Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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Earlier today, a crane collapsed across the span of the Tappan Zee Bridge resulting in injuries to at least three people as they swerved to avoid fallen debris. The crane collapse has caused a shutdown of the outdated and structurally insufficient bridge wreaking havoc on traffic in the area. The bridge is closed indefinitely.

The crane was being used in the construction efforts of a new Tappan Zee Bridge. The construction project, a $4 billion endeavor, has already seen several other major incidents resulting in deaths. In March, a 90-foot tugboat sank after it hit a construction barge near the bridge site, killing three crew members. In 2013, a powerboat plowed into a construction barge at the bridge, killing a bride-to-be and her fiancé’s best man.

There has been no shortage in crane accidents in the recent past, and despite the high stakes of these construction projects and the obvious need for safety, these accidents continue to happen. The engineers and contractors who are responsible for the placement, operation, management, inspection and control of these cranes must uphold their duty to ensure that these types of accidents don’t occur.

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During the summer of 2013 our client, a 10 year old boy from New Jersey was injured while playing football at a field located in Manhattan. The game was organized by youth football league and held at a field owned by the City of New York.  During the course of the game our client sustained a fractured wrist after being tackled and landing on the base of a soccer goal.  Unfortunately, when the field was set up for the football game a soccer goal was placed on the side of the field causing an increased risk to the players.

Since this case involved at least one municipal defendant we were required under New York Law to file a Notice of Claim against the City of New York within 90 days. After the Notice of Claim was filed the City of New York is given the opportunity to conduct what is called a 50-h hearing to determine the facts surrounding the accident.  Once the 50-h hearing was held we then filed a lawsuit naming both the City of New York and the private youth football league as defendants.

Both defendants tried to argue that that there was no liability against their respective clients since our client “assumed the risk” of injury by paying football, which is an inherently dangerous game.  Alexander Kran, III of Leav & Steinberg successfully argued that this was not an “assumption of  risk” case since the defendants had increased the risk of injury to our client by placing the metal soccer goal next to the field where our client was playing football.  Therefore, it is important to always protect your legal rights and consult with one of the attorneys at Leav & Steinberg so that we can examine the facts and circumstances and provide you with our legal advice.

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On May 25th, 2016 famed rapper TI was set to perform at Irving Plaza in NYC.  From early reports one person was shot and several others injured when an argument escalated into a fight which then turned into a shooting and chaos.  TI was not involved directly in the argument or fight.

The fight, CNN reported, erupted outside a green room, reserved for rappers scheduled to perform.  After at least 5 minutes of fisticuffs the fight turned deadly when a gun was pulled and people scrambled to escape harm.

Leav & Steinberg, with a solid reputation in representing victims of similar incidents in and around NYC, was recently retained by several  victims injured at Irving Plaza.  Just this year, the firm resolved a matter involving another rap concert billed as a gangster party in New York City.  Several were shot and others injured in the stampede.  We recently reported about this problem in New York and around the country.  See this link.

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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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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.

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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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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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