August 27, 2021

DSB prevailed on appeal in a New York State Labor Law construction accident case.  Plaintiff in the action alleged that he was injured falling from a ladder while installing cable services for a tenant.  The Appellate Division for the Second Department unanimously agreed that DSB established its prima facie entitlement to judgment by establishing that the requisite nexus between the defendant and the plaintiff’s work did not exist.  The Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s order granting  summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s New York State Labor Law claims.

August 25, 2021

DSB successfully obtained a favorable decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, affirming dismissal of a claim that a land owner’s constitutional rights were violated by a Town declining to recognize an alleged pre-existing non-conforming use.  The plaintiff, whose family owned several acres of mostly vacant land prior to the adoption of zoning, argued that the property had always been used to store materials and equipment related to his family’s local businesses, and thus had a grandfathered commercial storage use, and renting the property to another local business for the storage of its materials and equipment was merely a continuation of that use.  The Town’s Zoning Board of Appeals disagreed that evidence submitted by the Plaintiff showed a pre-existing non-conforming outdoor storage business, rather than merely incidental storage of the owner’s personal property, and – regardless – found that renting the property to a third party would not be a continuation of that pre-existing use if it had been found.  Plaintiff sued in federal court, arguing among other things that not recognizing a grandfathered commercial use and requiring compliance with residential zoning under these circumstances violated the Takings and Due Process Clauses, but DSB obtained a judgment dismissing the action as a matter of law, which has now been affirmed on appeal.  The decision can be found here: https://www.ca2.uscourts.gov/decisions/isysquery/37d680d4-7bd2-48aa-bf17-107027fd31c2/2/doc/20-4252_so.pdf.

August 24, 2021

DSB was successful in moving for summary judgment on behalf of a municipality on Long Island.  Plaintiff tripped and fell on a walkway located within a transfer station and sustained injuries as a result of her fall.  The Supreme Court, Suffolk County, determined that DSB established its prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by demonstrating that the municipality had enacted a prior written notice statute regarding defects on sidewalks.  DSB demonstrated that a walkway was the functional equivalent of a sidewalk; therefore, the walkway was encompassed under the prior written notice statute.  Further, the Court found that the municipality had not received the requisite prior written notice.  The Court granted DSB’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff’s complaint in its entirety.

August 13, 2021

Partner Justin Rowe obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial in Queens County in a personal injury case.  In the action, Plaintiff, a home health aide for the firm’s client’s mother, claims she slipped and fell on liquid in the dining room of the client’s home.   As a result of the fall, plaintiff sustained a fractured patella, internal derangement of the knee requiring surgery, a tear in the shoulder and multiple herniations in the spine that required a series of epidural injections.  Plaintiff also claimed lost wages and the inability to return to work.  The Queens County jury returned a liability verdict in favor of the defendant finding that Plaintiff did not prove there was liquid on the floor where plaintiff fell.

July 8, 2021

Following a two-week federal jury trial, Partner Jack Shields successfully obtained a defendants’ verdict on all causes of action on behalf of an Eastern Suffolk County Town and multiple Officers and Officials.  The lawsuit arose out of the demolition of an oceanfront structure, located in a residential waterfront beach community, in a Town in the Hamptons.  By resolution, the Town Board had authorized the demolition, pursuant to the Town Code, which provides for the abatement of unsafe buildings by demolition.

Plaintiff alleged that he did not receive formal notice of the impending demolition of the house and was not provided an opportunity to be heard at a hearing, violating his right to due process.  Plaintiff claimed that the Town had his correct mailing address, but failed to use it.  Instead of mailing notice to his correct address, plaintiff alleges that the Town mailed notification to outdated addresses and an address where he never lived or owned.  He sought damages for the alleged wrongful demolition of the structure, as well as emotional trauma for the loss of the house.  After a two-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Town and all of the Officials, dismissing all of the causes of action.

May 17, 2018

The firm successfully obtained a defendant’s verdict on six of seven causes of action on behalf of three Eastern Suffolk County Village Police Officers and Village, in Federal Court in an excessive force case. The plaintiff’s surviving family members alleged that the Police Officers used excessive force, failed to intervene to protect the plaintiff and assaulted and battered the decedent. The plaintiff also alleged that the Village failed to properly train the Officers in the proper techniques for interacting with emotionally disturbed people. During the Officers’ attempt to place the individual in custody, in order to escort him to obtain psychiatric treatment, a scuffle ensued, causing the plaintiff and the Officers to fall to the ground. During the struggle, the Officers employed a Taser device (in stun mode) and oleoresin capsicum (O.C. or pepper spray). The subject was ultimately restrained with handcuffs and ankle ties. In the resulting lawsuit, plaintiff’s family claimed that the Officers’ alleged use of excessive force, their failure to intervene to protect the plaintiff and the Village’s failure to properly train the officers caused the plaintiff’s injuries and death. After a two week trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Police Officers and Village on six of the seven causes of action. Despite their finding of liability on the one cause of action, the jury did not award any monetary compensatory or punitive damages.

May 1, 2018

The firm successfully obtained a defendant’s verdict on behalf of an Eastern Suffolk County Town Police Officer and Town, in Federal Court. The female plaintiff alleged that the Police Officer used excessive force, assaulted and battered her during a routine traffic stop. The plaintiff was pulled over by the Officer for using her cellular telephone while driving. During the stop a scuffle ensued, causing the plaintiff and the Officer to end up on the ground. As a result of the alleged excessive force, the plaintiff’s hamstring was torn from her hip bone. After a week-long trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Police Officer and Town, finding no excessive force was committed.