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Notable Recent Results
In Kolodin v Valenti, 2017 WL 484179 (2d Dep’t 2017), the Second Department reversed the trial court’s denial of the summary judgment motion the firm had made on behalf of an accountant claimed to have given improper tax advice. The court held that the advice could not have been the proximate cause of plaintiff’s claimed loss arising from the transfer of funds she authorized from a joint brokerage account to an individual brokerage account owned by her former paramour. Steve Jacobs headed the LCBF team on appeal and below.
In Sharp v. Sears Home Appliance Showroom, plaintiff alleged that terms and conditions contained in receipts violated the TCCWNA and also sought to certify a class comprised of all consumers who similarly purchased appliances from the retailer. The New Jersey Superior Court, Burlington County, dismissed the complaint, concluding that the retailer’s receipts did not violate the TCCWNA. The LCBF team was headed by Jerry Cuomo.
The firm obtained a dismissal of a $148 million claim against a prominent New York law firm. The client had represented a start-up in a New Mexico federal court suit against an industry leader that resulted in a verdict of over $44 million. After the trial court reduced the verdict to approximately $8 million, plaintiff appealed, but ultimately settled for $11.5 million. It then sued the firm's client and its New Mexico co-counsel claiming that, as a result of its handling of the case, an expert report was excluded that would have caused the jury to award an additional $74 million in compensatory damages and an equal amount of punitive damages. Plaintiff's New Mexico case against the other firm was dismissed and ultimately settled on appeal. The New York County court dismissed the malpractice claim against the firm's client both on the grounds of collateral estoppel and because the claim was unduly speculative; a breach of fiduciary duty claim was dismissed on other grounds. Steve Jacobs headed the LCBF team.
In Palumbo v. Transit Technologies, LLC, 144 A.D.3d 773 (2d Dep’t 2016), plaintiff was working at an elevated subway station, feeding cable into a man-made permanent trench that adjoined the train tracks. The trench was approximately three feet wide by two feet deep. The cable was attached to a remotely-located pulling device and was moving at a controlled pace when it unexpectedly accelerated forward, pulling plaintiff part-way into the trench. The Appellate Division adopted our argument that the case did not present an elevation-related risk covered by section 240(1). This conclusion can be supported by either or both of two key pieces of evidence: (1) the trench was only two feet deep, and (2) his fall did not directly flow from the application of the force of gravity but rather from the unanticipated force of the cable pulling him forward, i.e., horizontally toward the trench. The appellate court also ruled that the trench was not a “hazardous opening” within the meaning of Industrial Code section 23-1.7(b)(1)(i), precluding liability under Labor Law 241(6). The LCBF team was headed by Bill Ballaine.
In Welsh v. Amtrak, venued in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, a former Amtrak employee filed two FELA claims alleging injuries to his shoulder, requiring arthroscopy, and back/neck, requiring a cervical decompression and fusion. The trial Court granted Amtrak’s summary judgment motion on both claims. Plaintiff appealed only one of the claims, and after hearing oral argument, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the trial court’s ruling. Andrew Kornblau headed the LCBF team and orally argued the appeal.
In Vega v MTA, a construction worker claimed catastrophic damages resulting from a crushed and partially amputated finger. His finger tip was struck by a piece of falling concrete. After it was re-attached in the hospital, plaintiff had two more surgeries, a fusion of the finger and removal of the hardware. He claimed that he developed Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, has allodynia from the tips of all five fingers up to his shoulder, and has no use of his left upper extremity, as well as a full and permanent disability as a result of psychiatric issues. Plaintiff's counsel asked the jury to return a verdict of approximately $33 million for his client’s Labor Law claims. The jury returned a net verdict of approximately $725,000, substantially less than LCBF’s client had offered to settle. The trial team was led by Ron Joseph.
In connection with its continuing representation of Amtrak in the MDL arising out of the May 12, 2015 derailment in Philadelphia, PA, LCBF negotiated a $265 million global resolution with the Plaintiffs’ Management Committee. On October 27, 2016, U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis approved the settlement program. Over 120 lawsuits have been filed on behalf of more than 150 passengers who suffered injuries and the families of passengers who died in the accident. The LCBF team is headed by Mark Landman and included John Bonventre and Yuri Brunetti.
In Williams v. National Railroad Passenger Corp., 14-CV-10009 (AT) (S.D.N.Y.), the plaintiff claimed she was discharged from her employment at Amtrak, in retaliation for having reported an altercation with her supervisor, in violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (“FRSA”), 49 U.S.C. § 20101, et seq. In dismissing her retaliation claims, the Court explained that this employment dispute clearly was not the kind of conduct or condition contemplated by the FRSA, as no railroad safety or security law was implicated. Indeed, the Court aptly observed, “the FRSA was intended to prevent and control safety risks like train derailments and security risks like terrorism, not the noninjurious contact of one railroad employee’s arms with another’s.” In short, the Court agreed that plaintiff had not engaged in whistleblower activities for purposes of the FRSA in reporting the dispute with her supervisor. The LCBF team was headed by Mark Landman and included Jennifer Ramme.
In Hopkins v. Amtrak, 08-CV-2965 (NGG) (RML) (E.D.N.Y.), on the eve of trial in federal court in Brooklyn, following 8 years of hard fought litigation and adverse court rulings on motions in limine, a grievously injured plaintiff voluntarily dismissed with prejudice and no payment his claims against Amtrak and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), which were represented by LCBF. Plaintiff, a 24-year old man, had climbed up on top of an Amtrak train at Boston’s South Station and touched the overhead catenary, resulting in 85% of his body suffering third and fourth degree burns with resulting amputations of his left arm, left leg, partial loss of digits on his right hand, and injuries to his genitals requiring penile reconstruction and multiple autograft surgeries. Even though there was no Massachusetts case on point, we argued to the federal judge that plaintiff’s own recklessness barred his claims that Amtrak was reckless for parking trains under energized wires overnight while the MBTA left the station open to the public with no security. Three days before trial, the Court issued a 55-page decision on a host of in limine issues, most significantly holding, as a matter of first impression under Massachusetts law, that a plaintiff whose conduct is in reckless disregard of his own safety is barred from recovery against a defendant on a recklessness claim. Previously, the court had granted defendants’ motion to bifurcate. See Hopkins v. Amtrak, 2016 WL 1588499 (E.D.N.Y. 2016). The LCBF team was headed by Mark Landman and Tina Bhatt.
An Eastern District of New York jury rendered a defense verdict for a Long Island law firm accused by a former employee of hostile work environment, retaliation, and constructive discharge in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000, et seq., 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and the New York State Human Rights Law. The LCBF team was headed by Rebecca Embry, who was assisted by Tina Bhatt.
In Scofield v. Avante Contracting Corp., 135 AD3d 929 (2d Dep’t 2016), plaintiff allegedly fell from a ladder while doing HVAC work at a construction project. He had completed the same task using the same ladder in four other rooms without incident. In the final room, he had to maneuver around two stacks of sheetrock, which prevented him from placing the ladder directly under the location where he needed to work. When plaintiff ascended the ladder, it was firmly on the ground and did not shake or move while he climbed to the third rung, but it tipped over when he reached three to four feet to his right. Plaintiff asserted claims under Labor Law §§ 200, 240 (1) and 241(6) against LCBF’s client, the general contractor, and the owner. The Second Department affirmed summary judgment for defendants, stating “the injured plaintiff improperly positioned and misused the ladder, which was the sole proximate cause of his injuries.” Gerald Ford headed the LCBF team.
In Dotseth vs. First Student, venued in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, plaintiff alleged a traumatic brain injury including, cognitive and memory impairment, as well as neck/back injuries as a result of being rear-ended by our client's school bus. Plaintiff received extensive medical treatment, including treatment from neurologists, neuropsychologists, orthopedists and homeopathic medicine specialists. Plaintiff, a banking executive earning from $250,000 to $500,000 a year at various times, alleged that she could no longer work as a result of the accident, could not socialize, could no longer participate in industry organizations and that her relationship with her husband, colleagues and friends deteriorated. Plaintiff boarded over $9 million in economic losses and asserted that she should also be compensated for her pain and suffering for the rest of her life. The last settlement demand before trial began was $6.1 million. The verdict was $101,000 consisting of $26,000 in past wage loss, $0 in future wage loss and $75,000 in pain and suffering. The LCBF team was headed by Diane Ruccia and included Dan Gillin.
In Kowlesar vs. First Transit Hudson County, venued in the Law Division of Hudson County, New Jersey, the firm achieved an extremely favorable settlement - significantly lower than the $6 million pretrial settlement demand - after two days of jury selection. Plaintiff, a pedestrian, was struck by our client's mini bus. Plaintiff alleged significant injuries including herniated cervical and lumbar discs, a rotator cuff tear and a torn meniscus, as well as alleged psychological damages, underwent four surgeries, and continued to receive medical treatment. Lead trial counsel Diane Ruccia was assisted by Brad Gallagher.
LCBF successfully defended Metro-North Railroad in the first claim arising out of the 2013 Spuyten Duyvil train derailment to go to trial. In Herbert v Metro-North Railroad (U.S. Dist. Ct., Southern District of New York), plaintiff, the assistant train conductor, claimed that she sustained numerous physical and psychological injuries that prevented her from ever returning to gainful employment. Defendant did not contest liability, but LCBF argued that plaintiff's injuries resolved and that she was capable of future employment. Despite plaintiff's counsel asking the jury to award over $4 million in damages, the jury awarded only $835,000 in total damages. Andrew Keaveney headed the LCBF team.
An accounting firm, represented by the firm, was accused of misrepresenting to clients that a particular accountant was an owner of the firm and the engagement member on their matters with the firm. LCBF successfully argued that, although the accountant and the firm had not signed a formal shareholder agreement evidencing that the accountant was an owner, the firm treated him as an owner and reported to the State of New York Department of Education that he was an owner. The LCBF team was led by Ron Joseph.
In Currence v. Cohen's Gentle Dental, venued in New York Civil Court, Bronx County, LCBF associate Orla Thompson obtained a dismissal of a breach of contract in dental malpractice case after examining the client and a defense witness, cross-examining the plaintiff, and closing.
In Vega v. Metropolitan Transp. Auth., 133 A.D.3d 518 (1st Dep’t 2015), the First Department dismissed RSD claims based upon the outcome of a Workers Compensation case. Plaintiff contended that his finger was crushed when a coworker operating an excavator dropped concrete debris on him, resulting in RSD. The court found plaintiff collaterally estopped by the board’s ruling that he does not suffer from RSD as a result of this incident. The court also affirmed the denial of plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment for liability under Labor Law 241(6) (because there was an issue of fact as to whether plaintiff was comparatively negligent) and 240(1) (because the hoisting equipment did not malfunction). Bill Ballaine headed the LCBF team.
Associate Charles Mondora prevailed on a summary judgment motion in Essex County, New Jersey on behalf of Greyhound in a multi-vehicle collision. Charles was able to obtain favorable deposition testimony and discovery, including independent witness affidavits, supporting the motion.
LCBF obtained a defense verdict in Eugene v Skyline Restoration, Inc. (Supreme Court, Queens County), where plaintiff claimed that the defendant's acidic-based solution used to clean a hi-rise building's brick façade fell into his eye. LCBF argued that plaintiff's alleged eye injuries manifested weeks after the incident and, therefore, were not related to the defendant's work. The jury agreed and awarded plaintiff nothing. Andrew Keaveney led the LCBF team.
After a multi-day trial, a New York County jury reached a defense verdict in favor of a prominent Manhattan orthodontist in a suit brought on behalf of three minors. Jim Woolsey tried the case.
LCBF obtained a temporary stay from the appellate division of a $5 million attachment order entered by a Kings County Supreme Court justice in an assisted living facility litigation. The LCBF team was headed by Brad Gallagher.
LCBF has been retained by a New York City property manager to defend several suits in Bronx County brought by plaintiffs who claim to have been seriously injured by exposure to the Legionella bacteria, resulting in Legionnaires' Disease. Drawing upon our decades of experience defending mold and other toxic tort claims, we have assembled as consultants a first-rate team of highly experienced Legionnaires' Disease experts, including an epidemiologist, microbiologist and mechanical engineer. LCBF's Legionnaires' team, headed by Dan Moretti, is prepared to work closely with building owners, property managers, and business operators in their efforts to prevent Legionella outbreaks, address such outbreaks should they actually occur, and respond to any resulting claims or suits.
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) has been scrutinizing audits of employee benefit programs, focusing on audit reports that were prepared by small accounting firms. The DOL has reported that they found deficiencies in 75.8% of audit reports prepared by firms with 1-2 CPA's and deficiencies in 68.4% of audit reports prepared by firms with 3-5 CPAs. An audit report can be deemed deficient if the auditor does not have expertise or sufficient experience in these types of engagements. The DOL can assess steep fines against employers who file audit reports that are not in compliance with the regulations. In turn, an employer may seek indemnification from its accountant for these penalties. Additionally, the DOL often refers these matters to the AICPA, or the state societies, for investigation of the accountant.
One of our clients, a CPA firm with two partners, was investigated by the AICPA for alleged deficiencies in the audit of one of these plans. The AICPA focused on whether the CPA firm had the required expertise and experience to perform this audit and whether the accountant’s opinion letter complied with the DOL’s standards. After we provided the AICPA with a detailed response to their investigation, the AICPA discontinued their investigation. Ron Joseph led the LCBF team in successfully defending the accounting firm.
LCBF recently tried to a successful conclusion a Nassau County case in which a company sued its accounting firm for almost $1 million after its bookkeeper embezzled $684,000 by putting her husband on the payroll. The CPA firm had performed accounting for the defendant for at least 30 years. The CPA firm had been retained to review the plaintiff's financial statements for the period of the fraud. LCBF argued that the CPA firm complied with the applicable AICPA standards and that it was not responsible for uncovering the fraud. The LCBF team was headed by Ron Joseph.
After the criminal case against him was dismissed, plaintiff filed a civil rights lawsuit against the arresting detectives in the Southern District of New York claiming that he was wrongfully arrested and that the detectives exercised unreasonable use of force, including a choke hold, seeking both compensatory and punitive damages. The jury determined that the arrest was lawful and that the detectives exercised reasonable use of force. The LCBF team was led by Ron Joseph.
In Nussbaum v. Metro-North Commuter R.R., 2015 WL 859565 (2d Cir. 2015), affm 994 F. Supp. 2d 483 (S.D.N.Y. 2014), the Second Circuit restated the general law that a plaintiff who alleges that a defendant created a dangerous condition must prove, not only that the defendant knew or had reason to know of the condition, but that the defendant knew or had reason to know of the danger, i.e., that the condition it created was dangerous. The LCBF team was headed by Andrew P. Keaveney.
In Kaminski v. 924 West End Ave, Inc., the Supreme Court, Kings County, granted summary judgment to a building owner represented by LCBF, dismissing Labor Law §§ 241(6) and 200 claims of plaintiff, who tripped over an electrical cord. The court accepted LCBF's argument that the building owner did not control the means and methods of plaintiff's work or create the condition that caused plaintiff to trip and fall. The court also accepted LCBF's argument that the sidewalk area where plaintiff was working was not a passageway pursuant to the Industrial Code and that the electrical cord, which belonged to a grinder used by plaintiff's foreman, was an integral part of the work being performed. The LCBF team was headed by Gerry Ford and Brad Gallagher.
In DeLollis v. Friedberg Smith & Co., P.C., 600 Fed.Appx. 792 (2d Cir. 2015), the Second Circuit affirmed the Connecticut district court’s dismissal of claims against auditor of a so-called Madoff feeder fund on the ground that the firm’s client had no duty to perform audit procedure on Madoff registered broker-dealer and was entitled to rely on its financial statements. To our knowledge, this is the only instance in which such a Madoff claim was dismissed as a matter of law on the ground that the auditor had complied with the applicable auditing standards. Steve Jacobs argued the case in the district court and worked on the Second Circuit brief.
In River View at Patchogue, LLC v. Hudson Ins. Co., 122 A.D.3d 824 (2d Dep’t 2014), the Second Department affirmed the dismissal of a "direct action" against the firm’s client on ground that plaintiff was bound as a matter of collateral estoppel by a holding, in a prior action the client had brought, that the client had not received timely notice of an environmental claim or occurrence. Steve Jacobs headed the LCBF team.
In Fox v. SLS Residential, Inc. (Sup. Ct. Nassau County), the firm obtained summary judgment for an owner and administrator of a psychiatric facility sued by the family of a woman who had been decapitated and dismembered by an out-patient. Previously, the Appellate Division, Second Department, dismissed the malpractice claims, 88 A.D.3d 131, but allowed the case to proceed on the negligence claims. After conducting discovery, the firm successfully moved for summary judgment. Ron Joseph headed the LCBF team.
In Alanna Stone v Police Department and Two Police Officers (S.D.N.Y.), after the criminal case for disorderly conduct against her was dismissed, plaintiff filed a civil rights lawsuit against the two arresting officers and their department claiming wrongful arrest and police brutality, and seeking both compensatory and punitive damages. The jury exonerated one officer and found that, although the other officer should not have arrested her, there was no police brutality. It awarded plaintiff only $15,000 in compensatory damages and no punitive damages. Prior to trial plaintiff's counsel had demanded $500,000 to settle the matter, and in summation, asked the jury to award damages of $1 million. After the trial, plaintiff's counsel sought legal fees of approximately $470,000 and legal costs of approximately $28,000. The court awarded plaintiff's counsel only $50,000 in fees and $25,000 in costs. The LCBF team was lead by Ron Joseph and included Bill Ballaine and Tina Bhatt.
In Elias v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., 2014 WL 3702597 (6th Cir. 2014), affirming 2013 WL 5372887 (E.D. Mich. 2013), the Sixth Circuit rejected all of plaintiffs’ arguments on appeal and upheld the dismissal, on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, of a complaint filed by a real estate broker and his companies claiming that their inclusion on Freddie Mac’s Exclusionary List ("E-List") violated the antitrust laws and constituted interference with contract, defamation, and civil conspiracy. The decision extends Family Home, 525 F.3d 822 (9th Cir. 2008), and permits E-list claims to be dismissed on a pre-discovery Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Further, the Sixth Circuit held that a party’s inclusion on the E-list is not necessarily equivalent to an accusation of fraud or illegal business practices, and rejected plaintiffs’ argument that various factual allegations gave rise to a plausible inference of malice. The LCBF appeal team was headed by Gerry Ford and Mark Landman.
Amtrak sued John Davis Trucking ("JDT") in federal court in Reno, Nevada for damages to its equipment and for expenses arising from a 2011 crossing collision in Lovelock, Nevada, which resulted in six fatalities and several serious personal injuries, when JDT's tractor-trailer struck an Amtrak train. LCBF also represented Union Pacific ("UP"), which JTD sued. JDT claimed the warning devices at the crossing failed to activate properly and that the Amtrak train illegally accelerated on the approach to the crossing. JDT also argued that spoliation of evidence provided a strong inference in its favor on the issue of the crossing devices not functioning properly. Prior to submission of the case to the jury, District Judge McKibben directed a verdict for Amtrak on JDT's counterclaim against it. The jury found that JDT was 100% at fault for the accident. In the damages phase of the trial, the jury awarded over $4.5 million in damages to Amtrak and $210,000 to the UP. The LCBF trial team was headed by Mark Landman, Bill Ballaine and Jennifer Ramme.
In Muro v. The MITRE Corp. et al. (New Jersey Superior Court), plaintiff alleged violations of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and Conscientious Employee Protection Act based upon alleged electronic communications. Through forensic computer investigation, LCBF demonstrated that plaintiff had fraudulently modified electronic communications and intentionally deleted records. As a result, the court granted summary judgment dismissing the complaint and, given plaintiff's spoliation of evidence, awarded defendants $150,000 in counsel fees and $118,000 for costs and forensic/electronic data expenses. The LCBF team was headed by Joseph M. Tomaino, Mark Landman and Charles Mondora.
In Isaac v. MLMIC et al., Index No. 2013-883, the Supreme Court, Erie County, granted a motion to dismiss filed by LCBF on behalf of a structured settlement company being sued for antitrust violations (the Donnelly Act) for allegedly conspiring with New York's largest medical malpractice insurer to exclude plaintiff settlement brokers from participation in brokering structured settlements. The court found that plaintiffs were alleging "wholly unilateral conduct" that would not sustain a Donnelly Act claim. Mark Landman headed the LCBF team that brought this matter to an early and successful resolution.
In Krauss v. 3M Company, et al., the Supreme Court, New York County, granted LCBF client Bechtel summary judgment on the ground that there was no evidence that it manufactured, distributed or installed an asbestos-containing product to which plaintiff was exposed, nor supervised or controlled the work giving rise to plaintiff's exposure. The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that Bechtel’s management of an Owens Corning subcontract at the 1964 World's Fair location created a triable issue of fact. It found that "there [was] no evidence to show that Mr. Krauss was exposed to asbestos by reason of any products distributed or installed by [the client], that [the client] directly controlled Mr. Krauss' work, or that [the client] controlled the work of the other trades whose activities allegedly contributed to Mr. Krauss' exposure." As such, plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that Bechtel exercised the degree of supervisory control necessary to support their claims. The LCBF team was headed by Christopher Kozak.
In Ward v. Affinia Group, et al., the New Jersey Superior Court, Middlesex County, granted summary judgment to LCBF’s client on the ground that there was no evidence to establish that decedent worked with or around an asbestos-containing product made by the client. Plaintiffs argued that an affidavit by decedent's son, stating that decedent's shop used the client’s product and that the product was dusty, created an issue of fact precluding summary judgment. We argued that the affidavit was a "sham" because it sharply contradicted earlier testimony and did not identify any asbestos-containing product manufactured by our client that the decedent was actually using. The court rejected the affidavit and found that "from the evidence presented on the record [there was] a reasonable inference that some [products] contained asbestos, [but] there was no connection made between the 'possible' [products] sold by [the shop across the street] and Decedent actually using that [product]." The LCBF team was headed by Christopher Kozak and Joseph Tomaino.
In Wallace v. Nat'l R.R. Pass. Corp., 2014 WL 1088906 (S.D.N.Y. March 18, 2014), the district court ruled that Amtrak was entitled to a declaration, prior to trial of the underlying personal injury claims, that its contractor, Weeks Marine, was contractually obligated both to pay Amtrak's defense costs and fees and to indemnify Amtrak against the personal injury claims of Weeks’ employee against Amtrak. The district court rejected Weeks' contention that, based on New York state law, these determinations had to await the trial and determination of the underlying claims. The district court also looked, in part, to insurance law principles in deciding that Amtrak had not been obligated to use the defense counsel retained by Weeks to represent Amtrak because Weeks' reservation of its rights not to indemnify Amtrak created a conflict of interest which entitled Amtrak to select its own defense counsel. The LCBF team was headed by Bill Ballaine and Ron Joseph.
The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York has approved a settlement consisting of an immediate cash payment of $767 million to resolve the claims of LCBF client Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac's claims involved complex derivative transactions, short term loan transactions, and mortgage seller/servicer related obligations. Lehman’s demise in 2008 resulted in one of the largest and most complex bankruptcies in U.S. history. LCBF’s team, headed by Mark Landman and Sophia Ree, was responsible for filing Freddie Mac’s proofs of claim and in pursuing the claims and, with the conservator's counsel, negotiating the settlement.
A Connecticut federal court has stood by its decision in DeLollis v. Friedberg, Smith & Co., P.C., 933 F.Supp.2d 354 (D. Conn. 2013) granting the motion to dismiss filed by LCBF on behalf of the auditor of an investment fund sued for tens of millions of dollars of Madoff-related losses. In denying the motion to vacate and for leave to serve an amended complaint of three union benefit funds, Judge Stefan Underhill held that plaintiffs had no plausible claim that the auditor departed from the applicable auditing standards in relying on annual confirmations from Madoff’s brokerage firm. The LCBF team included Steve Jacobs and Lou Corsi.
In National Railroad Passenger Corporation v. The City of New Brunswick, the United States District Court for New Jersey signed a consent order vacating tax assessments and tax sales that had occurred on Amtrak-owned property within the City of New Brunswick and further ordered the City not to issue any future tax assessments, tax bills or conduct tax sales on any Amtrak-owned property within the City. The consent order followed a pre-discovery summary judgment motion filed by LCBF that sought to enforce Amtrak’s statutory exemption from local property taxes. The LCBF team was headed by Gerry Ford.
In Elias v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. 2014 WL 3702597 (6th Cir. 2014), affirming 2013 WL 5372887 (E.D. Mich. 2013), the Sixth Circuit rejected all of plaintiffs’ arguments on appeal and upheld the dismissal, on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, of a complaint filed by a real estate broker and his companies claiming that their inclusion on Freddie Mac’s Exclusionary List violated the antitrust laws and constituted interference with contract, defamation, and civil conspiracy. The LCBF team was headed by Gerry Ford and Mark Landman.
In Schofield v. Avante Contractive Corp., the Supreme Court, Westchester County, granted the summary judgment motion of a general contractor represented by LCBF and dismissed Labor Law §§ 240(1), 241(6), and 200 claims of plaintiff, who fell from an unsecured ladder. The court accepted LCBF’s argument that plaintiff was the sole proximate cause of the accident because he did not remove or request the removal of Sheetrock on the floor that served as an obstruction. The LCBF team was headed by Gerry Ford.
In two consolidated declaratory judgment actions pending in the Supreme Court, Bronx County (Del Savio Masonry Corp. v. American Empire Surplus Lines Ins. Co. and Avalon WP I et al. v. American Empire Surplus Lines Ins. Co.), the court granted two motions for summary judgment filed by LCBF on behalf of its insurer client seeking a declaration that it did not have a duty to defend or indemnify two insureds on the ground that the insureds failed to provide timely notice of the occurrence of the underlying accident. The LCBF team was headed by Jerry Cuomo and Gerry Ford.
In Rodriguez v. Winski, 2013 WL 5379880 (S.D.N.Y. 2013), District Judge Naomi Buchwald issued a 40-page decision dismissing most of the 49 separate claims asserted by a group of Occupy Wall Street protestors, elected officials, and journalists against LCBF clients, the MTA Police Department, its commissioner and various officers, and others including the City of New York, Mayor Bloomberg, the NYPD, J.P. Morgan Chase and the owner of Zuccotti Park. The 939-paragraph Amended Complaint included claims of violations of plaintiffs’ First and Fourth Amendment rights, violation of New York State constitutional rights, conspiracy, and state law claims. The Court dismissed almost all the claims against the MTA defendants, which arose from an arrest during an OWS protest at Grand Central Station, and granted LCBF’s motion to sever the remaining claims against LCBF's clients from those remaining against the other defendants. The LCBF team was headed by Phil DiBerardino and included Bill Ballaine.
In Taveras v. 2995 Botanical Sq. LLC (Supreme Court, Bronx County) dismissed all claims against a building owner, represented by LCBF, asserted on behalf of an infant who claimed developmental delays as a result of a blood lead level of 27 ug/dL at age 1. Justice Suarez dismissed plaintiffs' Title X and punitive damage claims, and also ruled that there was no evidence that the infant was exposed to any actual lead-based paint hazard at the subject premises during the client's period of ownership, which expired approximately six weeks prior to the identification of lead-based paint hazards by the New York City Department of Health. The LCBF team was headed by Melanie Suhrada.
In Arriaga-Hernandez v. MTA, New York County Supreme Court Justice Stallman granted a motion made by LCBF on behalf of the defendant to compel the production of the plaintiff's cell phone records despite the fact that there was no evidence that claimant was on his phone at the time he was struck by defendant’s train and plaintiff had denied during his PALH that he used his cell phone while at the station. The LCBF team was headed by Phil DiBerardino.
Three partners of a prominent accounting firm were investigated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for alleged misconduct. The firm prevailed in getting the matter dismissed without any action taken by the AICPA against any of the accountants. The LCBF team was headed by Ron Joseph.
In Mallozzi v. EcoSMART, 2013 WL 2415677 (E.D.N.Y.), LCBF obtained summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s claims that he had suffered permanent injuries and needed future medical treatment as a result of brief exposure to our client’s pest control product. Defendant vigorously disputed these claims as the active ingredients in the product consist of various plant oils. LCBF successfully challenged the opinions of plaintiffs' occupational and environmental health expert pursuant to Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm. Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1983). As a result of the expert's opinions being deemed unreliable, plaintiff could not establish a causal connection between the alleged exposure and the claimed injuries. The LCBF team was headed by Joseph M. Tomaino and Natalie Garcia.
In Stowe v. National Railroad Corp., 2012 WL 4360436 (2d Cir. 2012), affirming 793 F. Supp. 2d 549 (E.D.N.Y. 2011), the Second Circuit rejected all of the plaintiff's arguments on appeal and upheld a zero damages verdict after LCBF's client had conceded negligence. Among other things, the plaintiff had argued that the Supreme Court's Decision in CSX Transp. Inc. v. McBride, 131 S. Ct. 2630 (2011) required a new trial because the FELA jury charge on causation omitted the phrase "no matter how small. "The plaintiff asserted this phrase was mandatory after McBride because the charge approved in McBride had contained that language. Agreeing with the LCBF position on appeal, the Second Circuit ruled that because the jury charge given by the trial court tracked the language of the statute, the charge was not erroneous. The LCBF team was headed by Gerry Ford and Mark Landman.
In Krasner v. RAHFCO Funds, 2012 WL 4069300 (S.D.N.Y. 2012), LCBF successfully moved to dismiss all federal securities and common law claims asserted by a group of investors against its accounting firm client (and others) arising from the accounting services provided to a hedge fund that was ultimately discovered to be involved in a multi-million dollar alleged Ponzi scheme. Since the plaintiffs had already amended their complaint once, the court dismissed all claims against the accountants with prejudice. Lou Corsi led the LCBF team.
In Paladini v. Capossela, Cohen, LLC, 2012 WL 3834655 (S.D.N.Y. 2012), Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the Southern District granted, with prejudice, the motion to dismiss LCBF filed on behalf of the accounting firm it represented. The Court found, among other things, that plaintiff's claims failed as a matter of law because of an absence of proximate cause. Specifically, the Court agreed with the accounting firm that plaintiff, when deciding to enter into two 2007 loans and distributions (for almost $100 million), could not have relied on the firm's 2007 audit in any manner as the audit was not completed until the following year. The LCBF team was headed by Sophia Ree.
In Maher v. McKelvin et al., LCBF obtained a defense verdict from a jury in an action venued in Nassau County. The rear-end impact totaled plaintiff's car and allegedly caused injuries to his back that would require surgery and kept him from returning to work. Despite conceding liability, the jury returned a defense verdict. The LCBF team was headed by Joseph M. Tomaino.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an opinion affirming summary judgment on behalf of our client Freddie Mac that it owed Doral Bank PR no more than $124,588 in mortgage servicing fees, rejecting Doral's claims for damages exceeding $10.87 million. The majority opinion held that the contract clause Doral tried to rely upon was an unenforceable liquidated damage clause, rather than an "alternative performance contract," as Doral attempted to characterize it. In mid 2008, Freddie Mac had informed Doral that it would not be transferring more than 45,000 mortgage loans to Doral for interim servicing. In accordance with the parties' agreement, Freddie Mac offered to pay $124,588 representing the costs it understood Doral had incurred to prepare for the potential transfer of these loans. Without documenting additional actual costs, Doral rejected the offer and demanded well over $10 million. The LCBF team was headed by Bill Ballaine and Mark Landman.
As trial approached, LCBF was retained as trial counsel to defend a railroad in a 2010 accident at a crossing in University Heights, Illinois, where the warning signals had been inadvertently deactivated by maintenance workers, resulting in the untimely death of a 26-year old ballet instructor and dancer. After a full day of trial in Cook County Circuit Court, the case was settled for $6 million. The LCBF team was headed by Mark Landman.
Ruling on several important issues of federal civil procedure, the court in Mendoza v. Federal National Mortgage Ass'n held that (1) it had subject matter jurisdiction to review a sua sponte remand order because the remand was not based upon a lack of subject matter jurisdiction; (2) the district court had no authority to remand a case more than 30 days after removal if the remand was not based upon a lack of subject matter jurisdiction; (3) Freddie Mac had not waived its right to remove by filing an unlawful detainer action in state court with regard to the same property at issue in the removed case, since it dismissed that action following removal; and (4) the district court lacks authority to remand a case at any time based upon a "procedural defect" and a waiver is a procedural defect. The LCBF team, which was retained as oral argument approached, was headed by Mark Landman.
In Sotomayer v Metropolitan Transp. Authority, 92 A.D.3d 862 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dep't 2012), plaintiff was engaged in the requisitioning and gathering of parts used by others in the course of performing maintenance and modification of existing passenger railroad cars. The appellate division affirmed the trial court’s ruling in favor of LCBF’s client that plaintiff was not engaged in construction, excavation, or demolition work, as required for liability under Labor Law § 241(6). The LCBF team was headed by James Woolsey and Bill Ballaine.
In Dahar v. Holland Ladder & Mfg. Co., 18 N. Y 3d 521 (2012), aff'g 79 A.D.3d 1651 (4th Dept 2010), New York’s highest court affirmed the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, in dismissing a strict liability claim on the grounds that Labor Law §240 did not apply to plaintiff’s accident, which occurred while he was allegedly “cleaning” a fabricated wall module beam that was being prepared by the manufacturer for shipment to its purchaser. The LCBF team was headed by Bill Ballaine and James Woolsey.
In Adeptech Systems, Inc. v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp., 2011 WL 6820184 (E.D.Va.), LCBF successfully moved for summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's breach of contract, civil business conspiracy, and tortious interference claims against Freddie Mac in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Plaintiff alleged that Freddie Mac acted improperly by awarding a contract for certain software products and services to another company, not plaintiff. Plaintiff was seeking damages in excess of $15 million. The LCBF team was headed by Jerry Cuomo and Mark Landman.
In Bianca Jagger v. Katz Park Avenue, the Appellate Term, First Department reversed the trial court and threw out plaintiff's bodily injury claims. Plaintiff, the ex-wife of Mick Jagger, sought in excess of $20 million in damages for injuries allegedly sustained as a consequence of water damage and resultant mold growth in her rent-stabilized Park Avenue apartment. The court accepted LCBF's arguments that, although plaintiff's experts inspected the apartment on multiple occasions, they never collected reliable evidence that the air in the apartment contained excessive (or hazardous) amounts of mold. The court held: "[n]otably, plaintiff's environmental expert merely collected indoor air samples on a single day, a showing insufficiently reliable to demonstrate the level of toxicity, if any, in plaintiff's apartment." As there was no admissible evidence of any injurious exposure, the court held that plaintiff's bodily injury claims should have been dismissed. LCBF also argued that plaintiff's causation expert's opinions -- that mold was capable of, or in fact have caused, plaintiff's alleged injuries -- were inadmissible junk science. Given the court's findings regarding the lack of a valid evidentiary showing of an injurious exposure, it did not address the medical causation arguments. The LCBF team was headed by Jed Davies.
In Sadek v. Greyhound, venued in New York County, LCBF prevailed at a Frye hearing during trial, precluding plaintiff from proceeding to the jury with respect to his claims that he suffered a stroke as a result of an accident involving a Greyhound bus. Plaintiff, who also alleged orthopedic injuries, shoulder surgery and recommended back surgery, had demanded $10 million to settle case, including a future wage loss of $5 million. After medical testimony by several neurologists, and arguments by counsel, the court ruled that plaintiff's theory of medical causation (that plaintiff suffered a stroke due to the stress of the accident/spike in high blood pressure and the contortion of his body caused by the impact) was not generally accepted in the medical community of neurology. It also ruled that plaintiff's theories of causation were new theories, presented after a jury had already been selected and thus, were prejudicial to the defense. As a result of LCBF's success at the Frye hearing, plaintiff dismissed his orthopedic claims and is pursuing an appeal on the court's ruling precluding the stroke. The LCBF team was headed by Diane Ruccia and Natalie Garcia.
In Consolidated Rail Corp. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., a dispute between insurers regarding coverage for expenses incurred by a railroad in defending wrongful death actions arising from two automobile-train collisions that occurred at a railroad crossing during the course of a road construction project, the Delaware Superior Court held, based on the “other insurance” clauses in the respective policies, that LCBF’s client, a force account insurer of the railroad, was entitled to recover the railroad’s entire defense costs and pre-judgment interest thereon, in excess of $1.2 million, from the liability insurer of the general contractor whose policy covered the railroad as an additional insured. The LCBF team was headed by Michael Gioia.
In Cervantes v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 2011 WL 3911031 (9th Cir. Sept. 7, 2011), the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action challenging foreclosure procedures for home loans listing the Mortgage Electronic Recording Service (MERS) as the beneficiary on deeds of trust. This was an appeal from the district court in Arizona handling the MDL proceedings (In Re MERS MDL Litigation). LCBF took the lead in drafting the appellate brief on behalf of the MERS “shareholder defendants,” including firm client Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. ("Freddie Mac"). Mark Landman heads the team handling the matter.
In Stowe v. Amtrak, 2011 WL 2516939 (E.D.N.Y. 2011), LCBF obtained a ruling denying the plaintiff’s post-trial motions following a defense verdict from a jury in an FELA case tried in Brooklyn. The 40-year old plaintiff cash clerk alleged that a safe door fell on top of her causing multiple injuries to her neck, spine, chest and left shoulder. Plaintiff had surgery and extensive medical treatment for several years leading up to trial. She alleged orthopedic injuries, PTSD, and depression. Despite Amtrak’s concession, the jury returned a defense verdict. Mark Landman tried the case on behalf of Amtrak. Mark and Gerry Ford handled the post-trial motions.
LCBF client Crum & Forster reached a settlement with the class plaintiffs in the In Re Insurance Brokerage Litigation MDL venued in New Jersey, paying half or less of what each of the other settling insurers agreed to contribute. The prior August, the Third Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the Sherman Act and RICO claims that had been brought against Crum & Forster. See In re Insurance Brokerage Antitrust Litigation, 618 F.3d 300 (3rd Cir. 2010). The LCBF team was headed by Lou Corsi and Steve Jacobs.
LCBF successfully concluded a matter in which it represented an insurer in a London arbitration involving a very large pharmaceutical claim. The LCBF team was headed by Lou Corsi.
In Burns v. D&B Acoustical et al., venued in Schenectady County, LCBF successfully defeated an asbestos supplier's claim for conditional common law indemnification against our client, an asbestos product manufacturer. We argued that such conditional decisions are premature and should be left to juries to decide. We also argued that the imputed "knowledge" of an asbestos supplier and product manufacturer is distinct and, further, that the asbestos supplier failed to provide the Court with any evidence that it did not or could not have known about the dangers of asbestos. This decision is significant because there has been a recent surge in such motions by asbestos supplier defendants. If such motions were successful, asbestos product manufacturers would be saddled with indemnifying asbestos suppliers at the pre-trial stage of litigation. The LCBF team was headed by Christopher Kozak.
In Vogel v. Laidlaw, LCBF obtained a defense verdict from a Bergen County, New Jersey jury in a serious personal injury case for a student transportation company and two of its employees. Plaintiff, a severely autistic minor, was allegedly physically and verbally abused by the insured's bus driver and bus aide, resulting in severe PTSD and worsening of his autism. Plaintiff called numerous experts at trial, including a neurologist, neuro-psychologist, and life care planner who boarded $4.8 million in future costs. The case was litigated for five years and plaintiff never lowered her demand below $5 million. The LCBF team was headed by Joseph Tomaino and Diane Ruccia.
In Nostrom v. A.W. Chesterton, 15 N.Y.3d 502 (2010), aff'g, 59 A.D.3d 159 (1st Dep't 2009), LCBF won an affirmance from the Court of Appeals of an Order dismissing the asbestos personal injury claims brought on behalf of a former construction worker against our client, Bechtel. The Court of Appeals rejected plaintiff's attempt to hold Bechtel vicariously liable as the alleged general contractor under Labor Law §241(6) based on purported violations of Part 12 of the Industrial Code, which contains regulations relating to "dangerous air contaminants." Resolving a split of authorities in the Appellate Division, the Court of Appeals held that a §241(6) strict liability claim against owners or general contractors must be based upon alleged violations of regulations found in Part 23. LCBF successfully argued, in part, that any attempt by plaintiffs to rely upon regulations outside Part 23, if successful, would retroactively engineer a drastic expansion of the statutory non-delegable duty of owners and contractors to workers alleging latent injuries due to asbestos exposure. The LCBF team was headed by Bill Ballaine, who argued the appeals, Mark Landman and Christopher Kozak.
In In re Beacon Associates Litigation, 745 F. Supp. 2d 386 (S.D.N.Y. 2010), LCBF obtained a dismissal of an array of class and derivative claims under federal and state law against an auditor of a so-called Madoff feeder fund. The firm is currently defending related claims in three New York state court actions. The LCBF team is headed by Lou Corsi and Steve Jacobs.
In Nettles v. SUNY, LCBF obtained a directed verdict in the Eastern District New York, where plaintiff alleged race discrimination and retaliation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and New York Executive Law §§ 290, et seq., (“New York State Human Rights Law”) against an employee of the Research Foundation of State University of New York and others. Plaintiff alleged that the Research Foundation employee failed to investigate and respond to plaintiff’s complaint of discriminatory treatment in the workplace. Plaintiff further alleged that the employee retaliated against him for filing a charge of discrimination with the State’s Division of Human Rights. After the conclusion of all evidence to the jury, Judge Leonard D. Wexler heard directed verdict arguments and dismissed all claims. The LCBF team was headed by Rebecca Embry.
LCBF obtained a defense verdict in Edmonson v. 141 Realty LLC, a lead paint case involving an infant who claimed brain injury and academic compromise in consequence of a blood lead level (“BLL”) of 22 ug/dL at age 5 and BLLs between 5 – 8 ug/dL beginning at age 2. We questioned the reliability of plaintiff’s mother’s testimony regarding peeling paint conditions and argued that lead paint is not hazardous per se and that the surfaces identified as lead positive by the Department of Health did not present an actual hazard. A unanimous Kings County jury agreed that there were no hazardous lead-based paint conditions present. The LCBF team was headed by Melanie Suhrada.
In Cevasco v. Amtrak, 606 F. Supp. 2d 401 (S.D.N.Y. 2010), LCBF successfully handled five actions in the Southern District of New York arising out of a construction accident in which a high rail crane rolled approximately 4,000 feet and struck five workers at another construction site. The workers sustained significant injuries including a foot amputation, de-gloved leg, brain injuries, hearing loss, fractured clavicle, a collapsed lung, and spinal, shoulder and knee injuries requiring a cervical decompression with fusion, laminectomy with fusion and AC joint resection. The court ruled that, regardless whether Amtrak had been negligent in operating or maintaining the crane, Amtrak’s co-defendant contractors were contractually responsible for defending and indemnifying Amtrak. All of the matters were thereafter settled without any monetary contribution from Amtrak. The LCBF team was headed by Bill Ballaine and Ron Joseph.
In Sanders v. Grenadier Realty, Inc., 367 Fed. Appx. 172 (2d Cir. 2010), the Second Circuit upheld the district court’s order dismissing the tenant plaintiffs’ claims that our clients had violated plaintiffs’ rights under the Fair Housing Act and the First Amendment by refusing to grant the tenants rent subsidies. The LCBF team was led by Bill Ballaine, who argued the appeal, and Sophia Ree.
In Archstone v. Tocci Building Corporation of New Jersey, the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court, Nassau County issued a lengthy decision denying plaintiffs' claims that a certain forensic architect’s reports were privileged, noting that plaintiffs submitted sworn testimony that “smacks of revisionist history.” LCBF represents the general contractor in this suit brought by the developer/owner of a residential community in Westbury, Long Island. The site consists of twenty residential buildings, a community clubhouse and several out-buildings, which were constructed at a cost of approximately $40 million. Plaintiff alleges damages in excess of $70 million. The LCBF team is headed by Dan Moretti and Jed Davies.
In Montgomery v. Cheshire Harding, 2009 WL 332026 (Vt. Supr. 2009), LCBF won a final appeal resulting from a Vermont action where the plaintiff was run over by a forklift and suffered catastrophic injuries, including the loss of his right leg at the hip. LCBF was brought in to try the case. Plaintiff’s settlement demand before trial was $25 million. After obtaining a defense verdict at trial in the Vermont federal court, LCBF successfully handled plaintiff’s post-trial motions and a collateral appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court. The LCBF trial team was headed by John Bonventre and the appellate team by Gerry Ford.
In McGuinn v. LifeCell Corp., LCBF obtained a defense verdict dismissing an executive officer's discrimination (race and gender) claims following trial and post-trial submissions in this binding arbitration. The LCBF team was headed by Joseph Tomaino.
In Kerusa Co. LLC v. W10Z/515 Real Estate Limited Partnership, 12 N.Y.3d 236 (2009), a seminal case interpreting the Martin Act, LCBF obtained dismissal of all fraud claims asserted against the condominium sponsor and developers by the wealthy owner of a luxury condominium apartment in a newly-constructed Park Avenue high-rise building, which allegedly had construction defects. The Court of Appeals held that because the NY Attorney General bears sole responsibility for implementing and enforcing Martin Act requirements relating to the purchase and sale of security interests in condominium apartments, a condominium apartment purchaser may not pursue a claim for common-law fraud against the building's sponsor when the fraud is predicated solely on alleged material omissions from offering plan amendments mandated by the Martin Act and the Attorney General's implementing regulations. The LCBF team was headed by Bill Ballaine, who argued the case, and Jed Davies.
In Rivera v. NYCHA, the firm won a defense verdict in a lead paint claim involving a child with a reported blood lead level (“BLL”) of 25 ug/d. The Brooklyn jury found that, although defendant was negligent in allowing hazardous lead paint conditions to exist at the subject apartment, defendant’s negligence was not the cause of any claimed damages. The LCBF team was headed by Melanie Suhrada.
In Hepburn v. LIRR, venued in the Eastern District of New York, LCBF obtained a defense verdict for the LIRR in a FELA suit, where a former conductor alleged head, neck and throat cancer from second-hand tobacco smoke exposure ("ETS") while he was a conductor on "smoking trains." Had plaintiff's cause of action been successful, LIRR and other railroad defendants would have been exposed to significant future liability for ETS claims by former railroad employees and passengers. The LCBF team was headed by John Bonventre.
Recent Awards and Recognitions
LCBF has received Tier 1 national ranking for Railroad Law by U.S. News & World Report. A description of their selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
New Jersey member Diane J. Ruccia was recognized as a 2016 Nominee for Excellence in Advocacy Award, in the category of Veteran Practitioner for Professional Women in Advocacy.
Members Bill Ballaine, Lou Corsi, Steve Jacobs, Ron Joseph and Mark Landman have been selected to the 2016 NY Metro Super Lawyers list, and associates Jim Dougherty and Jennifer Ramme to the list of NY Metro Super Lawyer – Rising Stars. Super Lawyers is published by Thomson Reuters, as they all have been to prior lists. A description of their selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Associate Charles Mondora has been cited as a 2016 New Jersey Super Lawyer – Rising Star. Super Lawyers is published by Thomson Reuters, as they all have been to prior lists. A description of their selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
U.S. News & World Report gave LCBF Tier 1 rankings for Railroad Law, both nationally and in New York City. A description of their selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Members Bill Ballaine (Appellate), Lou Corsi (Insurance Coverage), Steve Jacobs (Professional Liability Defense), and Ron Joseph and Mark Landman (General Litigation) have been recognized again as 2015 NY Metro Super Lawyers. Associates Jim Dougherty and Jennifer Ramme have been cited as NY Metro Super Lawyer – Rising Stars. Super Lawyers is published by Thomson Reuters, as they all have been to prior lists. A description of their selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Diane Ruccia has been invited to join the prestigious Claims and Litigation Management Alliance. The CLM is a nonpartisan alliance comprised of thousands of insurers, corporations, corporate counsel, litigation and risk managers, claims professionals, and attorneys. Through educational programs and collaboration, the organization’s goals are to further the representation of companies and promote the highest standards of litigation management. Selected attorneys and law firms are extended membership by invitation only based on nominations from CLM Fellows.
Of counsel Andrew Kornblau has been cited as a 2015 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer – Rising Star. Super Lawyers is published by Thomson Reuters. A description of their selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
NJ member Natalie Garcia has been selected to the 2015 New Jersey Super Lawyers - Rising Star list. Pennsylvania of counsel Andrew Kornblau has been selected to the 2015 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers - Rising Star list. Super Lawyers is published by Thomson Reuters. A description of their selection methodology can be found here. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
New Jersey member Diane J. Ruccia was recognized as a 2014 Nominee for Excellence in Advocacy Award, in the category of Veteran Practitioner for Professional Women in Advocacy.
Speaking Engagements and Publications
Ron Joseph gave a lecture to the command staff of a police department, including its Chief, Assistant Chiefs Inspectors and Captains, concerning jurisdiction, off-duty arrests and the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act.
On November 16, 2016, Charles Mondora moderated a session related to data privacy and cybersecurity breach litigation. The session addressed (1) recommended internal policies and procedures regarding data security, with a focus on enabling the defensible position of reasonableness in the regulatory and civil litigation contexts in light of FTC v. Wyndham, and (2) Spokeo, Article III standing, and the viability and defense of class actions based on recent federal court of appeals decisions, including Neiman Marcus and Galaria.
Natalie Garcia and Charles Mondora published an article in the New Jersey Law Journal entitled “Third Circuit Considers Injury-in-Fact Requirement for Data-Breach Class Actions.” The article discusses the appeals pending from the decisions in In re Horizon Healthcare Services Inc. Data Breach Litigation (D.N.J. March 31, 2015) and Storm v. Paytime, 90 F.Supp.3d 35 (M.D.Pa. 2015), and whether the Third Circuit will follow the injury-in-fact analysis of Reilly v. Ceridian Corp., 664 F.3d 38 (3d Cir. 2011), its own precedent, to confirm a split among the circuits, as compared with the recent Seventh Circuit decisions in Remijas v. Neiman Marcus Group, 794 F.3d 688 (7th Cir. 2015) and Lewert v. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, 819 F.3d 963 (7th Cir. 2016).
Dan Moretti gave a presentation at a workshop at Emory University - Rollins School of Public Health. It focused on the legal challenges and ramifications of Legionella escalation in commercial and residential buildings, and included an analysis of the many guidelines and regulations governing the standard of care for property owners and others responsible for maintaining water treatment systems throughout the country.
Ron Joseph conducted a seminar on Defense and Indemnification for the claims department of one of the firm’s largest clients.
On August 18, 2015, Ron Joseph presented a seminar to attorneys on taking depositions in state and federal cases.
On July 14, 2015, Ron Joseph presented a seminar, to claims professionals and attorneys, on how to investigate construction accidents.
On October 2, 2014, Andrew Charkow gave a presentation on Medicare Secondary Payer Compliance at Amtrak's National Claims Conference in Baltimore, MD.
Melanie Suhrada distributed a Risk Management Alert for dentists insured by Physicians' Reciprocal Insurance focusing on recent jury verdicts and practice points aimed at malpractice prevention.
Dan Moretti and Melanie Suhrada gave a presentation entitled "Labor and Employment Laws for Dentists." The lecture addressed types of employment claims, and tools for prevention as well as New York City's recently amended Paid Leave Act.
Melanie Suhrada and James Dougherty's program entitled "Litigating Lead Cases," was approved for CLE credit in NY and presented. Topics included applicable law, sample cases and techniques to maximize important medical, factual and scientific data.
On December 5 and 6, 2013, Ron Joseph gave lectures to the sergeants and lieutenants of a police department concerning stop and frisk procedures and probable cause in preparation for that police department's 2014 Super Bowl mobilization.
On October 2, 2013 and October 4, 2013, Rebecca Embry presented on applicable employment laws and regulations to a group of New York City dentists and to the Executive Board of the New York State Society of Orthodontists. Her presentations focused on harassment/discrimination prevention, as well as wage and hour regulations, record keeping, insurance coverage and the handling of discrimination claims should they arise.
On April 19, 2013, Dan Moretti and Rebecca Embry gave a presentation in Albany to members of the New York State Society of Orthodontists. Her presentations focused on harassment/discrimination prevention, as well as wage and hour regulations, record keeping, insurance coverage and the handling of discrimination claims should they arise.
The firm’s new members are Tina Bhatt in New York and Andrew Kornblau in Philadelphia. Andrew recently successfully defended an appeal of a summary judgment he had obtained dismissing two FELA claims in a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas spinal fusion case and has obtained several defense verdicts in state and federal arbitrations in transportation-related cases, a voluntary withdrawal of a minor’s claim in a premises liability case after deposing the minor child, and summary judgment in a federal premises liability case. Since joining LCBF from a federal clerkship in 2010, Tina’s accomplishments have included working to obtain a voluntary withdrawal of a triple amputee’s claim after 8 years of litigation and on the eve of trial with no money paid, a defense verdict after a jury trial in a federal employment discrimination case, and summary judgment in a Bronx med mal/wrongful death case.
Linda and Alexander are Rutgers-Newark Law School graduates, who joined the firm upon completing clerkships with the New Jersey Superior Court. Linda clerked for Judge Marianne Espinosa of the Appellate Division. Alexander clerked for Judge Barry P. Sarkisian, the Presiding Chancery Judge in Hudson County.
Andrew is a 2013 graduate of Villanova University School of Law. A graduate of Pennsylvania State University, he also received an LL.M in International Sports Law from the Instituto Superior de Derecho y Economia in Madrid. After clerking for one year with the Honorable F. Patrick McManimon in Superior Court New Jersey, Andrew worked as a legal analyst for the Sports Integrity Initiative.
Sarah Mustafa, a 2014 graduate of Seton Hall Law School, worked at another New York firm following a clerkship with the Hon. Mitzy Galis-Menendez of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Criminal Division, Hudson Vicinage.
Lauren McGovern graduated cum laude from Widener University Law School and received her B.A. from Pennsylvania State University. She was previously engaged in insurance defense work in Philadelphia.
Edward Margulis received his law degree from Widener University Law School and his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. He previously worked for a Philadelphia-based insurance defense firm and clerked for the Hon. Bruno Mongiardo of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Civil Part, of Passaic Vicinage.
Cristina Thrasher received her J.D. from Brooklyn Law School and her B.A. from Boston College. She served over three years as an Assistant District Attorney in Bronx County.
Sara Lewis is a 2013 graduate of the Villanova University School of Law. She clerked with the Hon. Douglas H. Hurd of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Civil Division, Mercer Vicinage.
Nicole Scarangella is a cum laude graduate of New York Law School and received her B.A. from Binghamton University. She previously worked for a civil defense firm.
James Horton, who graduated cum laude from Cardozo Law School and received his Bachelor of General Sciences, Theatre, from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences of the University of Kansas, previously worked in the Special Federal Litigation Division of the New York City Law Department.
Tim Malacrida is a 2013 graduate of Seton Hall School of Law, where he was Associate Editor of the Circuit Review and a 2010 graduate of Lehigh University. He previously clerked for Judge Maron in Hudson County and worked for another law firm.
Orla G. Thompson comes to the firm from being a Public Interest Law Fellow with the New York City Transit Authority. She is a 2014 graduate of Boston University School of Law and received her B.A. in 2009 from Tufts University.
David Yohay is a 2012 graduate of the University of Miami School of Law and received his B.A. from the Goizueta Business School of Emory University. He comes to us from another law firm.
Ramsen Youash is a 2012 graduate of New York Law School and received his undergraduate degree from McMaster University in Canada. He previously worked at another law firm.
Vincent Mehnert is a 2010 graduate from Rutgers School of Law, where he was the editor of the Rutgers Law Journal. He received a B.A. from Rutgers College in 2007 with Highest Honors. Vin previoiusly worked at another law firm.
Geewon Cha is a 2008 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a 2012 graduate of Villanova School of Law. Geewon previously clerked for the Honorable Joseph A. Portelli in New Jersey Superior Court and worked for another law firm.