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R&C New York Obtains Defense Verdict

On June 13, 2016 Partner David Rutherford and New York Associate Lauren Bryant obtained a defense verdict after a week long trial in federal court in White Plains, New York.  The plaintiff, a nine year old boy, alleged that he had been sexually abused on repeated occasions at a daycare center.  Plaintiff’s counsel requested $10 million from the jury for the daycare center’s alleged negligence in the hiring and supervision of an assistant teacher, along with an alleged breach of assumed duty.  The negligent hiring and supervision claims were dismissed during the trial and the issue of breach of an assumed duty went to the jury, which returned its verdict in favor of the daycare center, which was the sole defendant in the case.

Obtained dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint against a major international airline in federal court. Plaintiff, who warned the airline of his life threatening allergy to peanuts, claimed psychological injury when peanuts were served in another section of his transcontinental flight.

Obtained Dismissal in favor of attending physician/dermatologist in suit alleging medical malpractice in connection with biopsy procedure that resulted in permanent facial scarring. Dismissal obtained on the ground that expert affidavit filed with the Complaint failed to comply with O.C.G.A. § 9-11-9.1, and plaintiff’s subsequent efforts to amend the affidavit we barred by statute of limitation.

Obtained Summary Judgment in favor of owner of property in premises liability case involving the death of young adult. The decedent’s parents sought millions in damages after their son drowned at a sky diving facility after consuming alcohol.

Obtained summary judgment before the state supreme court in a premises liability case, where the plaintiff slipped and fell at a bar/restaurant.

Obtained a jury award of $1,146,146.25 after a three week trial before the state supreme court. The case involved the partial collapse of an historic coop building in an elite neighborhood of a major metropolitan city.

Obtained defense verdict in favor of construction company in case in which plaintiff sought damages in excess of $6.5 million after he sustained catastrophic injuries, allegedly as a result of the company’s failure to comply with DOT plans and specifications on construction of county road.
Obtained summary judgment before the state supreme court in favor of a construction company in a premises liability case after claims were made that the stairs and lobby area were not in compliance with the building code following a renovation.
Summary Judgment, and the 100-year-old acceptance doctrine, affirmed by state Supreme Court in favor of construction company in two separate cases involving the death of an unborn fetus, catastrophic injuries to a two year old child and injuries to the mother. The plaintiffs sought millions in damages for injuries the plaintiffs claimed were sustained as a result of improper construction of a county road.
Defense verdict at state court trial involving woman who suffered reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) resulting in the loss of use of her right leg after airline gate agent moved jet bridge while she was on it. Verdict affirmed on appeal.
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of general contractor in a catastrophic injury case with lost wages and medical damages claims in excess of $10 million. Affirmed by the state Court of Appeals.
Obtained Summary Judgment in favor of multiple doctors and nurses in death case alleging deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition, diabetes, which led to cardiac arrest and death of state inmate.
Defense verdict at state court trial involving back injury requiring surgery when server fell into seated customer at restaurant.
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a construction company in a personal injury claim resulting from a multi-car accident in a highway construction zone.
Obtained dismissal of construction client from three lawsuits involving two deaths and one catastrophic injury claim, with actual damages in excess of $6,000,000.
Defense verdict at federal court trial involving airport worker who sustained fractures in both wrists, with surgical repair, permanent carpal tunnel syndrome and back problems after being struck by luggage dolly.
Successfully defended instructor in clinical nursing program at state college in case alleging claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 for violation of First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Obtained dismissal in case where plaintiff sought $2,000,000 in general damages and $750,000 in punitive damages for violation of her civil rights, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and lost educational opportunity.
Defense verdict at federal court trial involving plaintiff who sustained broken humerus requiring surgical repair after she fell into an unprotected gutter on a jet bridge.
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a church and its minister in a civil battery case, alleged by a minor.
Obtained Summary Judgment in favor of manufacturer in sexual harassment, discrimination and hostile work environment case.
Obtained Award in favor of employer/self-insurer/servicing agent in workers’ compensation case where claimant contended that the Posted Panel of Physicians was invalid and allegedly entitled claimant to choice of physicians.
Successfully defended physician-otolaryngologist in medical malpractice case arising out of surgery to remove a brain tumor, which resulted in subarachnoid hemorrhage and devastating neurological damage to young mother. Obtained dismissal of physician while co-defendants settled with plaintiffs for $4,650,000.
Defense verdict at federal court trial where the plaintiff allegedly slipped and fell in an aircraft lavatory. Defense centered on establishing that the plaintiff, who was in jeopardy of losing his job as a salesman, faked the accident.
Obtained dismissal in federal court of international heavy industrial contractor – with expertise in the areas of power, mining/minerals processing, oil/gas/chemical, renewable energy, water and wastewater, and marine – in case where plaintiff sought a minimum of $800,000 in damages for work performed on a southeastern Caribbean island.
Defense verdict in federal court trial in First Amendment retaliation by head custodian against school district, its board members and administrators. Plaintiff alleged violation of his First Amendment rights when disciplinary charges were filed and he was ultimately terminated from employment. Plaintiff claimed the charges and his termination were retaliatory for his public comments about hazardous material handling at the school.
Successfully defended state trooper in case involving allegations of sexual assault and false imprisonment during a traffic stop. Plaintiff sought damages in excess of $500,000 plus punitive damages. Obtained dismissal of case on dispositive motion, which was upheld in the state Court of Appeals.
Defense verdict in federal court trial defending school district and three administrators against pregnancy discrimination lawsuit. Plaintiff alleged that she was denied tenure and terminated from employment because of her pregnancy, as evidenced by good performance reviews before her pregnancy announcement and comments made by administrators after her announcement. Case centered on explaining to the jury how school performance evaluations are read and that the plaintiff’s claims of good performance were not accurate.
Successfully defended president of state university in federal case involving allegations of fraud and mismanagement of financial aid funds, seeking over $4,000,000 in damages. Obtained dismissal on dispositive motion; affirmed by the federal Court of Appeals.
Defense verdict in federal court trial against major U.S. airline by passenger who allegedly suffered debilitating knee injury, requiring surgical repair, when he was struck by a beverage cart while seated.
Obtained Summary Judgment in favor of general contractor in case involving catastrophic injuries and damages in excess of $3 million.
Obtained dismissal of physician-pediatric radiologist in medical malpractice case involving wrongful death of premature infant caused by ruptured liver allegedly as a result of failure to diagnosis malpositioned and/or malfunctioning umbilical venous catheter.
Defense verdict in state court trial involving passenger who fell on tarmac at a major international airport.
Successfully defended vice president of state university in case alleging defamation, hostile work environment and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Obtained dismissal on dispositive motion; affirmed by the federal Court of Appeals.
Obtained defense verdict on behalf of driver in case involving admitted liability, where plaintiff alleged more than $850,000.00 in special damages.
Defense verdict in state trial court involving driver for beer distributor who suffered head and hand injuries when beer kegs fell on him due to an allegedly greasy kitchen floor.
Successfully defended multiple state employees, including state Attorney General and former Governor, in case involving federal RICO claims. Obtained dismissal on dispositive motion.
Directed verdict in state court trial by maintenance employee against homeless shelter. Plaintiff fell down elevator shaft, suffering severe personal injuries.
Obtained dismissal of plaintiff’s emotional distress claims in landmark decision involving passengers on the domestic portion of an international flight when the aircraft overran the runway at a major international airport and passengers underwent emergency evacuation. Federal Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. District Court’s decision holding that emotional distress injuries that are caused by an accident are not “bodily injuries” under the Warsaw Convention.
Successfully defended multiple doctors and nurses in death case alleging deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition, diabetes, which led to cardiac arrest and death of an inmate. Obtained dismissal on dispositive motion.
Obtained summary judgment on Section 1981 racial discrimination claims by African-American passengers who were “bumped” from an international flight. Federal Court of Appeals, affirming the U.S. District Court, held that the Warsaw Convention was the passengers’ exclusive remedy.
Obtained defense verdict at trial for general contractor in catastrophic injury case; final demand prior to trial was $3 million.
Obtained dismissal of a subrogation action, where a homeowner’s insurance company sought restitution for paying a claim that fixed damage to a driveway allegedly caused by the negligence of a petroleum gas delivery truck driver.
Obtained Summary Judgment in favor of a construction company, which was hired to complete the grading and paving of a deceleration lane. Plaintiffs contended lifelong disabling injuries, sustained during a two-car accident at the scene, resulted from the construction company’s negligence. The trial court agreed the construction company had complied with the plans and specifications set forth by the owner, and granted judgment in its favor.
Obtained summary judgment in case alleging constitutional and education law violations where child under the age of five was prohibited from attending kindergarten. Affirmed by the federal Court of Appeals.
Obtained dismissal of physician-psychiatrist in medical malpractice case arising out of wrongful death of 31-year-old woman allegedly caused by reaction to neuroleptic medications.
Obtained dismissal of roofing company in a case involving water leak and subsequent flood, which arose in the roof and destroyed an $18 million Mark Rothko painting located in an apartment below.
Obtained summary judgment in dram shop action against restaurant where customer, who had been drinking earlier in the evening, attempted to cross a highway and was hit by a car and killed.
Obtained summary judgment for airport authority in wrongful death action brought by estate of an airport worker who was killed when he was struck by a bus operating on the airport premises. Plaintiff’s estate had alleged that the method of snow removal had blocked a pedestrian walkway and there was inadequate lighting. Successfully excluded evidence of subsequent remedial measures to the walkway and crosswalk.
Successfully defended Division of Children and Family Services supervisor in nationally publicized, high profile case involving the brutal homicide of a child.
Obtained summary judgment for diocese and church in action by firefighter who suffered career-ending injuries when he fell through an attic ceiling while fighting a four alarm fire at the church.
Obtained summary judgment for an airline and airport authority in personal injury action by passenger who suffered personal injuries at an international airport during a blackout in a major metropolitan city.
Obtained summary judgment on federal preemption under the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. Plaintiff alleged false arrest, false imprisonment and defamation claims arising from a confrontation onboard a domestic flight.
Obtained favorable Award on behalf of employer at hearing where claimant contended his catastrophic right knee injury caused his subsequent, bilateral lower extremity venous insufficiency and resulting surgeries.
Obtained summary judgment for painting contractor in wrongful death action involving employee/foreman who died on a suspension bridge after a sandblasting hose exploded, he staggered onto the highway and was run over by the contractor’s vehicle.
Obtained summary judgment for airport authority in labor law case where airline mechanic fell to ground while working on aircraft in a hangar. Affirmed on appeal to Appellate Division.
Obtained summary judgment for airline in product liability suit by independent baggage handler whose arm became caught in conveyor belt.
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of general contractor in two cases pending in both superior and state Courts for death claim, catastrophic injury claims to infant and physical injuries and lost wages of mother.
Successfully extricated the principal of a middle school from a case where two eighth grade girls alleged that they had been molested by a music teacher. Motion to dismiss was granted by the court and the principal was absolved of all liability.
Obtained landmark ruling on summary judgment for real estate broker and her agency in action by cooperative apartment owners who alleged that misrepresentations were made in connection with the sale of the units and the offering plan for the cooperative.
Successfully defended state employee in jury trial through verdict in motor vehicle collision case involving state owned bus that was transporting mentally handicapped Division of Children and Family Services consumers.
Obtained summary judgment for airline in federal court action by rearguing motion, on the first day of trial, of case where airport worker had his index finger amputated by the door of a neighboring aircraft as the result of a jet blast from our client’s aircraft.
Obtained Dismissal in favor of foster parents for a county’s Department of Family and Children’s Services, accused of physical and sexual abuse of two foster children. Suit was filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988 seeking recovery of special, general, compensatory, and punitive and exemplary damages in an unspecified amount, as well as attorney’s fees. Motion to Dismiss official capacity claims on the basis of 11th Amendment immunity was granted at the outset of the case and remainder of claims against defendants was dismissed on Motion for Summary Judgment on the ground that the foster parents were not “state actors” subject to suit under § 1983.
Obtained dismissal of federal court action by two passengers, injured in crash, due to discovery abuses by counsel for the plaintiff.
Obtained dismissal of state court action against our subcontractor as a sanction due to discovery abuses by third-party plaintiff’s counsel, who represented general contractor.
Obtained summary judgment in federal court on UCC grounds for allegedly defective and non-conforming product, breach of contract, breach of warranty, negligence, fraud and bad faith, with claims exceeding $400,000.
Plaintiff, a property owner, alleged that her equal protection rights were violated when the municipality allowed a developer to construct a condominium development abutting her property. On a motion to dismiss prior to discovery, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint. We were also successful in enforcing an indemnity agreement with the developer, who reimbursed our client for legal fees.
Plaintiff, a municipal civil service worker, alleged that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was terminated from his employment. On a motion for summary judgment, the court held that the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights were not violated.
Obtained dismissal of physician-obstetrician in medical malpractice case involving injury to mother during C-Section delivery.
Obtained summary judgment in federal court action against church and diocese. Plaintiff, a sexual misconduct victim, had alleged that defendants were negligent in their hiring, supervision and retention of a priest.
Obtained summary judgment for property insurer in an insurance coverage action by a corporation which suffered flood damage during a major hurricane. Plaintiff had sought to rely on inspection report and recommendations made to the insurer in connection with the underwriting of the risk.
Obtained summary judgment for insurer in an insurance coverage action by hotel developer whose broker had sought to add additional location to policy. Broker remained in the case. Affirmed on appeal to Appellate Division.
Obtained summary judgment in a false arrest case brought on behalf of a construction worker who wrote a letter allegedly joking about anthrax contamination at a middle school construction project shortly after the events of September 11, 2001.
Obtained summary judgment in a wrongful death case in state court alleging failure by the landlord to maintain smoke detectors in the apartment unit. Dismissal affirmed on appeal to Appellate Division.
Obtained summary judgment in federal case where the plaintiff alleged that she was denied the right to vote and was assaulted by an election worker. After extensive discovery, including over 20 depositions, the court granted summary judgment.
Successfully extricated individual Board of Education members, an administrator and the District from a First Amendment retaliation case. Plaintiff alleged that she was terminated from employment with the school district for speaking out about financial improprieties in the District. After depositions, the plaintiff agreed to voluntarily discontinue the case against all of our clients.
Obtained summary judgment in employment discrimination case alleging age and race discrimination against 60-year-old teacher. Decision by U.S. District Court affirmed by the federal Court of Appeals.
Defended large construction firm as target defendant in catastrophic injury case involving loss of limb, severe brain injury and total disability where plaintiff sought $15 million in damages; successfully shifted primary contractual liability to remaining defendants, who paid 86 percent of $1.8 million settlement.
Obtained Award in favor of employer/self-insurer/servicing agent in workers’ compensation case where claimant contended that the Posted Panel of Physicians was invalid and allegedly entitled claimant to choice of physicians.
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of church in premises liability case with last settlement demand for $150,000.
Obtained mistrial of premises liability case in which final demand for damages was $850,000.
Obtained summary judgment in favor of general contractor in case involving disabling injuries.
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of national restaurant in defense of claims alleging race based false arrest and false imprisonment.
Obtained dismissal of direct action by insured against insurance company for breach of contract and bad faith claims.
Obtained favorable verdict – less than 10 percent of demand – defending general contractor in one week jury trial in clear liability construction case. Able to successfully shift majority of liability to co-defendants.
Defended insurer in jury trial through verdict in first party bad faith suit. Successfully limited exposure with no recovery for attorney’s fees or punitive damages.
Successfully defended registered nurse in death case alleging medical malpractice case and deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition. Obtained dismissal on dispositive motion.
28. Obtained partial summary judgment on the contractual duty owed by the general contractor in a catastrophic brain injury and paraplegia case with almost $7 million in past and future medical expenses and $1.6 million in future lost income; settlement was less than one-tenth of amount sought by plaintiff.
Obtained summary judgment for a mail courier in a case involving a jewelry fraud ring, where a fake check was tendered and accepted by carrier for tens of thousands of dollars in diamonds.
Obtained summary judgment in federal court action where the plaintiff alleged that a purported sexual assault had not been properly investigated by the District.
Obtained dismissal of Section 1983 claim brought by on-site steward of local teamsters union against court-appointed corruption officer. Filed pre-answer motion to dismiss asserting constitutional defenses, along with absolute and qualified immunity. Counsel for plaintiff then convinced his client to dismiss the case in its entirety.
Obtained summary judgment in federal court action against local police department, its chief and two officers related to a search at the plaintiffs’ residence, confiscation of property and the subsequent arrest of one of the plaintiffs on the basis of qualified immunity and probable cause.
Obtained summary judgment in federal action in which the plaintiff claimed she was subjected to a racially hostile work environment, which the school district failed to remedy for several years. Ultimately, according to the plaintiff, she was directed by the school superintendent to copy her work product and prepared for a meeting with him. However, rather than meet with her to review her performance evaluations in light of her work product, the superintendent allegedly ignored her and four months later fired her for complying with his direction and copying her work product, so he could review it with her.
Obtained summary judgment for general contractor in labor law case in which plaintiff fell off a platform at a construction site – suffering fractures and herniated disks – on the basis that plaintiff was a recalcitrant worker and could have avoided the accident.
Obtained summary judgment in state court premises action where plaintiff alleged that she fell on “chicken bones, grease and sauce” by showing that our client, an Italian restaurant, did not sell any dishes containing chicken with bones. Plaintiff’s injuries, which included, reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), were significant.
Obtained dismissal of restaurant in federal court action involving a plaintiff who suffered food poisoning, gastrointestinal distress and illness after consuming a hamburger at the restaurant.
Plaintiff alleged various personal injuries following a slip and fall in a tenement building in a major metropolitan city. She ultimately had knee and shoulder surgery and sought damages of over $1 million. Tried the case in state court and used a highly qualified radiologist expert to explain the MRI films to the jury and prove that the plaintiff’s injuries had to be pre-existing and degenerative. Jury returned a verdict of only $2,500.
Plaintiff sustained a shattered patella after tripping on the leg of a “bicycle rack construction barrier.” Successfully obtained defense verdict for a major metropolitan city and apportioned 40 percent of the liability to the plaintiff, reducing a verdict substantially to the remaining defendant, a construction company.
Plaintiff was a passenger on an international flight which had to be evacuated. He sustained minor, soft tissue injuries but sought a large recovery based upon emotional distress related to the evacuation. Following discovery, on a motion for partial summary judgment, the federal court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims for emotional distress injuries. The case has been extensively cited in the past few years.
Obtained summary judgment in federal action against airline and its employees, airport authority and various individual police officers who allegedly wrongfully arrested, imprisoned and defamed two passengers. In addition, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants violated various statutes including 42 U.S.C. Sections 1981 and 1983 and the First, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.