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Wrongful Death

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

MMA: Dangerous Sport


With MMA now on the road to being legal in New York, with legal fights like boxing matches, it's important to realize what the consequences will be for the fighters and their families. In Dublin, a mixed martial arts fight from Portugal died from injuries sustained three days ago, during a fight. The fight authorities stopped the fight, the fighter was assessed by doctors and medical staff at the onsite medical office, and transported to the hospital. Even still, this was not enough.

New York has very stringent rules regarding the ability for individuals who are injured playing in sports to recover in Court for their injuries.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

FDNY Firefighters Awarded $183 Million

On January 23, 2005, on 236 East 178th Street, a fire began on the fourth floor. Six firefighters, including Lt. Curtis Meyran, and John Bellow, responded to the call. On the fourth floor, the firefighters became trapped in a warren of rooms caused by two tenants, Caridad Coste and Rafaele Castillo. All six were forced to jump out of a window, and Curtis and John plunged to their deaths. Joseph DiBernardo, another, whose heels and feet were crushed by the impact, died six years later. The other three suffered injuries that will haunt them for the rest of their life.

On Monday, in one of the largest verdicts ever against New York City, a Bronx jury found it and the landlord of the building responsible, and ordered them to pay $183 million. The jury assigned 80% of the blame to the city, which means New York City will have to pay the families of those two firefighters $146 million for its failure to equip the firefighters with personal safety ropes that would have let the men escape from the burning building.

 


Friday, January 8, 2016

Elevator Crushes & Kills Man on New Year's Eve

For the second time this year, a terrible accident occurred that could only be explained by the negligence of a building's owner or elevator operator's negligence: a 25-year old man was trapped, half inside, and half outside, an elevator, and squeezed to death.

The building was 131 Broome Street, a tower of Section 8 housing, with elevators that have always had trouble. The elevators occasionally "jumped", the rooftop emergency hatches didn't open, and the tenants association president was stuck between two floors in one of the other towers associated with 131 Broome Street. The Department of Buildings had three unresolved elevator violations.

On New Year's Eve, at approximately 11:45 PM, the elevator door was open when it suddenly started to drop. Stephen Hewett-Brown heroically pushed Erudi Sanchez out of the way of the dropping elevator, saying "Happy New Year," when the elevator dropped further, trapping Mr. Hewett-Brown between the floor and the ceiling of the elevator. The head of the family, and the breadwinner for years, killed by a faulty elevator.

Elevator accidents are uncommon, but they can sometimes cause terribly and long-lasting injuries. Whether it's as minor as misleveling or as major as catching people as they enter or exit, anyone who is the victim of an elevator accident should call an experienced trial lawyer to discuss their rights or possible claims. It should be noted that courts in New York consider misleveling elevators and some other elevator accidents to be so extreme that any injury that comes from such accidents must be the elevator's fault, under the theory of res ipsa loquitur. The elevator accident attorneys at Feldman, Kronfeld & Beatty are available at (212) 425-0230 or at info@fkbeatty.com to discuss with you potential claims you may have if you are injured by an elevator.


Monday, October 5, 2015

Explosion in Brooklyn: Another Gas Explosion in NYC Claims at Least One Life

On Saturday afternoon, an explosion ripped through a building on 13th Avenue and 42nd Street, killing a woman. It is being reported that the previous tenants had removed an appliance from the apartment, a stove, without properly disconnecting the gas line. Three others, including a 10-year old boy, have been taken to Maimonides Hospital with injuries. One of the injured may have serious, debilitating injuries to his leg and feet.

Gas explosions, like the one that occurred in March at 121 Second Avenue which killed two, should not occur. For example, the 121 Second Avenue explosion was caused by one or more gas lines being illegally and improperly tapped. Sometimes people only have moments between the times they smell gas and the explosion. In 2014, eight people were killed when 1644 and 1646 Park Avenue in East Harlem were obliterated by a gas leak caused by faulty welding of two ConEd pipes and a large hole in a nearby sewer main that New York City failed to fix, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

According to ConEd, if you smell a distinctive, strong odor like rotten eggs, if you see a white cloud, mist, fog, bubbles in standing water, or blowing dust or vegetation that appears to be dead or dying for no reason, or hear roaring, hissing, or whistling, leave the area immediately and call 911 or ConEd to report a gas leak.

Gas explosions are almost always the cause of negligence. If you, or a loved one, is injured in a gas explosion, you should talk to an experienced trial lawyer immediately to determine your rights and potential claims. The experienced trial lawyers at Feldman, Kronfeld & Beatty are available at (212) 425-0230 or at info@fkbeatty.com to discuss with you any injuries that you may have suffered due to a gas explosion.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Elevator Horror: Man Trapped Between Elevator and Lobby, Killed

This morning, another horrible accident that could only be the result of a building owner's or elevator operator's negligence occurred: a man was trapped between an elevator and the lobby of his apartment building and killed. He and his roommate lived in The Espoir building in Williamsburg, on Hope Street near Union Avenue. As the elevator went down, the elevator's doors never closed.  When he tried to jump out of the elevator, it suddenly shot upwards, trapping his body inside the elevator and his head outside the elevator. Worst of all, he wasn't killed immediately: his roommate, who was with him as he died, reported that she actually felt his pulse slow and stop nearly a minute after the accident occurred.

Deaths by elevator accidents in the city are rare, but they do happen. In 2011, an advertising executive named Suzanne Hart was killed by an elevator that suddenly shot up; the Department of Buildings later learned that workers for Transel bypassed a door safety circuit with a jumper cable and allowed people to use that elevator.

Elevator accidents are uncommon, but they can sometimes cause terribly and long-lasting injuries. Whether it's as minor as misleveling or as major as catching people as they enter or exit, anyone who is the victim of an elevator accident should call an experienced trial lawyer to discuss their rights or possible claims. It should be noted that courts in New York consider misleveling elevators and some other elevator accidents to be so extreme that any injury that comes from such accidents must be the elevator's fault, under the theory of res ipsa loquitur. The attorneys at Feldman, Kronfeld & Beatty are available at (212) 425-0230 or at info@fkbeatty.com to discuss with you potential claims you may have if you are injured by an elevator.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Failures of Probation & Surveillance: Can the Government Be Held Accountable for This Man's Crimes?

The attorneys at Feldman, Kronfeld & Beatty take the responsibility of protecting everyday New Yorkers from the negligence and failures of our government to protect us very seriously. We mourn the loss of family members with our clients, and always try to help them answer questions about how what happened to them will never happen to another.

On March 14, 2013, a sex offender named David Renz murdered a school librarian and raped her daughter in Syracuse, New York. Renz had just been arrested for child pornography charges, and as a condition of his bail had to wear an ankle monitor. From Renz's own mouth, he described how he was able to disable the ankle monitor, and his probation supervisor showed him how to re-attach it on his own. Renz was able to take off and re-attach the ankle monitor nearly a dozen times before his horrible crimes.

Is the government responsible for Renz's crimes? They might be. If the government knew that Renz was predisposed to sexually oriented crimes and failed to properly monitor Renz, as it appears they did here, they may be liable for negligently failing to supervise Renz and report him when he detached the ankle monitor. This is a classic "but for" case: but for the government's failure to properly monitor Renz, he may never have committed those crimes, and therefore the government may be responsible and will have to pay the family of Renz's victims for its negligence.

This is a hypothetical situation; no case has been filed yet to our knowledge. But if you, or if someone you know, has been hurt by the negligence of the government, you may have a case. Call the attorneys at Feldman, Kronfeld & Beatty at (212) 425-0230 or at info@fkbeatty.com for a free consultation to discuss your injuries and your rights.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Dangers to Brooklyn's Elderly: NYPD & DOT Warn that South Brooklyn Elderly Are in Danger From Motor Vehicles

Of the 15 pedestrians who have been killed in auto accidents in the police command known as "Brooklyn South", which stretches from Coney Island to Crown Heights and Red Hook to East Flatbush, eight of them have been 65 or older. 

Just for the month of August alone, 5 pedestrians in Brooklyn have lost their lives to auto accidents. 228 have been injured. Each of those deaths or injuries may have been prevented. Each of those deaths or injuries may have been the cause of negligence on the motor vehicle driver's part. It is imperative that, although each and every case is different, that if you are injured as a pedestrian you immediately contact a trial lawyer to discuss your rights and any potential claims you might have.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Olivia Brown’s Death & NYCHA: Are NYCHA's Lawyers Blaming the Victim?

On Thursday, the New York Post reported that “[s]eeking a dismissal of the mother’s wrongful-death lawsuit, lawyers for the New York City Housing Authority argued Olivia’s 2013 shooting at the Lincoln Houses, allegedly by a trespasser was ‘spontaneous’ and ‘unavoidable.’ All the risks, hazards and dangers were open, obvious and apparent to [Brown] and said risks, hazards and dangers were openly and voluntarily assumed by Brown.”

The New York Post reports this as a shocking development, but for those who represent parents who’ve lost children to the City’s negligence, this is an all-too-familiar response.

Crystal Brown, the mother of Olivia Brown, filed a lawsuit on October 20, 2014, against the New York City Housing Authority. She alleged, that “an armed assailant who was not a tenant of [the Lincoln Houses] was permitted to enter and remain at the premises” and NYCHA “had a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe and secure condition for the tenants . . . [including maintaining] proper safety and security precautions to protect the plaintiffs against intruders and dangerous persons.” Brown v. NYCHA Complaint, paras. 12 & 13.

In the answer (not the motion of summary judgment, as the article seemed to suggest) filed on Thursday, the attorneys for NYCHA wrote, as an affirmative defense: “[A]t the time and place complained of in the plaintiff’s complaint, all the risks, hazards and dangers were open, obvious and apparent to the plaintiff’s decedent and said risks, hazards and dangers were openly and voluntarily assumed by the plaintiff’s decedent which caused and/or contribution [sic] to the alleged injuries death and alleged resultant damages.” Brown v. NYCHA Answer, para. 11.

Is this unusual in an answer for this kind of lawsuit?

This kind of lawsuit is known as a “premises liability” case. The duty of the owner of a building may include protecting individuals against injury caused by the conduct of third persons on the premises. Burgos v. Aqueduct Realty Corp., 92 NY2d 544 (1998). Governmental entities, such as NYCHA, when acting as landlords, are subject to the same duties that apply to private persons. NYCHA may be liable for failure to maintain minimal security measures, related to a specific building in the face of foreseeable criminal intrusion upon tenants. Miller v. State, 62 NY2d 506 (1984).

It is a defense to any premises liability case that the open and obvious character of the danger of the premises can raise issues that the plaintiff was partially at fault, therefore mitigating the defendant’s liability. Saretsky v. 85 Kenmare Realty Corp, 924 N.Y.S.2d 32 (1st Dept. 2011). It has become common practice in all premises liability cases that we've seen here at Feldman, Kronfeld & Beatty  for defense lawyers to allege that the plaintiff’s injuries came from an open and obvious condition and that the injuries were partially the plaintiff’s fault, regardless of the facts that were presented.

Every case is different, and no two defense lawyers will serve the exact same answer. But as we saw above, this kind of affirmative defense is the type of “cookie cutter” response that serves to protect defense lawyer’s premises liability clients and assert every possible defense to the claimed action, regardless of the facts presented. It takes a good trial lawyer to analyze the answer for both the logical and illogical affirmative defenses and appropriately analyze them for which ones pose the greatest risk to the successful resolution of a client’s claim.


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