Articles Posted in Injury Law

by
Janice Mazella (Plaintiff) filed this medical malpractice and wrongful death action against Dr. William Beals (Defendant), alleging that Defendant’s substandard medical treatment of her husband proximately caused his suicide. The jury returned a verdict for Mazella, finding that Defendant’s negligence proximately caused the decedent’s suicide. The Court of Appeals reversed and ordered a new trial, holding (1) the evidence was sufficient to support the verdict; but (2) the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence concerning Defendant’s negligent treatment of twelve other patients because the evidence was irrelevant to Defendant’s liability and unduly prejudiced the jury. View "Mazella v. Beals" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed an action alleging that Defendants committed fraud and negligence when performing and evaluating a random drug test that Plaintiff was required to take as an airline pilot. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit certified two questions of New York law to the New York Court of Appeals. The Court accepted the questions and answered (1) drug testing regulations and guidelines promulgated by the Federal Aviation administration and the Department of Transportation do not create a duty of care for drug testing laboratories and program administrators under New York negligence law; and (2) a plaintiff may not establish the reliance element of a fraud claim under New York law by showing that a third party relied on a defendant’s false statements resulting in injury to the plaintiff. View "Pasternack v. Lab. Corp. of Am. Holdings" on Justia Law

by
Starting during World War II, Crane sold valves to the Navy for use in high-pressure, high-temperature steam pipe systems. Crane's valves did not contain asbestos, but could not practically function in such systems without gaskets, insulation and packing. Crane's technical drawings specified the use of asbestos-based sealing components. Crane packaged the Navy’s valves with asbestos gaskets and stem packing. Navy specifications called for gaskets, valves and insulation that contained asbestos. Crane also marketed "Cranite," an asbestos-based sheet material for use in producing replacements for the original gaskets and packing. Starting in the 1930s, trade associations to which Crane belonged, issued publications describing the hazards of exposure to dust from asbestos-based products. In the 1960s, one group published an article summarizing the growing evidence of a connection between asbestos exposure and mesothelioma. Until at least 1980, Crane never provided warnings. In a suit on behalf of a Navy technician, diagnosed with mesothelioma, the court instructed the jury on the duty to warn against latent dangers resulting from foreseeable uses of its product of which the manufacturer knew or should have known, and on causation, stating that any presumption that the technician would have heeded warnings was rebuttable. The jury found Crane 99% liable and awarded $32 million in damages. The New York Court of Appeals affirmed. The manufacturer has a duty to warn of the danger arising from the known and reasonably foreseeable use of its product in combination with a third-party product which, as a matter of design, mechanics or economic necessity, is necessary to enable the manufacturer's product to function as intended. The court noted proof of Crane's affirmative steps to integrate its valves with third-party asbestos-laden products. View "In re: New York City Asbestos Litig." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff was born prematurely by emergency cesarean section at New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. (HHC) in June 2005. He was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit and discharged in stable condition in August 2005. In January 2007, more than 90 days after the claim arose, without first obtaining leave of court as required by General Municipal Law 50-e (5), plaintiff served a notice of claim against HHC alleging negligence and malpractice arising out of failure to properly treat and manage his mother's prenatal care and failure to obtain informed consent with regard to plaintiff's care. The notice claimed that plaintiff sustained brain damage, cognitive defects, developmental, speech and psychomotor delays, fetal and respiratory distress and seizure disorder. Plaintiff filed suit in August 2008, but waited until December 2010, to seek permission to serve late notice of claim. The Appellate Division affirmed dismissal, finding unreasonable an excuse that counsel waited because he needed to receive medical records from HHC. The court held that plaintiff failed to establish "that the medical records put HHC on notice that the alleged malpractice would subsequently give rise to brain damage as a result of birth trauma and hypoxia," The New York Court of Appeals affirmed. Contrary to plaintiff's argument, the medical records must do more than "suggest" that an injury occurred as a result of malpractice in order for the medical provider to have actual knowledge of essential facts. View "Wally G. v NY City Health & Hosps. Corp." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma years after his exposure to asbestos while replacing asbestos-containing parts on Ford tractors and passenger vehicles. Plaintiff and his wife commenced this action against Ford Motor Company (Ford USA), Ford Motor Company, Ltd., and Henry Ford & Son, Ltd., alleging strict products liability under theories of failure to warn and defective design. Supreme Court denied Ford USA’s motion for summary judgment. The Appellate Division affirmed, holding that factual issues existed concerning whether Ford USA could be found directly liable for Plaintiff’s injuries. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the Appellate Division erred in concluding that Ford USA could be subject to strict liability in this case. View "Finerty v. Abex Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

by
In 1982, New York City adopted lead abatement legislation that imposes a duty on landlords to remove lead-based pain in any dwelling in which a child aged six years old or younger “resides.” Plaintiff commenced this action individually and on behalf of her daughter, alleging that because her daughter “spent a significant amount of time” in her grandmother’s apartment, Defendants owed her a duty to abate the apartment of hazardous lead conditions and that their failure to do so caused her daughter’s injuries. Supreme Court dismissed the complaint. The Appellate Division affirmed, concluding that Plaintiffs failed to raise an issue of fact as to the child’s residence. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the child did not “reside” in her grandmother’s apartment because the child did not live in the apartment but spent approximately fifty hours per week there with a caregiver. View "Yaniveth R. v. LTD Realty Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

by
While the decedent in this case was being treated in the emergency room of The New York and Presbyterian Hospital (Hospital), employees of ABC News, a division of American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. (ABC), filmed the decedent’s medical treatment and death without consent. ABC later broadcast a portion of the footage as part of a documentary series about medical trauma. Plaintiffs, the decedent’s family, commenced this action against ABC, the Hospital, and the decedent’s treating physician, alleging breach of physician-patient confidentiality and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint. Supreme Court partially granted the motions. The Appellate Division modified Supreme Court’s order by reversing the portions of the order that were appealed, granted the motions in their entirety, and dismissed the entire complaint. The Court of Appeals modified the Appellate Division order to reinstate the cause of action against the Hospital and treating physician for breach of physician-patient confidentiality, holding (1) Plaintiffs stated a cause of action against these defendants for breach of physician-patient confidentiality; but (2) Defendants’ conduct was not so atrocious and intolerable as to support a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress. View "Chanko v. American Broadcasting Cos." on Justia Law

Posted in: Health Law, Injury Law

by
In 2003, Plaintiff was charged with two counts of murder in the second degree. In 2007, Supreme Court dismissed the charges. Plaintiff subsequently commenced two civil rights actions by filing complaints against the City of New York, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and several police officers involved in the investigation of the murder. After discovery, Defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaints in both actions. Supreme Court granted summary judgment to (1) the individual defendants on Plaintiff’s false arrest and malicious prosecution claims under New York common law and 42 U.S.C. 1983, and (2) the City and NYPD on Plaintiff’s claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed as modified, holding (1) the lower courts improperly granted summary judgment to the individual defendants on Plaintiff’s false arrest and malicious prosecution claims; and (2) although Plaintiff maintained triable state law claims against the City and NYPD, the courts below properly granted summary judgment to those governmental entities on Plaintiff’s claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983. View "Torres v. Jones" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

by
Plaintiff claimed that he fell and was injured while walking on a New York City public sidewalk. Plaintiff brought this negligence action against West River Associates, LLC and Sandy and Rhina Mercado. Plaintiff specifically alleged that West River violated section 7-210 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, which establishes a duty on the part of the owner of real property abutting a sidewalk to maintain the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. West River moved for summary judgment, asserting that the area of the sidewalk upon which Plaintiff tripped was located entirely in front of the Mercado property, therefore, the defect did not abut the West River premises. Supreme Court granted West River’s motion for summary judgment. The Appellate Division affirmed, holding that because West River did not own the property that abutted the sidewalk where Plaintiff tripped it fell, it was not responsible for maintaining the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that factual questions existed as to whether West River breached its duty to maintain its sidewalk and, if so, whether that breach was a proximate cause of Plaintiff’s injuries. View "Sangaray v. West River Assocs., LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law

by
Plaintiff was born in 1992 with severe mental and physical difficulties. In 2008, Plaintiff commenced this personal injury action against BMW of North America, LLC and related BMW entities (collectively, Defendants), alleging that his disabilities were caused by in utero exposure to unleaded gasoline vapor caused by a defective fuel hose in his mother’s BMW. Defendants moved to preclude Plaintiff’s causation experts from testifying at trial, arguing that their opinion reached novel conclusions and did not use generally accepted principles and methodologies. Supreme Court granted Defendants’ motion to the extent that it precluded the testimony of two of Plaintiff’s causation experts. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the courts below properly precluded the two expert witnesses from testifying at trial as to causation because the experts did not rely on generally accepted methodologies in concluding that Plaintiff was exposed to a sufficient concentration of gasoline vapor to cause his injuries. View "Sean R. v. BMW of N. Am., LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Injury Law