The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that Cingular Wireless, a cell phone maker, is not responsible for the negligence of a driver who was using a cell phone at the time of an accident. To my knowledge, New York State has not ruled on this issue.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Scores sued again over $130,000 bill

The high end Strip club Scores, a favorite of Howard Stern, has been sued for taking advantage of its customers. Last week an insurance executive sued the club. Today, Newsday reports that the husband of a diplomat from Bangladesh claims that the club "took advantage of his intoxicated state" and billed him for $130,000. It appears that the New York Times is behind the proverbial eight ball again, as it failed to report on this matter.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Jury verdict of $123 million against Ford in SUV rollover

A California jury has awarded $123 million to a women paralyzed two years ago when the Ford Explorer she was driving rolled over. The jury returned the verdict against Ford, finding it liable for a design defect that caused the Ford Explorer to malfunction.

This is the first jury verdict that Ford has lost regarding the rollover issue. For more on SUV litigation, see my May 31, 2004 post.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

New York State Legislature to consider new Labor Law bill

In New York, Labor Law Section 240 governs injuries at a worksite. Under the New York labor law, an owner or contractor can be held responsible for a workers injuries only when the failure to provide proper safety equipment was a cause of the injury and not when the sole proximate cause was the worker's own action. A new bill, under consideration by the New York State Legislature, would place a comparative negligence standard regarding Labor Law section 240.

Read the New York Trial Lawyers view of Labor Law Sec. 240 here. If you have been injured at a contruction site, contact my office.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Bronx church mourns deaths in bus crash

The New York Times, New York Post, New York Daily News and Newsday all report on a church bus crash in Canada that killed three people and injured forty others. The victims were members of the Gospel Assembly Church located at 3821 Bronxwood Avenue in Williamsbridge. Please contact the church at (718) 405-2420 to donate any money.

The New York Daily News reports that the accident was caused by a coffee cup being lodged under the brake pedal. Based on preliminary reports, the owner of the van appears to be the responsible party for this accident.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Automakers subject to personal injury lawsuits

The New York Times reports that at least a dozen lawsuits have been filed against automakers on the grounds that "it made a car it knew it was not safe enough to survive collisions with its other products, namely large pickups and sport utilities." These "compatibility" lawsuits often name the maker who made the smaller car claiming that it was not built to withstand the impact of the large SUV's. Another approach has been to sue the maker of the larger SUV, claiming that the vehicle was designed in a way that was needlessly unsafe.

In New York, I am not aware of any plaintiff's firms that have named an automaker as a defendant in an automobile accident lawsuit. I handle hundreds of automobile cases a month of counsel to other law firms, none named an automaker.

Suing the carmaker provides the benefit of an additional deep pocket to pay claims. However, these compatibility lawsuits can be costly because it would require hiring additional experts to prove the design defect was a cause in the accident. The most likely situation where the automaker would be named as a party is where a passenger has both severe injuries, for example multiple back surgeries, coupled with either poor liability (ie the driver who was injured caused the accident) or a small insurance policy.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Diet Guru Atkins estate and company sued over diet

The estate and company of Dr. Atkins was sued by Jody Gorran,a 53 year old man who claims that the diet raised his cholesterol so much that his arteries became clogged and required a medical procedure to open them.

The lawsuit is likely to be dismissed before trial. I agree with the analysis of professor Benjamin Zipursky, who teaches torts and product liability law, who was quoted stating that Tort law generally does not permit a cause of action or lawsuit based on bad theories put out in a book, and most courts would recognize a valid First Amendment defense here.

What duty do you think a book or diet have to warn of its potential dangers?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

New York Police Department fails to help deportation sweep of immigrants

The New York Police Department backed out of a massive deportation sweep of criminal immigrants. In a turf war with the Department of Homeland Security, the Police department claims that it does not have the resources to conduct the operation. It also appears that the NYPD is worried about their image regarding New York City's large immigrant population.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Networking for Referrals

When confronted with a legal matter outside my practice areas, my law firm refers cases to other attorneys. This article, posted in the ABA Journal, provides advice to lawyers on what you need to know when referring cases.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Thank you Law Pundit for RSS feed information

Thanks to Andis Kaulins, who publishes the blog Law Pundit, this site now has a RSS feed.

New York Accident News

As a personal injury attorney, I am always looking to help people who have been injured in accidents. However, because of laws against "ambulance chasing," I cannot directly contact people who are known to have been in an accident. So here is an indirect appeal.

The New York Post reports today that Hasidic girls from Brooklyn were injured in a bus accident. If any of your children were involved in this accident and were injured please contact my office.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Insurance executive has a Score to settle

The New York Daily News leads with this important article regarding the high end strip club Scores in Manhattan. An insurance executive, out for a night of champagne and lap dances, is suing the club for $28,000.00 that he claims was improperly billed to his credit card. The New York Post reports that the plaintiff is Mitchell Blaser, the chief financial officer of Swiss Re's Americas unit. The club maintains that the charges were all legitimate. Suprisingly, the New York Times failed to report on this matter.

One killed, two hurt in partial B'klyn building collapse

One worker was killed and two others were injured today in Brooklyn in a building collapse. Who do you think is responsible for the accident?

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

$2 million dollars awarded for false confession

In New York, a Central Islip jury awarded Shonnard Lee $2 million dollars against the Nassau County police department for a false confession. Mr. Lee spent 21 months in jail awaiting trial. The jury found that the police duped Mr. Lee into signing a card indicating that Lee waived his right to remain silent and his right to have an attorney present. The county's attorney's office plans to appeal the verdict.

Do you think that the jury awarded too much, too little or just the right amount of money to Mr. Lee?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Blawg of the day

New York Civil Law is a blog about "New York Appellate Law, Civil Procedure, Insurance Coverage and Defense and other interesting issues." The website is geared to lawyers. The anonymous author is an associate at the Albany, New York office of Goldberg Segalla LLP.

Please send me an email regarding any blogs of interest.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Schwarzenager wants California to tax punitive damages

The governor of California has proposed to tax 75 percent on all punitive damage awards. New York State and the federal government do not tax punitive damages.

Punitive damages are awarded to punish defendants and to set an example. Often reduced on appeal, these damages often make headlines because of the record sums that are awarded. Although I did not read the decision, I am sure that a $195 million dollar judgment that was recently awarded against the City of New York to a child that was bullied(see April 28th posting) was comprised mostly of punitive damages.

Read this article for reaction regarding the proposal. Do you think punitive damages should belong to the state or to the individual?

Friday, May 14, 2004

There are more drivers on the road, who are you most likely to run into? A Student? A Librarian? A Lawyer?

Imagine siting in your car, waiting for the light to change. Suddenly, you feel a hard impact to the rear of your car. You exit your vehicle. Who do you expect to be behind the wheel of that large automobile that just came into contact with you? A Student? A Librarian? A Lawyer? A recent study performed by the Quality Planning Commission has found that the two professions most likely to be helpful following an accident, doctors and lawyers, were most likely to be involved in the accident itself. Not suprisingly, students top the list as the occupation most likely to be involved in an accident. What makes attorneys so accident prone?
(Sorry about the shameless plug, but remember, after the accident, call my law office)

Thursday, May 13, 2004

New York State investigating assisted living facilities

Americans are increasingly mobile and medical advances have improved our life expectancy. These two trends have resulted in more people living into their advanced years, but without the nearby family system that once provided both medical and social supports. To fill this void, assisted living facilities have been taking care of an increasing proportion of our seniors.

Newsday reports that New York State health officials are probing three Long Island assisted living facilities for problems ranging from failing to report a resident's death to inadequate supervision after three elderly women with dementia wandered away from their centers.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

New York City may be liable for student's fatal death due to beating

A teenager back in 1996 was beaten to death in a New York City school yard. The court of appeals ruled today that the City of New York may be liable for his death. Just last week, a jury in Queens awarded a judgment to a teenager for $195 million dollars after they found that the City did nothing to stop the abuse(see my post of April 28, 2004). Who do you think should be responsible for violence in our schools? Should kids hire Ricky Linderman, from the 1980 teen classic "My Bodyguard" to protect them?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

NYC Rent board to raise rents

The New York City Rent Control Board has proposed to raise rents from 3 to 3.5 percent for one year leases and from 5.5 to 7.5 percent for two year leases.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Martha Stewart to argue against prison sentence as it will hurt jobs

Domestic diva Martha Stewart was recently convicted on all counts in the ImClone obstruction trial. Her attorneys are planning to argue that she should not receive a jail sentence as it will hurt jobs. Do her attorneys have any legal basis for their argument?

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Is torture ever justified?

Photographs of American soldiers appearing to brutulize Iraqi prisoners were released this week. Amnesty International charges that the alleged abuse were war crimes. Is torture ever justified?

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Dermatologist "Dr. Z" placed on probation for negligence

Anyone who frequently rides the New York City subway is well acquainted with Dr. Z, New York dermatologist Dr. Jonathan Zimor. His rainbow advertisements promising beautiful skin is placed throughout the subway system. According to the New York Post, he was fined $40,000 and placed on probation for three years for failing to perform adequate medical histories and physical exams on nine patients.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

New York City shielded from punitive damages for sexual harassment

Strike up another victory for the City of New York. The Court of Appeals ruled that the NYC's human rights law does not allow a victim of sexual harassment to collect punitive damages against NYC. This decision only applies to the City of New York.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

New York Civil Small Claims Court receives a C grade by a legal reform group

The ethical esq. reports on interesting report on Small Claims Courts released today by a "legal reform" group named HALT. New York State received a C grade. The report on New York, found here, is notable for its superficial analysis of the problems of the small claims court system.

From: David Giacalone at prof. yabut's journal: Thanks for linking to my posting. I had the same reaction that the NYS summary is superficial (maybe even a bit silly). However, HALT's overall perspective on small claims courts (and the limitations in NYS, where I live), as seen on the site, seems quite accurate.

Monday, May 03, 2004

$1 billion dollar verdict in Fen-Phen Suit

A Texas jury returned a verdict of $1 billion dollars in a wrongful death suit against the makers of the weight loss drug Fen-Phen. The award will likely be reduced because Texas, unlike New York State, where I maintain my law practice, has a statutory cap on punitive damages.

For a positive view of Fen-Phen, read It Must Have Been Something I Ate: The Return of the Man Who Ate Everything by Vogue food writer Jeffrey Steingarten.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Some Charges are dismissed against Brooklyn family court judge

Judge Garson, a matrimonial judge in Brooklyn, has been charged with corruption. In a case that has received national press, Judge Garson, not to be confused by his brother, Kings County Supreme Court Judge Michael Garson, has been accused of accepting "money and gifts in exchange for giving preferential treatment" to a lawyer. Today, the judge presiding over the case dismissed six felony counts of receiving awards for official misconduct. However, the court ruled that he must still stand trial for the most serious charge of receiving bribes.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Bloomingdales opens in Soho

George Packer, in his critique of bloggers in Mother Jones, notes that they "are ... nearly without exception men."

Perhaps blogs are not focusing enough attention on attracting female readers. I will attempt to correct this by providing this public service announcement. According to this month's New York County Law Association E-News bulletin, Bloomingdale’s SoHo opened on April 24. The six-story store, which is located at 504 Broadway (between Spring and Broome Streets) and occupies a full city block, is one of the few department stores in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Bullied New York City student is awarded $195 million

A preppy 11 year old boy was teased for three years. The city did nothing to stop the abuse. Finally, on June 9, 1999, the boy was tripped at a Public School and suffered head injuries and a broken wrist. A Queens jury awarded $195 million dollars to the boy who was bullied. The jury found the city liable because they did nothing to stop the abuse.

Anyone who has been teased for a number of years in public school in New Yorik and the school did nothing to stop the teasing should contact my law office immediately.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

New test program gets tough with immigrants

Currently, immigrants who have an immigration appeal are free to remain in the United States. Under a new pilot program conducted in Atlanta and Denver called Operation Compliance, those who are awaiting appeal must either post a bond or be held in detention. Do you think this is fair?

Monday, April 26, 2004

NYC new lead paint law to take effect in August

Lead poisoning causes harm to hundreds of children in New York City each year. A new law, to take effect in NYC in August, requires tougher standards for removal of lead paint, including dust. According to the New York Times, owners of building built before 1960 must identify all children under the age of 7 living inside their premises. The Bloomberg administration states that the law will be costly, requiring the city to pay an estimated $315 million dollars over the next four years to accommodate the new law.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Understanding Arab Anti-Americanism

Hosni Mubarek, the Egyptian president since the assassination of Anwar Sedat over 25 years ago, believes that "because of the war in Iraq and Washington's continued support of Israel, hatred of Americans in the Arab world had reached new heights." Do the Arab's dislike America any more now than in 1958?

Friday, April 23, 2004

Dennis Kennedy's tech weblog roundup

Dennis Kennedy, posts in his weblog today an excellent summary of law tech blogs.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Is the U.S losing its technological edge because of its immigration policies?

The Department of Homeland Security has made it tougher for foreigners to obtain work visas. Talented foreigners, rather than coming to America are now studying in Western Europe and even China. Thomas Friedman, in the New York Times argues that immigration policy is leading to a two-fold disaster. The US talent pool is being diminished because the cream of the crop of foreign students are no longer studying here. The next techological Yao Ming may stay in China instead of bringing his skills to the US. Additionally, foreigners who work and/or study in the US, when they return home, usually take American ideas back home.

Therefore, it appears that the Department of Home Security needs to do a better job in screening applicants for visas. For example, there is little national security risk in permitting Indians from working in the U.S. in the technology sector.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Helpful Websites for Personal Injury Litigation in New York

The New York Trial Lawyers Institute provided a helpful list of websites that are useful for plaintiff's personal injury litigation:

Isonet is a fee based service that provides background information regarding your client. For example, you can ascertain whether they have been involved in any prior lawsuits, the insurance carrier involved and more.

New York City Housing Preservation and Development provides a wealth of information on owners of buildings, violations and tenant complaints.

New York City Department Buildings website provides a veritable cornucopia of information regarding various types of complaints in New York City Buildings. This site is helpful for lead paint violations.

Public Data Corporation provides a database for New York City Real Estate Records. Here, if you or your client tripped on the a sidewalk, you can find out who is responsible for the sidewalk.

Wherever repair work is being conducted throughout the City of New York, chances are that the City hired an outside contractor. The Department of Design and Construction lists work being repaired by the City of the New York.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Follow up on Coor's liability following a drunk driving accident

Anthony Sebok, a law professor at Brooklyn Law School concludes in Writ that there is probably no legal basis for the mother to sue Coor's based on her son's death. He believes that the suit serves the "useful purpose" to remind society that advertising is powerful. I think that the useful purpose of the lawsuit was to provide the mother's attorney free publicity.

Rocco DiSpirito and Jeffrey Chodorow: What is reality? What is publicity?

Rocco DiSpirito and his financier, Jeffrey Chodorow are currently embroiled in litigation involving their restaurant, Rocco's on 22nd Street. This week's New York Magazine provides a colorful background piece regarding the feud. For more information on the dispute, look at my April 6 post.

Amtrack, LIRR Trains Collide in Penn Station: 130 Injured

An empty Amtrack train came into contact with the rear of a LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) train during the beginning of the morning rush yesterday. If you were injured during this accident, and you hired my office to represent you, we would certainly bring an action against both Amtrack and the LIRR. Do you know who insures Amtrack and/or the LIRR?

Monday, April 19, 2004

Should Immigrants be permitted to vote?

Should Immigrants be permitted to vote? Yes or No? Why can't Arnold Swartzenegger run for President?

Mother sues Coors for death of her underage son

A 19 year old man drinks more than a few Coors beers at a party. He then takes his girfriend's car and dies when he hits a pole driving 90 mph. The mother brings an action against Coors blaming them for the death of her son. Should Coors be responsible for the death of underage drinkers because they "glorify the culture of youth, sex and glamour while hiding the dangers of alcohol abuse and addiction?"

Friday, April 16, 2004

Man has heart attack in New York City while being issued a parking summons

The City of New York has recently been sued by a family who blames a "meter maid" for failing to help a man who was suffering a heart attack while issuing a ticket. Does the City of New York have a duty to help the man if they were aware of his condition?

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Batmobile subject to recall

Do you or your children enjoy playing with batman's batmobile? Tell Robin to watch out when Batman is driving because the right tail may be hazardous to young children. Mattel is recalling batman's batmobile because four children have received medical treatment due to this defect.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Is the internet a powerful force for democracy?

The internet has been available to the masses since the mid 1990's. Academics, world leaders and business people, among others, have argued that spread of information through the internet has been a powerful force in democracy. But has the internet been successful in toppling tyranny?

Monday, April 12, 2004


In 2000, the United States Civil Rights Commission found that the New York Police Department used racial profiling. However, is Racial stereotyping ever acceptable? Matt Herrington explores the issue in his new book "Profiles, Probabilities and Stereotypes."

Sunday, April 11, 2004


In the business section of today's New York Times, there is an interesting report on the ongoing debate regarding whether there is a housing bubble. This article fails to address the issue regarding a potential bubble in the New York City region.

On the Commercial front, the "gray lady" reports that rents in Times Square have been skyrocketing.

The New York Post reports about Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, some see as the "new" Park Slope. However, there is a lack of true deals in the area, and the commute can often take more than an hour into Manhattan.

Newsday reports that there has been a slight upturn in interest rates. The article states that "experts" do not believe that this is a sign of an accelation to come.

Difficulty with RSS

I have attempted to make this site RSS compatible. Unfortunately, I have been unable to do so. Please email me with any suggestions.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Planes or Trains?

Many who travel between New York City and Washington D.C. face a decision whether to journey by plane or by train. But which mode of transportation is safer? The answer is in today's Slate.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Most valuable word on the internet

According to Yahoo, American Idol is the most popular search on the internet. However, the popular Fox talent show is not the most valuable words on the internet. The A.P. reports that Mesothelioma may be the most valuable word on the Internet. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is linked to asbestos exposure. Personal Injury lawyers have been paying top dollar to be placed high on search results for this type of cancer.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

In Iraq, the United States have been hiring independent contractors that work within a gray area, performing both civilian and governmental duties. These contractors are not included in U.S. casualty lists. Recently, four of these contractors in Iraq were murdered. Are the perpetrators of this crime subject to the death penalty if they are tried in Iraq? Philip Carter doesn't think so.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

According to the World Health Organization, road crashes are the second leading cause of death globally among young people aged five to 29 and the third leading cause of death among people aged 30 to 44 years. In a report released today,the WTO predicts that car accidents will be third leading cause of death and disability in the world by 2020. The study places blame on the increase in the number of drivers in developing counties.
The trial of two Tyco executives concluded last week in a mistrial. Many blame juror number 4. Legal experts weigh in on the Tyco trial’s infamous obstructionist, Juror No. 4. Below the fold, on the front page of the New York Times, is an interview with Ruth B. Jordan, former lawyer and Juror No. 4. Learn more about reprosecution following a mistrial here.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Litigation at Rocco's on 22nd in New York City

The legal dispute between Rocco DiSpirito and the investor's of his restaurant, Rocco's on 22nd, is heating up. The investor's claim that they lost over $3 million charging Rocco DiSipirito with having "failed to provide food and service of sufficient quality" at his new Italian red sauce eatery. Today, in a typical legal maneuver. Mr. DiSpirito, celebrity chef, tv personality,and cookbook author countersued "accusing them(his investors) of cooking the eatery's books and then cutting him out of the business in a dispute over earnings."
In this week's episode of the Soprano's, the FBI asked for permission to place a "bug" on an informant, Adriana. Is this legal? John Gotti's lawyer discusses his answer here.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Donald Trump is attempting to register the trademark for the phrase "You're fired" that he uses in his "reality" show "The Apprentice." According to the National Law Journal, The Donald does not appear to be the first to claim ownership to the phrase. Do you think that the United States Patent and Trademark Office should grant ownership for such a common phrase?

Friday, April 02, 2004

Law, Current Events and Culture is reviewed in Ernie the attorney's weekly roundup of new blogs.
In my practice as a personal injury lawyer, I often represent clients who are in need of cash. Personal Injury attorneys are prohibited from loaning money to clients in contigency fee cases. Companies are now filing the void and are loaning money in such cases, often taking a huge payment when settlement is received. My Shingle dissects the following report: Firms Lend Money to People in Legal Disputes; Repayment Contingent on Outcome

Thursday, April 01, 2004

In London, one of the latest trends is pubs serving inventive food for punters out for a bender. These pubs are called "Gastro-Pubs." New York magazine favorably reviews Spotted Pig, Manhattan's first gastro pub.
On March 19, 2004, this blog raised the issue as to whether the FCC's rules regarding indecency apply to Oprah. The New York Post reports today that the FCC is probing a recent episode of Oprah dealing with the sexual practices of teenagers.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Recently, an error by Verizon may have caused New York City's 911 system to fail. Elsie Grier claims that her husband, who subsequently died of a heart attack, would still be alive if it wasn't for the malfunction. Is Verizon liable for his death?

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

In New York City, the Taxi and Limousine has decided to raise taxi fares 20%. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with a cab, they are normally insured with a minimum policy of $25,000 per passenger. The TLC should require cabs to have a $50,000 minimum per passenger policy limit.

Monday, March 29, 2004

If you think ambulance chasing is bad,criminal lawyers are now using database technology to fish for new clients. CNN reports that criminal attorneys have been using jail e-mail lists to solicit new clients. Lawyers who defend speeding tickets in North Carolina are able to subscribe to Personal injury attorneys in North Carolina can register at this site for a fee.
Do you think it is a good idea to combine a store selling olive oil, bath products and Mediterranean food in Soho? Olivier Baussan thinks so.
The New York Times, AM New York and AP report that the smoking ban has not hurt nyc restaurants. Do you think a smoking ban will work in Ireland?

Friday, March 26, 2004

Currently damages awarded in a contingency fee case are not subject to taxation. The Supreme court is considering to revisit the issue in its next session.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Many are worried about corruption in the Brooklyn Court System. A videotape has been leaked showing Judge Garson receiving $1,000 in cash from a lawyer.
If you want to gain a greater understanding of globalization, read Benjamin Barber's 1992 essay in The Atlantic Jihad v. McWorld.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Do you think is it a crime when a hockey player breaks his opponents neck? David Schultz doesn't think so.
Looking for Asian "Street Food" in New York City? Amanda Hesser reviews Jean-Georges latest creation.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

A subway heater set a girl's pants on fire. The MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority)states that a wire that was intentionally placed on a heater underneath her seat was the cause of the accident. Do you think the city is liable for the injuries she may have sustained?
A British publisher has refused to publish a book regarding the relationship between the Bush's and the House of Saud. The publisher claims that it is worried about potential libel suits. Do you think a publisher in New York should be worried about publishing the same book?

Monday, March 22, 2004

Sheik Ahmed Yassin, spiritual leader and founder, has been killed. Analysis can be found in the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz. The BBC on Israel's policy of targeted killings.

For a different take, look at the Guardian.

Check Findlaw to find the section of U.S. law regarding assassignations.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Own a Jaguar or a Land Rover? Due to a problem in brake performance, your car may be subject to a recall.
Is the "new" Times Square all part of Rudy's grand plan to make New York safe?
The New York Times surveys the Real Estate market in the New York Metropolitan area. Bottom line, demand is soaring, interest rates are low and supply is generally low. As a result, property values have been rising.

Friday, March 19, 2004

The FCC's new interpretation of indecency has resulted in fines for NBC and Howard Stern. Read the transcript of the FCC notice. Salon's view is here. Do the same rules apply to Oprah?
I am currently reading How the Scots Invented the Modern World.
Looking for the best cheescake in New York? Do you think Junior's tops the bill? See what a month of research by Ed Levine reveals here
Looking to Network online. Check out Ryze. My page can be found here

Friday, March 12, 2004

Do you know who the first lawyer in New York was? It wasn't Frederic Abramson. Read about the "new" hero of New Amesterdam in this book review
Do you own a Toyota Camry, Camry Solara and Lexus ES300? The government is investigating a sudden acceleration problem
Do you have a question regarding civil litigation in New York? You can email me:
Mob experts discuss and dissect each episode of this season's Soprano's in Slate
You be the lawyer. Does Martha Stewart felony conviction preclude her from performing her job duties at her company. Read the contract here
Do you have a legal case in New York and would like to check its status? You can do so here
What is Mod Oz cuisine? Do you know your bush tucker from your yabbies? Read about it here