How Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Injury Lawsuit

In today’s world it is fairly common for most adults to use some kind of social media website.  While there is much value to these websites, there can be some drawbacks.  When it comes to personal injury lawsuits, it can be a hindrance to receiving the compensation that you deserve.  One of the primary things a personal injury attorney will tell you when you commence a lawsuit is to be careful of your social media activity or discontinue using it at all. … Read the rest

New Law in New York to Measure Fairness of Minorities Representation in Civil Jury Pools

When I started trying cases about 25 years ago New York County (Manhattan) was considered to be a plaintiff-friendly venue due to juries’ proclivity to render favorable verdicts. Today the plaintiffs’ bar views Manhattan juries quite differently.

Litigators often attribute this to the elimination of jury service exemptions, which meant that many of the more conservative leaning professionals who reside in Manhattan who routinely avoided jury service could no longer do so. But other lawyers saw a different reason – that jury pools were skewed so that minorities were underrepresented in comparison to their proportion of the population.

A study … Read the rest

Federal Appeals Court’s Affirmation That Most New York Rules on Attorney Advertising Are Unconstitutional Likely to Effect Other States

New York’s Appellate Division adopted new rules prohibiting certain types of attorney advertising and solicitation, which were to take effect February 1, 2007. The new rules barred testimonials from clients relating to pending matters, portrayals of judges or fictitious law firms, attention-getting techniques unrelated to attorney competence, and trade names or nicknames that imply an ability to get results. The amendments also established a thirty-day moratorium for targeted solicitation following a specific incident, including targeted ads on television or in other media.

A New York attorney, along with his law firm and a not-for-profit public interest organization, challenged these provisions … Read the rest

More McDonalds Cases for the Late Night Comics?

At first, it was coffee. Now it’s chicken sandwiches and cancer. Perhaps the greatest propaganda tool for the insurance industry in its self-serving campaign against supposedly frivolous lawsuits is the so-called McDonalds Case where the plaintiff sued for spilling hot coffee on herself. Never mind the hundreds and hundreds of prior complaints against the coffee McDonalds deliberately super-heated in order to keep customers from realizing just how bad it tasted, or the third-degree burns to sensitive, private areas requiring grafting.

Carnival operator Frank Sutton sued McDonalds after suffering burns to his lips when he bit into a chicken sandwich at … Read the rest

What a Maroon! Man in Crowded Train Station Loudly Speaks His Name, Social Security Number and Date of Birth into Payphone

There I was in the train station, reading the newspaper while waiting for my train when I heard a man in a loud voice say, Representative. I turned to see a man using a pay phone and empathized with his plight to get a live person on the other end of the line. But then the man stated and spelled his name for the representative, said he was going to give his social security number and then did so in its entirety, and finally blurted out his date of birth. Can anybody say identity theft? Yet none of it seemed … Read the rest

Florida Judges Should Not Be Facebook Friends With Lawyers Who Appear Before Them – OK to Be Fans During Judicial Elections

Florida’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee has ruled that judges should no longer “friend” on Facebook lawyers who appear before them. The committee ruled that online “friendships” could create the impression that lawyers are in a special position to influence their judge friends. The committee did conclude that a judge can post comments on another judge’s site and that during judicial elections, a judge’s campaign can have “fans” that include lawyers. Social networking sites such as Facebook were found to be troublesome because the judge selects the lawyer as a part of the group, and has the right to approve or … Read the rest

Thanksgiving Week Not a Week for Two Laborers to Give Thanks to the Court of Appeals – Part 1

Thanksgiving Week brought two Court of Appeals decisions declining to apply the strict liability of New York State Labor Law 240(1) and 241(6). In the first case the Court held that these Labor Law sections are pre-empted by section 905(b) of the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). In the second case the Court held that the defendants homeowners did not exercise sufficient direction and control over plaintiff’s work to overcome the one or two-family dwelling exception found in Labor Law 240 and 241.

The first case is discussed in this blog post; the second will be discussed in … Read the rest

Federal Court Upholds NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission Policy of Suspending Arrested Taxi Drivers Before Hearing

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has a policy of suspending a taxi driver upon notification of the driver’s arrest, without providing either a pre-deprivation hearing or a post-deprivation hearing that does more than confirm the fact of the driver’s arrest “ that is no attempt is made to verify the propriety of the arrest or the guilt of the driver. Four (4) individual taxi drivers whose taxicab or for-hire vehicle licenses were suspended following an arrest on charges that were later dropped, and by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), a not-for-profit corporation that seeks … Read the rest

Village Denied Summary Judgment in Domestic Violence Suit Alleging Violation of Due Process Rights by Police Department

Holding a municipality liable in negligence for personal injuries sustained as a result of a third-party is often a difficult task because the plaintiff must show a “special relationship” between the plaintiff and the police department – a multi-prong test that is difficult to satisfy. The plaintiff circumvented these problems by bringing a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action alleging violation of her Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that the victim of domestic abuse alleged sufficient facts from which a jury could find that it had implicitly but affirmatively sanctioned abuse … Read the rest

First Department Debates How Much Effort Court of Appeals Requires a Worker To Make To Search For Safety Devices At The Construction Work Site

In Cherry v. Time Warner, Inc., — N.Y.S.2d —-, 2009 WL 2497974 (1 Dept. August 18, 2009), the plaintiff was securing sheet rock to the ceiling on the third floor when he fell off a baker’s scaffold onto the concrete floor eight feet below. The scaffold measuring approximately two feet wide by six to eight feet long had guardrails on only two of its four sides.

The Appellate Division, First Department was called upon to decide whether safety guardrails were in place on the scaffold from which the plaintiff fell and if they were not in place, whether they … Read the rest