Our Subrogation Unit
We are pleased to announce the expansion of our subrogation department with the merger of the subrogation practice
of Carl S. Young & Associates. We now provide a unit dedicated soley to 1st party property litigation, where we assist our clients
in timely and effectively recovering millions of dollars in paid claims against the at fault party. In doing so, we work closely
with our clients and help them meet their internal performance goals and, as a result, add substantial value to their operations.
The Harmonie Group's President, our very own Alice Spitz, is attending the Group's 2010 Winter Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The Harmonie Group is an affiliation of independent law firms providing a broad spectrum of high quality legal services to corporations, insurance carriers, and third party claim administrators across North America. You can access the Harmonie Group's law firm directory here.
The entire MSD family wishes you and yours a happy and safe holiday season. May you have a New Year filled with Good Health, Peace, Joy and Prosperity!
Transportation & Construction Seminars
Alice Spitz, Managing Partner of MSD and also President of the Harmonie Group, attended the Harmonie Group's Construction Defect seminar in Atlanta, and presented at its Transportation seminar in Phoenix on the use of Computer Generated Animation or Simulation at Trial.
MSD's Big Give
MSD once again imitated Oprah's Big Give, by dividing all its employees into groups, each competing to see which could make their MSD seed money grow the most for a charity of their choice. This year, the efforts of the MSD staff multiplied the seed money six fold into donations for various charities. The winning team's charity, which received the most donations, is "Alex's Lemonade Stand" founded by a little girl who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 4 to promote research for a cure for childhood cancer. But all MSD employees engaged in this activity felt like winners!
Bowler Strikes Out When MSD Wins Defense Verdict
In a case tried to verdict by Sal DeSantis, the plaintiff had been employed by Macy's as the assistant foreman for electricians at their Brooklyn store. He claimed that while inspecting the lights in an emergency stairwell, and checking for tools and parts left in the area by other electricians, he tripped over a piece of a broom handle left on the stairs by our client, Ultimate Services, Inc., causing him to fall down a flight of stairs. Our client denied that it left any portion of a broom on the steps and that it had no notice of any defective condition. Plaintiff claimed to have sustained spurring of the right shoulder and a torn medial meniscus of the left knee, requiring multiple medial meniscectomies, while we had evidence that he continued as an active team bowler. Although the Appellate Division had previously affirmed the denial of summary judgment, in a unanimous verdict, a Kings County Jury found no negligence against our client. The trial was bifurcated so the jury did not hear any of the testimony regarding damages. DeSena v. Ultimate Services, Inc.
Burn Case Overturned on Appeal
Appellate counsel Marcy Sonneborn and Alice Spitz appealed the denial of our Motion to Dismiss plaintiff's case, brought when a two year old infant fell into a hot bath and suffered horrific burns. Plaintiff claimed that the infant's injuries were caused by excessively hot water in their apartment building. The water had been tested by a New York City agency shortly after the accident and was found to be hotter than what is considered normal. Nevertheless, we argued that the accident could easily have been avoided had the infant's brother (who filled the bathtub with hot water) turned on the cold water faucet at the same time as the hot water was running. In reversing the Bronx Supreme Court, the Appellate Division, First Department, dismissed the case against both the landlord and our client, the boiler service company. The Court said "It is undisputed that this accident occurred when the unattended, 17-month-old child was scalded after getting or falling into a bathtub after her brother had turned on the hot water only . . . A landlord cannot be required to adjust the hot water temperature in order to protect children from adults who fail to do so." Simmons v. Sacchetti.
Bronx Auto Case Bites the Dust
Justice Howard R. Silver in Bronx County granted MSD's motion for summary judgment based upon plaintiff's failure to satisfy the serious injury threshold of the New York Insurance law. Plaintiff was rear-ended by defendant's vehicle and later underwent a cervical fusion and arthoscopic surgery on her left shoulder. In his motion papers, Christopher Coleman argued that the medical evidence established that plaintiff had an extensive and longstanding history of degenerative spinal disease and underwent a cervical laminectomy 16 months before the car accident. Judge Silver agreed that the medical evidence established additional contributing factors which interrupted the chain of causation between the car accident and plaintiff's claimed injuries, thereby shifting the burden of proof to the plaintiff. Since the plaintiff's experts did not discuss her degenerative disc disease, the plaintiff did not successfully rebut Mr. Coleman's assertion of the lack of causation, and the case was dismissed. Keller v. Rgis Inventory Specialists
MSD Wins Summary Judgment Motion for Temple
In a premises liability case against our client, Temple Isaiah, Lawrence Getzler successfully argued that plaintiff was unable to raise any triable issues of material fact that the Temple either created a dangerous condition or was under actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition. Plaintiff allegedly fell while walking in the hallway of the Temple, claiming her slip and fall was caused by a puddle of water in front of a water fountain, resulting in a right ankle fracture. Mr. Getzler was able to persuade the Nassau Supreme Court that this case should be dismissed through the utilization of deposition testimony of the plaintiff, the temple administrator, and a non-party witness. Wild v. Temple Isaiah
Ulster County Court Grants MSD Motion to Dismiss Auto Accident Case
Judge Christopher Cahill granted Joni Linker’s Motion for Summary Judgment, agreeing first that she had made a prima facie case that plaintiff had not, in fact, suffered a serious injury as reflected by the conclusions of the independent examining physicians, a careful review of the plaintiff’s emergency room records, and even her deposition testimony, and then agreeing that the narrative medical reports plaintiff submitted in rebuttal with contrary conclusions were unsupported by the record. Beaulieu v. Jones, et ano.
Deli's Defect Ruled De Minumus & Bronx Case Dismissed
The Bronx Supreme Court granted Joni Linker's Motion for Summary Judgment in a lawsuit brought for an alleged trip and fall on the sidewalk in front of our client's Deli. Plaintiff alleged that she tripped on a paved over utility cover when her sneaker was caught due to a depression in the pavement and broke her ankle. The Court agreed that Ms. Linker had met the burden of proving the "de minimus" nature of the defect through the submission of an expert affidavit accompanied by photographs and measurements. Ramirez v. Water Holdings, LLC
A Bronx Plaintiff's Case Doesn't Hold Water
Salvatore DeSantis' Motion for Summary Judgment was granted in this slip and fall case by Bronx Supreme Court Judge Betty Owen Stinson, who agreed with Mr. DeSantis that the "mere fact that outside walking surfaces can become wet during a rainfall does not provide actual or constructive notice of a hazardous condition for which the building owner or management can be held responsible". Sean McGuire v. 3901 Independence Owners, Inc., et al.
Labor Law Case Dismissed on Appeal
Appellate counsel Marcy Sonneborn appealed the denial of our Motion to Dismiss plaintiff's Labor Law case, brought for injuries plaintiff suffered in a construction accident. The Appellate Division, Second Department, granted the appeal, finding that the delay in the plaintiff's filing of a Notice of Claim against our client, an industrial development agency, was prejudicial. In the Matter of Rickey Grant v. Nassau County Industrial Development Agency.
Needle Case Doesn't Stick
Two days into his stay at our client's Bed & Breakfast Inn, plaintiff claims he awoke in the middle of the night, put his feet on a rug near his bed and sustained a needle stick to his right foot. He pulled it out and his wife indicated there was some bleeding as a result. He and his wife sued our client for negligence, the infliction of emotional distress, as well as the loss of consortium as he feared he might have contracted the AIDS virus. Blood tests subsequently proved to be negative for HIV. In a 9-page decision, the New York County Civil Judge granted Salvatore DeSantis' Motion for Summary Judgment. Mr. DeSantis had provided the Court with an Affidavit from Dr. Judith Axelrod, an expert in the field of infectious diseases, who found that the risk of transmission from a needle stick from an unknown source is considered to be negligible and would be substantially less than the known risk of 0.32% when a person is stuck with a needle used in an HIV positive person. The Court ruled that our client had no notice of any needle fragment in the room's carpet and did not engage in any conduct that would constitute the infliction of emotional distress. Belford v. Gracie Inn, et ano.
Alice Spitz Becomes President of Harmonie
Alice Spitz begins the Presidency of the national Harmonie Group for a two year term. The Harmonie Group is an affiliation of independent law firms providing a broad spectrum of high quality legal services to corporations, insurance carriers, and third party claim administrators across North America. It is an invitation only organization which extends membership invitations only to experienced, highly qualified law firms that have earned the respect of their peers, the courts and their clients in negotiation, litigation, and trial advocacy. You can access the Harmonie Group's law firm directory here.