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This morning, a terrible tragedy occurred as a crane collapsed in TriBeCa around 8:30 A.M. Early reports indicate that at least one person has been fatally injured, and two others have sustained serious injuries.

The massive crane, operated by Bay Crane, now lays down the path of Worth Street stretching from West Broadway to Church Street.

It appears the crane was working on 60 Hudson Street, a longtime industrial building undergoing renovation to luxury apartments. The crane was parked on Worth Street.

This busy lower Manhattan neighborhood is home to New York Law School, and various other State and City offices and agencies, as well as many private businesses.

The impact crushed many cars along the street and has caused a water main break and a possible gas main break. Emergency crews are on site, along with City and Con Edison officials. The gas lines are being checked, and the stability of the buildings struck by the crane is being checked by the Department of Buildings.

Unfortunately, this is not the first major crane collapse in the New York City area to occur in recent times. With the vast expansion and revitalization of certain neighborhoods, such as TriBeCa, the sight of cranes climbing as high as 20 stories in the sky is common.

Those who are responsible for the placement, operation, management, inspection and control of these cranes must uphold their duty to ensure that these types of tragedies don’t occur.

Leav & Steinberg has successfully litigated and obtained full and fair compensation injuries sustained in a crane collapse which occurred in New York City in 2008. Cases such as this require early representation to ensure that rights are protected. It is critical to seek legal counsel early on to protect a potential claim.

Sources

http://abc7ny.com/news/crane-collapses-in-tribeca;-1-dead-2-seriously-injured/1188104/

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2016/02/05/lower-manhattan-crane-collapse/

http://pix11.com/2016/02/05/breaking-crane-falls-on-cars-in-financial-district/

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So, imagine this scenario. A father and his family, wife and three kids, head off for a wonderful weekend of skiing. All is well, and the weather is good. On the first morning, they ski for four hours. When they decide to go in for lunch, the dad realizes his watch has fallen off and is gone… He searches the area in which he is standing, checks his jacket and gloves hoping it fell off into his clothing; no luck.

Now, if it was a G-Shock or a Timex, maybe even an Apple watch, that would be one thing. In fact, surely some tracking system exists for an Apple watch to be found. Thank god for modern technology.

This lost watch, however, is a Bremont Terranova: a limited edition of 300 watches, made to memorialize the British Polar explorer Ben Saunders, who made the first completion of Scott’s expedition (1795 miles from the coast of Antarctica to the South pole and back) wearing a Bremont Terranova. The dad is devastated and of course reports the watch to lost and found. Days go by and still no luck. He is resigned to the fact that the watch is lost.

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LEAV & STEINBERG, L.L.P. is proud to announce that Vincent Provenzano will be starting as an associate at the firm on Monday, January 11, 2016. His bio is as follows.

Vincent F. Provenzano joined Leav and Steinberg in 2016. Vincent brings with him more than a decade of refined legal experience, writing and courtroom skills that he has honed in order to provide his clients with the best representation in each unique case. Vincent has dedicated his entire career to serving the needs of others by acting as a passionate advocate for the seriously injured and continues to strive to provide a strong voice for those individuals in need who cannot speak for themselves. Vincent’s legal practice focuses on a wide range of personal injury matter including premises liability, Labor Law accidents, medical malpractice, products liability and transportation litigation. He has successfully handled many personal injuries matters from the inception of a case through settlement and trial, and takes great pride in developing lost lasting relationships and bringing justice to each client he helps. Vincent remains focuses and determined to meet the individual needs of each one his clients through a critical analysis of the law, understanding the legal strategy of each case and needs of his clients, and through zealous representation in the courtroom.

Vincent resides in Staten Island, New York.

Education JD, St. John’s University, 2003 BA, College of the Holy Cross, 2000
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice NY Supreme and Appellate Courts, 2004 Federal Court (Eastern and Southern Districts), 2004 United States of America Supreme Court, 2014
Professional & Bar Association Memberships Columbia Lawyers

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LEAV & STEINBERG, L.L.P. is proud to announce that Vincent Provenzano and Edward Averbuch have joined the firm as Associates. Edward’s bio is as follows.

Edward joined Leav & Steinberg LLP in 2016, bringing with him years of experience in personal injury and other matters. He graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2004, and obtained his law degree from New York Law School in 2008. While in law school, Edward interned in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. After graduating law school, Edward practiced law in Miami, Florida, before returning to New York to practice personal injury law in New York City.

Edward has successfully represented clients in State and Federal Courts. His experience includes trials, alternative dispute resolution, motion practice, court appearances, drafting pleadings and handling discovery. He has successfully resolved cases by negotiating settlements and advocating on behalf of his clients. He has vast experience working with insurance companies to settle cases for his clients.

In addition to being admitted to practice law in the state Courts of New York and Florida, Edward is admitted to practice law in the United States District Court – Eastern District of New York, United States District Court – Southern District of New York, and United States District Court – Southern District of Florida.

Education JD, New York Law School, 2008 BA, University of Connecticut, 2004
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice New York , 2009 Florida, 2009
Professional & Bar Association Memberships American Association for Justice New York State Bar Association New York State Trial Lawyers Association
Vincent’s bio will follow. He will be in the office starting on Monday, January 11, 2016.

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On October 30, 2015, at approximately 10:38AM, the building under construction at 25 West 38th Street, New York, New York collapsed, resulting in the death of a laborer. There were about 19 workers inside the building that was in the process of being demolished in order to start construction on a luxury hotel at the site. The injured laborer and the body of the killed worked remained trapped underneath the partially collapsed building while emergency workers tried to reach them. The two top floors collapsed and the workers were trapped inside. Reports indicate the support wall collapsed falling directly onto the workers. Their efforts were hampered as the construction site was not stable and needed to be shored up.

Labor Law § 240(1), a New York State statute, imposes upon owners and general contractors a non-delegable duty to provide proper and adequate safety devices to afford protection to construction workers working on a building or structure subject to elevation-related hazards. No matter how stringent the safety standards are in New York regarding construction, all construction laborers are at risk every single day while on the job.

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As a trial attorney I am often contacted by client’s who request my opinion on whether their chid’s accident in a playground was due to negligence. They ask questions like, was there enough supervision? Did the children have enough instruction on how to use the equipment? Aren’t monkey bars dangerous generally?

Often the answer results in my firm not pursuing the case. Kids do get hurt. Sometime’s accidents happen. However, recently I was contacted by a wonderfully nice family and presented with an interesting case.

Their six year old son who was in first grade at the time, had fallen off a piece of equipment during school in the playground. He described the equipment as monkey bars. In fact, the school incident report also stated he fell from the monkey bars. He told me he was jumping off and landed hard on his elbow on the mat below. He had a fracture to his elbow that would require percutaneous pinning which is when a doctor places a pin through the skin to allow the bone to heal. The pin is removed a few weeks later when the bone has calcified.

At first I advised the family, that based on those facts it would seem very difficult if not impossible to bring a case against the school for negligence. Kids play, there are monkey bars and falling from them, absent a design or construction defect would likely not be a case. Especially in Staten Island, a very conservative county.

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On June 10, 2015, at 9:35AM, in the Manhattan-bound tube of the Lincoln Tunnel, a NJ Transit bus carrying 60 people rear-ended a privately owned charter bus carrying middle-school students going on a class sightseeing trip. Passengers on the NJ Transit bus described the impact as heavy and violent, as the NJ Transit bus driver traveling 30 miles per hour plowed into the rear of the school charter bus which was stopped in traffic. On scene reports tell that the NJ Transit bus driver wasn’t paying attention as he hurdled towards stopped vehicles.

Commuters were instantly screaming, and scrambling to help others following the impact. First responders needed to saw open the door of the NJ transit bus.

The accident shut-down the center tube of traffic as injured passengers, and a pregnant woman in labor needed to be evacuated for medical treatment. Numerous passengers were screaming of pain as they hit their faces, and had their bodies jolted following the impact. Many people were bloodied from the impact and others complained that they suffered broken noses. Passengers described the violent impact and chaotic scene as first responders were on scene. 4 people were taken from the scene on stretchers, with 21 people being taken to Bellevue Hospital.

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It was with great anger that I read the article from the NY Times discussing a South Carolina man who was fatally shot by a police officer after being pulled over for a broken taillight on his vehicle. As Walter Scott the driver was outside the vehicle, a scuffle ensued. Certainly we would expect the officer to use that force necessary. However, due to video captured by a bystander, Mr. Scott is seen running away, when Officer William Slager fires multiple shots at him when he is at least 15-20 feet away. What is captured on video next is terrible.

The officer approaches Mr. Scott see that he has been wounded, handcuffs him, but then walks back to where the vehicle was, picks up his Taser gun and drops it right at the foot of a dying Mr. Scott. This, he hoped, would be his alibi that he feared for his safety and that Mr. Scott had used the Taser on him and fled with it.

Officer Slager is being charged with murder.

The brazen acts of this officer are both shocking and upsetting. It reminded me of the matter in which my firm, Leav & Steinberg, LLP is representing the Estate of Eddie Fernandez who was killed by NYPD Office McClain in August 2012. At that moment, Eddie was riding away on his dirt bike, when officer McClain, who had already used his police vehicle to strike one dirt bike rider, makes a U-turn and crosses into oncoming traffic and strikes the back of Eddie’s dirt bike with his vehicle. Clearly using his vehicle as a deadly weapon. Eddie died as a result of the very serious injuries sustained. A young man, who had taken care of his mother was gone. The distraught family has sought criminal and civil charges against Officer McClain and also Federal Civil Rights violations against the officer and the NYPD.

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Appeals coming to fruition now were in the making long before 2015 arrived and the New York Appellate Courts have already decided thirty or so snow and ice cases this year. Many more will be coming. As we prepare for the next big storm that’s coming, let’s examine some general legal issues. For purposes of this blog, we will stick to the basics and not assess each and every fact in detail (quite unlike what this firm does when prosecuting real cases). We will also point out the major caveat that each and every case is unique. A case’s existence and outcome will vary based on a multitude of factors that will not be fully explained in this blog.

Envision this. You are a young attorney who is preparing for trial. On your way to the office last Saturday morning, you slip on the marble floor of your large office building lobby, sustaining serious injuries. Unfortunately for your injuries, there is no case. A vestibule floor that was inherently slippery due to its smoothness is not an actionable defect. See e.g. Beceren v. Joan Realty, LLC, 2015 NY Slip Op 00324 (2nd Dept. 2015).

Next scenario. It’s still Saturday. You receive a surprise flower delivery, but since your office is technically closed and the firm’s secretary is not working, you go down to the lobby to get it. Unbeknownst to you, before you arrive on the scene, the delivery man spills water from the vase onto the floor. You slip on it, sustaining serious injuries. Here, you could establish fault of the flower delivery man and/or the building officials if you can show that they created the spill or had sufficient notice of the wet condition that caused the slip and reasonable time to clean and/or warn. See e.g. Weiss v. Gerard Owners Corp., 22 A.D.3d 406, 803 N.Y.S.2d 51 (1st Dept. 2005).

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A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine shines a spotlight on the failures of tort reform. Tort reform became a national trend in the mid-1980s when small businesses, doctors and other groups found themselves facing dramatic increases in insurance costs and limited policy availability. Proponents claimed that vast improvements would be seen in healthcare by restricting people’s rights to sue and limiting the compensation they could obtain from wrongdoers. Claiming that doctors were aggressively ordering unnecessary and expensive procedures and tests only to avoid lawsuits, tort reform would supposedly influence doctors’ behavior. Presumably, released from their burden of fear, doctors would reduce patient testing. However, research has proven otherwise. The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine explored the effectiveness of tort reform legislation in three states and found that in fact, tort reform did not impact doctor’s behavior in reducing tests or procedures.

In the study, a panel of doctors examined the records of close to 4 million patient visits in over one thousand emergency rooms for fourteen years. They concluded that “legislation that substantially changed the malpractice standard for emergency physicians in three states had little effect on the intensity of practice, as measured by imaging rates, average charges, or hospital admission rates.” The three states, Georgia, Texas, and South Carolina, had changed the definition of negligence from ordinary to gross negligence, which forced plaintiffs to prove that doctors consciously disregarded the need to exercise reasonable care in treating patients. Despite this reform, which made it nearly impossible to find providers negligent, the frequency and number of doctors’ prescriptions for procedures and tests remained unaltered.Clearly, tort reform does not act, as promised, to modify the decisions of physicians when treating patients. As noted by the panel of physicians who conducted the study, “Our study addresses a very specific question: Do physicians change their behavior in response to changes in the legal environment? We provide strong evidence that, for emergency physicians at least, the answer is no. ”

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