Articles Posted in Law Firm News

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In 2013, a New York Police Officer was responding to a motor vehicle accident in the Bronx.  While standing by her patrol car gathering documents to complete, an uninvolved van stopped uphill just ahead of the accident began rolling backwards.  Plaintiff, a single mother, working for the Police Department for over 10 years tried to move out of the way but was pinned between the patrol car as she was struck by the van’s sideview mirror.

She was taken to the scene by ambulance and treated for a right (dominant hand) wrist injury.  X-rays were initially negative, but within a week, the swelling had subsided and a radius fracture was diagnosed along with a nerve injury to her hand.

Leav & Steinberg, LLP had represented several members of her family before and been successful for them.  However, she was also aware that our firm’s reputation for successfully litigating cases against The New York Police Department for negligence. Wanting a firm that would fight for justice for anyone seriously injured,  she contacted partner Edward Steinberg, who came to her home and spent time understanding the details of the case, and limits the injury was going to cause on her career.

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Over 18 years ago, Leav & Steinberg was founded by two partners.  Dan and Eddy had met at a prior plaintiffs firm and decided to create their own firm.  That was 1999.  They started off renting space within a small firm in lower Manhattan.  We rented just two small offices and had no staff.  We did have tons of energy and desire to be successful.  With about 29 clients we represented at our former job, the firm was founded.  After 18 years the firm has grown into one of the premier NYC personal injury firms. We now have three partners, six associates and a staff totaling 25.  Just last month Edward Steinberg was elected as the Treasurer or the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.  He continues to be a board member as well as an Officer.

The firm has represented and successfully concluded by trial, settlement, or arbitration well over $200 million dollars in cases.  We have been referred matters by firms that don’t handle plaintiff cases.  But most telling the firm has grown mostly by referrals from old happy clients.  At present, the firm represents over 900 clients.

Given the extraordinary growth, the firm had outgrown our previous Manhattan space at 14o Broadway.  As of July 1, 2017, the firm has signed a new lease for nearly 10,000 square feet at 75 Broad Street.  The firm designed the new space from scratch and has built an office that is both modern as well as exceptionally functional and built for the continued success we hope to have.

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Every once in a while, we are asked by counsel already assisting an injured client, to come in and provide further legal assistance and support.  Such was the case this past week when the firm resolved a case for a man who was 64 years old working at a building inspector the  NYC Housing Preservation Department.  On January 16th, 2014 he was inspecting apartments in a Brooklyn walk up.  He spent time going over the apartment conditions with a particular tenant.  As he left the apartment and began to descend the staircase he caught his foot at the top landing on a defective edge of the step landing as well as missing landing tile.

He fell down the flight of stairs and was immediately helped by the same tenant who called 911.  Sadly he suffered from a very serious shoulder surgery which resulted in him undergoing a reverse hemiarthroplasty which is a procedure where the normal ball and socket replacement is reversed and the ball is screwed into the humerus  and the socket is drilled into the shoulder joint.  This leaves extensive limited range of motion.

The client and his wife retained a lawyer in their neighborhood who practiced in several area.  She did an excellent job working on the case in the beginning few months.  The lawyer and the client then realized this matter would require more legal expertise in the field as well as a firm ready willing and able to take this matter to trial if needed.

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Though our country has gone through a turbulent time with the recent election, we understand that many have become frustrated and upset with even discussing the topic of government and politics.  However, it has come to our attention that certain elected government officials have put forth a bill which would severely curtail the rights of all citizens and reduce our access to the Court system as well as the right to receive fair and adequate damages for serious injuries.

This week, the House will vote on a number of bills that will make it difficult for accident victims to seek justice in our nation’s courts. If these bills pass, it will make it nearly impossible for Americans, who are injured in accidents, and their families to pursue legal action. The so-called “Protection Access to Care Act of 2017” [H.R. 1215] will rig the system against us by allowing insurance companies and big corporations to prevail.

You can view the details of the bill by clicking on   HR 1215 Bill.   As you will note, the bill, sponsored by big business and the insurance lobby, sets a cap of $250,000 for all claims of pain and suffering for any person bringing a Health Care Lawsuit.  Such a lawsuit will include all claims of medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and any other claim involving any other health care provider.  If we stop for just one moment and think about this.  An elderly woman who is caused to sustain serious and permanent bed sores while in a Nursing home and suffers for 2 years in awful pain, undergoing debridement (scraping of the necrotic skin) procedures will be limited to $250,000.00 in damages.  A child who suffers a loss of oxygen due to delay and error by the doctor and nurses while being delivered and is rendered handicapped and special needs for the rest of their life; will be limited to $250,000 for their pain and suffering.

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In the Medical Malpractice arena, Plaintiffs routinely face an uphill battle.  From inception, the defendants always seek to limit our claims, and create defenses in hope of proving that the conduct of the doctor/hospital/staff was within the accepted Standard of Care.  When all discovery is complete, we find that defendants and their counsel are making Summary Judgment motions.  A motion for Summary Judgment is a motion before a trial that is made before the assigned Judge.  The defendant submits legal papers and expert affidavits stating that based upon all the evidence the Court should dismiss the case as Plaintiff can not prove that the case has meritorious arguments and should go before the jury.

The Plaintiff’s bar face these motions more and more frequently.   We vigorously oppose these motions with our own experts and affidavits.

This past month, the Medical Malpractice Unit at Leav & Steinberg, LLP was successful in defeating two motions for Summary Judgment on significant cases.

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New York City’s ban on e-cigarettes have was upheld by the Appellate Division.  New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (CLASH) filed a lawsuit arguing that New York City’s 2013 ban on vaping in public places (Local Rule 152) violated the New York State Constitution by impermissibly lumping smoking traditional cigarettes and smoking electronic cigarettes into the same law. The Appellate Division disagreed with CLASH and upheld the law banning vaping in public places. 

The Court provided, in pertinent part:

“Before enacting this law, the City Council held a series of hearings, at which it heard testimony from, among others, public health advocates, representatives of electronic cigarette manufacturers, and members of the public, including plaintiff Wishtart and the founder of plaintiff NYC CLASH.  The Committee report issued following the hearings explained that electronic cigarettes are devices that contain a liquid containing nicotine, as well as varying compositions of flavorings, propylene glycol, glycerin, and other ingredients, that is heated into a vapor that the user inhales.  Although they have been marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes since they were introduced in the U.S. in 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control have expressed concern about e- cigarettes’ safety for the user and non-user, samples having tested positive for carcinogens, as well as the concern that they may lead to the use of other nicotine products by young people (see https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/stateandcommunity/pdfs/cdc-osh-information-on-e-cigarettes-november-2015.pdf; https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm506676.htm#safer [last accessed 12/12/16]).”

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In the past decade, E-Cigarettes or Vaping has become almost commonplace.  From those who feel it is a safe alternative to smoking, a good method to quitting, or the new social “it” thing to do, everyone from teenagers to adults are using it.

The produce essentially heats a liquid that goes into an aerosol which the user inhales.  The products side effects are not limited to ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs with flavorants such as diacetyl a chemical that has been linked to serious lung disease.

Just read this quote from a young adult from an article recently published by NBC News:

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In July 2011 a 54 year old worker from the Bronx fell on a defective and dangerous staircase. He immediately felt pain to his knee and shoulder. He was transported from the scene and left with a knee brace and told to follow up. Over the following few weeks, he felt pain in his lower back; pain that was becoming disabling.

The client retained Leav & Steinberg to represent him for the serious injuries. Immediately after being retained, L&S set up an inspection of the premises so that we could ensure that the staircase was inspected and we would be able to prove it was negligently maintained.

We commenced litigation and after a short time, the defendant and their insurance suggested we sit down at a mediation. The client had undergone a knee and shoulder arthroscopic surgery at this point. At the mediation, they extended an offer of $150,000.00 in full settlement. Partner Daniela Henriques advised the client that at this stage the settlement was less than adequate and moreover the medical course of treatment revealed that his lumbar spine was becoming worse. We suggested he reject the offer and we proceeded forward.

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Brooklyn resident, Frank Musella, a 37 year old married father of two young boys,  was doing his usual work at the Department of Sanitation in Staten Island on July 29th, 2015 when he began having chest pain.  He went outside and was found immediately unresponsive, having suffered what appeared to be a heart attack.  911 and EMS were called.  From reports received, and due to ongoing issues with the EMS transmission radio system and its WI-FI network, delay occurred in getting to him.  This delay, it is claimed may have created the inability to revive and treat him.  He passed away later that day at Staten Island University Hospital.  An autopsy performed showed that he had severe blockage in his arteries.  He had regular check ups with his doctors and was always told he was okay except for high cholesterol.

Leav & Steinberg, LLP was retained to investigate the circumstances of his death including the delay by EMS as well as the medical care provided by his primary care doctor and a cardiologist who had seen him in months and years prior, but failed to diagnose any emergent cardiac condition.

A suit has been filed naming the City of New York and their EMS service for negligence.

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This blog is often filled with stories of clients who have sustained serious life altering injuries and have asked LEAV & STEINBERG, LLP to represent them in seeking the legal justice and adequate compensation due to the negligent actions of others.  Very often the cases take years to progress through litigation.  Very often at each step of the way (depositions, discovery inspections, physical exams) there are pitfalls and things that must be carefully planned in order to achieve success.  The outcome is usually a result of the hard work in preparation.  My personal life over these past six months is quite similar.

As this weekend approaches, I have been checking the weather in Chicago for Sunday.  Mostly sunny, high of 65 and low of 52.   Looks like perfect running weather.  If it was only that simple.  I made the decision to enter the lottery to run the Chicago Marathon about 6 months ago.  Luckily I got in.  That was where the hard work begins.  I have trained for the last 4 months with six days of working out and varied my runs with heart rate training, pacing sessions, and interval speed work.  The goal, to qualify for the Boston Marathon for April 2018.

I have previously run 4 marathons and have gotten within 4 minutes of qualifying.  That has not stopped my determination.  I am hopeful this year will be the year.  I am focused and mentally ready.  As my trainer has told me…the hay is in the barn….  time to run…  The last few weeks are tapering weeks so the running has decreased and the level of rest increased.  This can be tough as many of you on the east coast know….its mallomar season.