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You may recall when Jack Nicholson turned into the Joker when he fell into a vat filled with chemicals. This chemical is the same chemical used daily at approximately 3500 dry cleaners where New Yorker’s get their suits and dressed laundered. It is also where 10,000 people work daily. This chemical, perchloroethylene or perc has been known to cause serious harm and damage to our liver, kidney’s, blood and immune system since 1993. Despite this, and attempts by the EPA to reign in its use, it is used daily by so many. In addition, some are concerned of its ability to cause damage to neighbor’s and those living in apartments and buildings nearby.

Crain’s Magazine reported on this recently. California has banned the solvent since 2007. Dry cleaners, they advise are required to post a sign saying they use perc, but landlords’ obligations to tell tenants there is an issue is less than clear.

This growing concern has resulted in the Federal environmental authorities to mandate that perc dry cleaners in apartment buildings pose an unacceptable health risk and must vacate nationwide by 2020. The solution is to upgrade technology and equipment so that it can clean clothes with non perc machines. However with revenue and profits continuing to shrink this choice is an option many are not choosing.

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New York’s Dram Shop law is found in Section 11-101 of the General Obligations Law. Dram Shop laws are strict liability statutes that allow for alcohol vendors to be held liable for their violations in serving people alcohol who are visibly intoxicated or are actually or apparently under 21 years of age. Courts allow for people who are injured as a result of the vendor’s violation of these laws to bring suit for their damages. New York’s law is distinctive in that it allows for a third-party who may never have had any contact with the bar themselves to sue for injuries caused to them by the bar’s intoxicated patrons.

A case brought pursuant to the Dram Shop law is difficult to prove; it requires a showing that the injured person was harmed by an intoxicated person, that there was an unlawful sale of alcohol by the vendor, and the sale of alcohol contributed to the person’s intoxication.

In our most recent Dram Shop case, the plaintiff was sitting at a bar in Brooklyn, when he observed a visibly intoxicated patron continuing to order and be served drinks by the bartender. The patron became more and more intoxicated, and eventually assaulted the plaintiff with a glass. The glass broke and caused the Plaintiff to subsequently lose his eye. Mr. Meserole presented this evidence to the Court who agreed that the Plaintiff was entitled to a recovery. A judgment was obtained for $1,200,000.




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Yankee Stadium
You may recall that late last year, yankee fan and client of Leav & Steinberg, LLP Andrew Zlotnick had been featured in the New York Times regarding a claim for serious injuries we brought on his behalf against the New York Yankees & Major League Baseball.

It was August several years ago, Mr. Zlotnick was seated along with his son and his son’s friends seated down the first base line.  This was in advance of Hurricane Irene.  The Yankees had an umbrella policy which allowed all size umbrellas to be open during the game play.  Major League Baseball had made a decision, despite the almost three hour rain delay, to get the game in.  These two events without question increased the risk for Mr. Zlotnick as he could not perceive the danger about to befell him.

Hideki Matsui of the Oakland Athletics hit a foul ball that struck Mr. Zlotnick in the left eye causing life altering injuries.

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Recently, Leav & Steinberg, LLP were successful in resolving a case involving a shooting and stampede at a New York City Dinner Club.  The event was advertised to the general public as a hip hop/rap concert.  The advertisement and public ads showed “hip hop gang bangers”; certainly a vision of what the night would be like.  Sadly the club security was lacking any appropriate steps to ensure that weapons were not brought in.  In fact, there were no female security guards and anyone entering would be free to give a female guest a weapon and she would be able to walk right in.

A fight broke out, several people were shot and a resulting stampede resulted in several people being seriously injured while trying to flee for their safety.

Similarly, in Galveston Texas club owners didn’t beef up security for a show featuring two rival rap groups and an aspiring emcee was shot in the head in a fight that could have been expected, his mother claims in court.

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Our client, a truck driver from Massachusetts, was making a delivery at a local New York grocery store and sustained an injury his ankle. At the time of the accident, while he was walking backwards using a hand truck he tripped and fell over a U-Boat, which is a cart used by grocery stores to stack product after it is delivered.

Leav & Steinberg was able to establish that the defendant’s employees had placed the U-Boat in our client’s path prior to the fall. This case had been rejected by other law firms who felt that the client’s comparative negligence was the sole proximate cause of the accident.

Through our efforts we were able to establish that the defendant was responsible for directing the path our client was to take while making his delivery. Thus, a jury could have found the grocery store negligent.

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Sadly, pedestrian knockdown accidents are all too common in New York City these days.  The the increase in traffic and the growing population, car accidents and pedestrians being struck are more common than ever.  This came to light and destroyed a family this past week in Brooklyn.

51 year old Choo Tain was struck and killed by an alleged stolen vehicle that first collided with another car at the intersection of East 94th Street and Avenue K.  They were both on the sidewalk when, as a result of the first collision, the stolen vehicle mounted the sidewalk and struck her and her husband who also sustained serious injuries.

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With the growth of our law practice over the last 17 years, providing exceptional customer service has becoming our overriding focus.  With trained attorney’s and unlimited resources we have been able to provide client’s with exceptional lawyering.  However, many law firms forget that its the client who hires us and if we don’t give customer service that is on par with our reputation, we will fail miserably.

Former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove passed away last month on March 21st.

He has always been known as an awesome business leader and a great mind.  I read that many executives read one of his books called “High Output Management” and said it changed their business strategy forever.  I took it upon myself to buy the book (hardcover, not getting this one for the Ipad) and have been reading it slowly and taking notes.  My initial take is that we must look for the inefficiencies in our business and find ways to cut them out.

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Yesterday a Missouri jury awarded a woman $55 million dollars in damages for injuries and damages she sustained when she contracted ovarian cancer as a result of using Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder  and shower to shower products.   The award represents $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.  It was the second time Johnson & Johnson has been found responsible for similar damages.

The plaintiffs in these case have shown that for many years, J&J hid the link between the use of “talc” have accused J&J of failing for years to warn that talc was linked to an increased risk for ovarian cancer. J&J has said it acted properly in developing and marketing the products.

Presently 1400 lawsuits remain pending; mostly concentrated in Missouri and New Jersey.Johnson & Johnson

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As construction in New York City has continued to grow at a fever pitch; deaths among construction workers have steadily increased year over year.  Since 2000 many have gathered annually at St. Patrick’s Cathedral to honor those workers who have given their lives while working.  In fact, back in 2008 I personally attended the service when a Crane at East 51st Street collapsed killing 6 workers and one innocent bystander who was in the apartment of the townhouse that was crushed to death.  Leav & Steinberg, LLP was retained by the family for that woman, Odin Torres to pursue all legal claims available.  I am pleased to report that after 8 years of litigation all cases have resolved for a confidential figure; providing compensation for Odin’s parents who have lost their only child.

Sadly, I was reminded how the desire to put up the residential buildings as well as construction going on across our city has continued to leave workers and other exposed to hazards at the job; many of which are avoidable.  According to the NY Times last year, 88 million square feet of construction was underway, according to the city. That was more than double the amount of work done in 2013 or 2014, and it exceeds the 65 million square feet built in both 2007 and 2008.

The New York Times discussed in detail on May 2, 2016 how safety is still a major issue:  “Accidents were less frequent for a while after the crane collapse because of increased safety measures and a post-recession construction slowdown, but as real estate has boomed in recent years, the number of injuries and fatalities has risen sharply. For the workers, there is more work, but also more risk.”

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Despite the backlog of court cases and slowdown in the Court system, Leav & Steinberg LLP was successful in resolving a case for a man despite the fact that the defendant claimed that the accident was caused by our client and that his injuries were not related or serious.

Brooklyn, New York is among the largest most populated cities in America.  Car accident’s occur all the time.  Most of the time, the parties are able to work out their disputes amicably.  Here a nice older man claimed he was rear ended by a driver while travelling near Ocean Avenue and Avenue N.  The other drive claimed our client the cause of the accident as he alleged our client cut him off in traffic.  Despite the defendant taking this position we pushed ahead and took the deposition of the defendant driver.  Partner, Daniel Leav was successful in proving that the driver’s version attempting to blame our accident was not credible. After two years of denying liability, the defendant reached out to our office and we were able to obtain an excellent result for our client.

$175,000.00 recovery obtained for a 64 year old man who claims he was rear ended by a car.  The defendant car claimed our client turned suddenly into his path of travel.  The client sustained a shoulder injury among other injuries and underwent a shoulder arthroscopic surgery.  While a motion as to whether the injuries were serious and related was pending the matter was settled for a figure representing full value.