Torts

  • Defense of Trip and Slip and Fall Accidents
  • Defense of Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • Property Damage and Subrogation Claims
  • Flooding and Sewer Claims
  • Defamation: Libel and Slander

WESTCHESTER COUNTY SUPREME COURT DISMISSES THREE WEATHER-RELATED NEGLIGENCE CASES AGAINST PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITIES

The firm obtained summary judgment in three snow and ice lawsuits filed against public housing authorities.

In Aquilato v. Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers, the court agreed the storm in progress doctrine applied to preclude liability against the housing authority, as it did not have a reasonable opportunity to remedy the icy condition at issue.

In Rogers v. Greenburgh Housing Authority, the court agreed that the defense expert sufficiently demonstrated the applicability of the storm in progress defense, and the housing authority did not have actual or constructive notice of the condition.

In Moreno v. Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers, the court agreed that plaintiffs could not show actual or constructive notice of the alleged condition. The court rejected plaintiffs’ reliance on non-party witnesses and a weather expert.

Kiera Meehan successfully defended the Aquilato case and Adam I. Kleinberg and Stu Diamond successfully defended the Rogers and Moreno cases.

 

SOKOLOFF STERN WINS SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITY

In Acevedo v. Village/Town of Mt. Kisco, plaintiff claimed to have been severely injured while descending the stairs in an apartment building owned by the Mt. Kisco Housing Authority. Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Lawrence H. Ecker granted summary judgment in favor of the Housing Authority, finding that plaintiff could not identify the cause of her fall and that plaintiff’s expert could do no more than speculate as to any dangerous condition or violations of building code regulations.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Stuart Diamond successfully defended the Housing Authority.

 

SOKOLOFF STERN WINS TRIP AND FALL CASES FOR LONG ISLAND VILLAGES

In Arciere v. Village of Hewlett Bay Park, the court granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing all claims against the Village as it was not responsible for the negligence of an outside contractor to whom the Village had issued a permit to do roadway work.

In Lambert v. Village of Great Neck Estates, the court granted summary judgment to the Village on the grounds that it did not own or control the pathway where the plaintiff fell, and because the Village lacked prior written notice of the defect.

Steven C. Stern and Stuart Diamond successfully defended these cases.

 

APPELLATE DIVISION AFFIRMS DISMISSAL OF WRONGFUL DEATH SIDEWALK CASE

In DeFilippo v. City of Glen Cove the Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment, dismissing all claims against the City on the grounds that it did not have prior written notice of the specific defect that caused plaintiff to trip and fall. The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that a prior accident at that location and prior repair work provided sufficient notice to the City, since the defect had been repaired before plaintiff’s accident.

Kiera J. Meehan and Stuart Diamond successfully defended the case.

 

APPELLATE DIVISION AFFIRMS DISMISSAL OF DEFAMATION CLAIM AGAINST MAYOR

In Brummel v. Board of Trustees of the Village of East Hills, the Appellate Division affirmed the dismissal of a defamation claim against the Village Mayor. The Second Department found the challenged statements were opinion and hyperbole and not defamatory.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Alexander J. Eleftherakis handled the successful appeal.

 

COURT DISMISSES UNTIMELY CLAIM AGAINST VILLAGE

In Boykin v. County of Nassau, plaintiff sued the Village of Farmingdale, alleging that she slipped and fell on defendants’ property.  Justice Antonio I. Brandveen granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss, holding that the claim was untimely.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Kaitlyn R. McKenna drafted the successful motion.

 

NEW YORK SUPREME COURT DISMISSES DEFAMATION LAWSUIT

In Brzeski v. Rockville Centre UFSD, a teacher sued for defamation after a school district administrator sent a letter to parents regarding an allegation of testing irregularities in the classroom.  Justice Thomas Feinman granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss, finding that the allegedly defamatory statement was subject to a qualified privilege and that truth was an absolute defense.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Kiera J. Meehan defended the case and drafted the successful motion.

 

COURT DISMISSES INJURY CLAIM BASED ON ALLEGED “TRENCH” IN CITY PARK

In Carobene v. City of Glen Cove, plaintiff allegedly sustained personal injuries when she tripped and fell in a “trench” in a City park.  Nassau County, Supreme Court Justice F. Dana Winslow awarded the City summary judgment finding the City did not have actual or constructive notice of the condition.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Kiera J. Meehan defended the City and drafted the successful motion.

 

NASSAU COUNTY COURT GRANTS SUMMARY JUDGMENT TO CITY IN AMBULANCE COLLISION SUIT

In Guevara v. City of Glen Cove, plaintiff alleged that the City and its ambulance driver were negligent in transporting him from an accident scene, resulting in a collision with another vehicle. Nassau County Supreme Court Justice John M. Galasso granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the Vehicle & Traffic Law’s emergency exception applied, and plaintiff and co-defendant driver could not establish reckless disregard for the safety of others.

Stuart Diamond and Kaitlyn R. McKenna drafted the successful motion.

 

MOLD CLAIM DISMISSED FOR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH STATUTORY OBLIGATIONS

In Holden v. Town of East Hampton, Sokoloff Stern defended the Town of East Hampton and the East Hampton Housing Authority against negligence claims for alleged mold brought by apartment tenants receiving public housing assistance.  Supreme Court, Suffolk County Justice Joseph C. Pastoressa granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss the complaint based on the plaintiff’s failure to comply with conditions precedent to suit.

Brian S. Sokoloff and Kevin Levine drafted the successful motion.

 

VILLAGES DEFEAT TRIP AND FALL LAWSUITS

In Horan v. Village of Westbury, plaintiff tripped and fell in a ditch in front of her house.  The next day, the Village began roadwork in the same location.  Although plaintiff admitted she never observed road work prior to her accident, she claimed the Village created the condition that caused her to fall.  Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Robert A. Bruno granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that it did not have prior written notice of the alleged condition and no exception to the prior written notice law applied.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Kiera J. Meehan defended the Village and drafted the successful motion.

In Conroy v. Great American “46” Clinton, Inc., plaintiff sued the Village of Farmingdale and various other defendants for personal injuries resulting from a trip and fall accident.  Nassau County Supreme Court Justice James P. McCormack granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss on the grounds that the Village did not receive prior written notice of the alleged defect and did not perform work at the subject location.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Kaitlyn R. McKenna drafted the successful motion.

In Hakimian v. Village of Great Neck Plaza, the plaintiff claimed to have slipped and fallen on snow and ice on a village sidewalk.  Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Daniel Palmieri granted the village’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the village did not have prior written notice of the condition and that official weather records established the lack of snow or ice in the area at the time of the accident.

Steven C. Stern and Stuart Diamond drafted the successful motion.

In Rakowski v. Village of Williston Park, the plaintiff claimed to have tripped and fallen because of a missing segment of concrete from the curb of a village sidewalk.  Justice Arthur M. Diamond granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the village did not have prior written notice of the condition and did not create the condition or make special use of the sidewalk.

Steven C. Stern and Stuart Diamond drafted the successful motion.

In Twersky v. Village of Great Neck, the plaintiff tripped and fell on a driveway apron adjacent to privately owned property.  Justice Norman Janowitz granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss the complaint, specifically holding the Village could not be held liable for the sidewalk’s hazardous condition and that the Village had no obligation to provide additional street lighting where the accident occurred.

Adam I. Kleinberg, Kiera J. Meehan, and Kevin Levine drafted the successful motion.

 

NASSAU COUNTY COURT DISMISSES $25 MILLION DEFAMATION AND FRAUD SUIT AGAINST PULITZER PRIZE WINNING JOURNALIST

In Lachman v. Marcus, plaintiff sued for defamation, fraud, tortious interference with prospective business relations, and infliction of emotional distress, seeking $25 million dollars and injunctive relief.  Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Karen Murphy granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss the complaint, finding that plaintiff could not sustain any of her claims as a matter of law.

Adam I. Kleinberg and David A. Gold drafted the successful motion.

 

SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED TO MUNICIPALITY IN TRIP AND FALL OVER SNOW-COVERED TREE STUMP

In Landron v. City of Glen Cove, plaintiff sought to recover damages for personal injuries she sustained when she tripped over a tree stump protruding from the grassy area next to a sidewalk near a municipal parking lot. Plaintiff claimed that she failed to see the tree stump because the grassy area was covered with two inches of snow. Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Anthony J. Parga granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the City did not have prior written notice of the alleged defect and did not cause or create the allegedly dangerous condition.

Steven C. Stern and Kiera J. Meehan defended the municipality and drafted the successful motion.

 

SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED TO MUNICIPALITY IN DRAMSHOP VEHICULAR ASSAULT

In Basdavanos v. City of Glen Cove, and Granger v. City of Glen Cove, plaintiffs were severely injured when they were struck by a motor vehicle in the parking lot of the Soundview Café. The driver of the vehicle, who was intoxicated and under the legal drinking age, had been removed from the Café by the bouncer, plaintiff Basdavanos. The City of Glen Cove owned the premises and leased the restaurant to a private operator. Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Joel K. Asarch granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing plaintiff’s claims based upon violations of New York’s Dram Shop Act and allegations of negligent maintenance of the parking lot.

Steven C. Stern and Kiera J. Meehan defended the municipality and drafted the successful motion.

 

NASSAU COURT REFUSES TO ALLOW LATE NOTICE OF CLAIM

In McDonald v. Inc. Village of Great Neck Estates, Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Thomas Feinman denied Petitioner’s request for leave to file a late notice of claim. The court agreed petitioner failed to meet her burden to establish a reasonable excuse for the delay, that the Village had acquired actual timely notice of her claim, and lack of prejudice. The court also denied petitioner’s subsequent motion to renew and reargue.

Kiera J. Meehan successfully defended the case.

 

COURT REJECTS DEFAMATION CASE AGAINST SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT

In Peterson v. Mustich, plaintiff alleged defendant Mustich defamed him by falsely asserting plaintiff had been institutionalized in a psychiatric facility. Westchester County, Supreme Court Justice Bruce E. Tolbert dismissed case, stating that evidence to support plaintiff’s claims was “non-existent.” Justice Tolbert noted it was “remarkable” that defendants had “clearly substantiated that the Complaint is based upon Plaintiff’s own inferences and assumptions.”

Brian S. Sokoloff and Kiera J. Meehan defended the case and drafted the successful motion.

 

NASSAU COUNTY COURT REJECTS DEFAMATION CLAIM AND BARS PLAINTIFF FROM AMENDING COMPLAINT

In Phillips v. Westbury UFSD, the plaintiff sued the school district and its board of education for defamation following the termination of his employment. Nassau County Supreme Court Justice George R. Peck granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss the defamation claim and denied plaintiff’s cross-motion to file a second amended complaint. The Court found the statements at issue either did not state a claim for defamation or were protected by a privilege.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Kaitlyn R. McKenna drafted the successful motion.

 

SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED TO SCHOOL DISTRICT IN AMERICANS WITH

DISABILITIES ACT/NEGLIGENCE CASE

In Pinto v. Massapequa Public Schools, plaintiff, an elderly woman with osteopenia, tripped outside of a school after voting in a general election. She alleged claims for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and general negligence. Eastern District Judge Leonard D. Wexler granted summary judgment, agreeing that plaintiff was not a “qualified individual with a disability” to place her within the protections of the ADA.

Steven C. Stern and Kiera J. Meehan defended the school district and drafted the successful motion.

 

LONG ISLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT WINS BLEACHER INJURY CASE

In Porcaro v. Plainedge Union Free School District, the plaintiff claimed to have sustained severe injuries when she fell while descending portable bleachers belonging to the school district.  Justice Denise L. Sher dismissed the action against the school district on the ground that the condition was open and obvious, and not inherently dangerous.  The court also granted the school district summary judgment on its indemnification claim against the co-defendant youth sports league, which had rented the school’s softball field.

Adam I. Kleinberg and Stuart Diamond handled the case and drafted the successful motion.

 

SULLIVAN COUNTY COURT DISMISSES CLAIMS AGAINST TOWN RELATING TO FIRE AT CONDOMINIUM COMPLEX

In Ross v. Town of Fallsburg, plaintiffs claimed to have sustained extensive property damage because of a fire at a condominium complex.  Sullivan County Justice Stephan G. Schick granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion to dismiss on the grounds that the plaintiffs failed to comply with the notice of claim requirements, the complaint failed to state a cause of action for negligence, the Town had governmental immunity, and the Town did not owe any special duty to the plaintiffs.

Steven C. Stern and Stuart Diamond drafted the successful motion.

 

SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED TO MUNICIPALITY IN TRIP AND FALL ON PAVING DEBRIS

In Ruggiero v. City of Glen Cove, plaintiff claimed to have tripped over an eight-foot pile of hardened asphalt, which he claimed had been left in the street after the road in front of his house was re-paved. He claimed to have sustained severe injuries to his cervical spine, requiring multiple surgeries. Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Randy Sue Marber granted Sokoloff Stern’s motion, agreeing that plaintiff was not entitled to an exception to the prior written notice law because the contractor, and not the City, created the alleged condition.

Steven C. Stern and Kiera J. Meehan defended the municipality and drafted the successful motion.

 

APPELLATE DIVISION REVERSES TRIAL COURT, DISMISSING SLIP ON ICE CASE AGAINST SCHOOL DISTRICT

In Shea v. Massapequa Union Free School District, 117 A.D.3d 817, 985 N.Y.S.2d 675 (2nd Dept 2014), the Appellate Division, Second Department dismissed the claim of a plaintiff who claimed to have slipped and fallen on ice on a sidewalk in front of a school, reversing the decision of the trial court.  The Appellate Division’s decision was based on the lack of notice to the school and the storm-in-progress doctrine.

Steven C. Stern and Stuart Diamond defendant the school district and drafted the successful motion.

 

APPELLATE DIVISION DISMISSES FLOODING CLAIM AGAINST MUNICIPALITY

In Tully v. City of Glen Cove, plaintiff sued alleging, inter alia, that the City was negligent in its design, installation and maintenance of its drainage system causing significant flooding damage to his property.  After Nassau County Justice Jaeger denied the City’s motion for summary judgment, we immediately appealed.  The Appellate Division, Second Department reversed and dismissed the lawsuit on procedural grounds.  Plaintiff then sought leave to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals, which was denied.

Steven C. Stern and Kiera J. Meehan defended the City and wrote the successful appellate brief.  Anthony Cardoso argued the brief before the Appellate Division.