Police Officer Who Retired Due To Hand Injuries, Which Made It Difficult To Use Weapon, Recovers $1,050,000
On a winter’s day, our client, a New York City police officer, slipped and fell as he was descending the exterior steps of the building known as the Queens North Task Force Building, located in Flushing, Queens. Our client sustained fractures of his right hand, requiring two hand surgeries, ending his career as a police officer.
Action was commenced in Supreme Court against the City of New York, as the owner of the building and against a scaffolding company. Prior to the date of accident, the scaffolding company constructed a “sidewalk shed”, or “scaffold shed”, over the portion of the steps where the accident occurred, in connection with building facade work.
We argued on our client’s behalf that the exterior steps at the location of the occurrence, were allowed to fall into a state of disrepair with depressions, and gaps between metal nosings at the edge of the stair treads. These created a defective and dangerous condition on the steps. Such condition was made more dangerous and hazardous as a result of frozen precipitation in the form of ice over the steps. We also argued that the sidewalk shed allowed water to drip onto the steps and freeze thereby increasing the slipping hazard.
We retained a forensic meteorologist, a professional engineer and an economist. The meteorologist found that on the date of accident, any ice on the deck of the sidewalk scaffolding above the steps, would have melted or dripped from the scaffolding onto the steps, then would have refroze and remained frozen through the time of the accident. Our consulting engineer noted that the ice on which the plaintiff slipped was formed from water coming down through the rusty portion of the sidewalk shed. This aggravated and made more dangerous the condition of the steps.
The Defendants argued that they did nothing wrong, that our client had worked out of the building where he fell, was familiar with the steps and that his fall was due to his own negligence. They also argued that any snow or ice was properly removed and that the sidewalk shed did not contribute to any water accumulation which froze on the steps. The City further argued that as a City employee, our client was precluded from recovering damages against the City. The scaffolding company’s motion for summary judgment on liability was denied.
We were successful in settling the case before it was submitted to the jury, for the sum of One Million Fifty Thousand Dollars. The City paid One Million and the Scaffolding Company paid Fifty Thousand Dollars. Our success was in large part due to the knowledge and experience of our attorneys in handling such cases and our tenacity in obtaining helpful information from the Defendants, through a tedious and difficult discovery process.
Death Of Elderly Man Struck By Motor Vehicle, In Absence Of Witnesses, Results In Settlement Of $1,250,000.00
Our client, a 78 year old pedestrian, was crossing an uncontrolled intersection in Flushing Queens. He was struck by Defendant’s motor vehicle. He sustained serious injuries, including fractures of the orbital wall and a bimalleolar fracture of the right ankle. He also had open reduction internal fixation of the tibia. Our client died less than 6 months post accident. He was survived by his wife and two adult daughters. An action was instituted in the Supreme Court, for personal injuries and wrongful death.
Defendant argued that the accident was attributable to the elderly decedent who walked onto the roadway between parked vehicles and was not visible. The Defendant further claimed that the Decedent’s death was not attributable to injuries received in this accident, but resulted from the elderly gentleman’s prior, pre existing medical conditions. The Decedent was unable to submit to an examination before trial before his death. Significant liability issues were presented by the Defendant, and we did not have the benefit of Decedent’s sworn deposition testimony to rebut the examination before trial testimony of the Defendant. Further, there were no witnesses to the accident.
We prepared the case meticulously for trial, and took a lengthy deposition of the Defendant to establish liability or fault. Despite the odds, our preparation and skillful negotiations enabled us to do very well for our clients, by settling the case before trial, for the sum of One Million Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars.
Injuries Resulting From Slip And Fall, While Snow In Progress, Results In Recovery Of $375,000
On a cold February morning, our client slipped and fell, on the exterior asphalt pavement of the parking lot to the premises known as the Bulova Building, in Jackson Heights, Queens. He slipped and fell as a result of snow and ice on the pavement and sustained a fracture of the left femoral neck with displacement requiring left hip hemiarthroplasty. Legal Action was commenced in the Supreme Court, with the primary defendants being, the property owner and the snow removal contractor.
Notably, there was considerable snow on the ground and an ongoing snow storm was in progress when our client fell. New York State Courts have recognized that in cases where snow is in progress, liability may not lie against the property owner or the snow removal company. An owner or possessor of land is afforded a reasonable time after a snow storm to remedy the condition. Therefore, at first impression we had a very difficult case with questionable liability. Despite the unfavorable odds, we were not dissuaded. Our office conducted a thorough investigation and retained a forensic meteorologist and professional engineer on behalf of our client, to assist us in the investigation.
The professional engineer conducted an inspection of the accident location. He found that the pavement where the accident occurred had settled. As a result, a sizeable depression was formed in the pavement. The depression was sloped down on all sides and allowed water, snow and ice to accumulate. Our client testified at his deposition, that he slipped and fell on ice that had accumulated at the depression, which was covered by the fresh falling snow. The forensic meteorologist performed a specific weather condition analysis and the professional engineer who had inspected the accident location, confirmed that as the temperatures fell below freezing, liquid in the depression from prior snow events froze and formed ice. Based on the weather conditions ice was capable of forming prior to and at the time of the accident.
The snow removal contractor and property owner made a motion to dismiss the case. They argued that the depression in the asphalt pavement of the parking lot was a defect too trivial to be actionable. They also argued that since an ongoing snow storm was in progress, there was insufficient time to remedy the condition. The court, denied the owner’s motion. The case was settled prior to trial, for $375,000. Our client, who was told by other attorneys he initially consulted, that he did not have a case, was happy indeed.
Slip And Fall Due To Slippery Floor, Under Questionable Liability, Results In Award Of $200,000
Our client, a 58 year old man, was approached by the Defendant at a neighborhood coffee shop. Defendant requested that our client perform plumbing work at his house. The plumbing fixture in the shower was not working and as a result no one in the household was able to shower. Our client did plumbing and handyman work, but was not a licensed plumber.
While replacing the plumbing fixture at the Defendant’s bathroom, our Client slipped and fell injuring his ankle. There was water on the floor, which caused him to fall. He was alone and no one saw him fall. As a result of the fall he sustained a fracture of the distal fibula and required open reduction, internal fixation. The Defendant homeowner and his wife denied that this occurrence ever took place in their home. Legal action was commenced against the homeowners in the Supreme Court.
Our client stated that after he fell, the Defendant husband told him that he had a recurring water problem in the bathroom. Defendant denied that he ever made such an admission. Defendant testified at his examination before trial that he was capable of doing his own plumbing work and did not need our client. Our client also stated that he observed Defendant’s pliers and screwdriver in the bathroom. We argued that Defendant’s tools show that Defendant had a plumbing problem which he was trying to fix. The Defendant denied that there were any such tools. Defendant testified that our client was at his home previously, but never did any repair work.
Our client also testified that he went to Home Depot with the Defendant to purchase the plumbing fixture, glue and tiles to replace broken tiles around the plumbing fixture. Defendant denied that he ever went to Home Depot with our client.
This was a difficult case, where we could not establish prior notice of a dangerous condition. Defendant moved for summary judgment on the issue of liability claiming that the Plaintiff did not fall in his home and that in any event, there was no water on the bathroom floor. Although we were unable to prove precisely when the water had formed on the floor, we argued that Defendant had constructive knowledge of a recurring water condition in the bathroom. This was based on the deposition testimony of the Plaintiff, the assertion that there were tools found by our client in the bathroom and on the deposition testimony of the Defendants.
We took lengthy depositions of the Defendant homeowners. Their deposition testimony was contradictory and inconsistent. We further managed to locate a witness from the neighborhood who confirmed that he saw our client and the Defendant at Home Depot. We sought to establish that the homeowners were not credible and not worthy of belief. We attacked the Defendants on the basis of their own inconsistent testimony to support our case.
The case was submitted to arbitration. Based upon the testimony and the lack of credibility of the Defendants, the arbitrator found that the occurrence took place as described by our client. He found that the Defendants were negligent and were 100% liable for the happening of the occurrence. He awarded our client $200,000.