News

June 26, 2020

DSB successfully argued a motion for summary judgment on behalf of homeowner in Queens. Plaintiff alleged he fell on snow and ice on the public sidewalk abutting defendant’s premises. Through use of meteorological testimony, DSB was able to establish that plaintiff’s accident occurred during a snow event and the Court dismissed the Complaint based upon the showing of “storm in progress.”

June 25, 2020

DSB was successful in obtaining summary judgment on a Bronx County case in which a Plaintiff was injured on an defective sidewalk, which defects were allegedly caused by the defendant’s special use of the sidewalk. The portion of the sidewalk where the accident occurred was at the location of defendant’s driveway, which led to four attached garages. DSB was able to prove that the sidewalk cracks upon which Plaintiff fell pre-existed the defendant’s ownership of the premises and therefore, were not created by the defendant’s special use. The court found that DSB had met our burden of proof on the motion, which was not rebutted by Plaintiff. The complaint was dismissed.

June 2, 2020

DSB was successful in moving for summary judgment on behalf of a municipality on Long Island. Plaintiff tripped and fell from a walkway located within a marina 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 and that the municipality had not received the requisite prior written notice. The Court further found that DSB demonstrated that a walkway was the functional equivalent of a sidewalk; therefore, the walkway was encompassed under the prior written notice statute. The Court granted DSB’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff’s complaint in its entirety.

May 29, 2020

Devitt Spellman Barrett successfully defended a municipality against constitutional and SEQRA claims asserted in connection with the municipality’s enactment of a short-term rental law. The proceeding/action was summarily dismissed in its entirety, despite plaintiffs’ claims that they were entitled to a hearing.

May 14, 2020

DSB was successful in having a complaint dismissed against our 17 year old client with special needs, who was sued due to alleged harmful physical contact between our client and her “one on one” aide in school. Plaintiff alleged the special needs student acted out and fractured Plaintiff’s jaw when plaintiff instructed her to go to class.

A mentally challenged individual may be liable in negligence even though she lacks capacity to understand or control her actions. However, we argued that the record in our case established, as a matter of law, that our client lacked the capacity to be governed by any standard of culpability. In the alternative, we argued that plaintiff implicitly assumed the exact risk that caused her injury, a doctrine that can and should apply in the professional arena as well the more commonly applied sports scenario. The court determined that we sustained our burden of demonstrating the absence of a triable issue of fact, holding that given the testimony offered in support, the child had no duty to plaintiff. The court did not expressly determine that plaintiff assumed the risk, but noted that plaintiff was enlisted to assist in addressing conduct which was the reason for her assignment. Case dismissed.

April 28, 2020

DSB was successful in moving for summary judgment on behalf of a municipality on Long Island. Plaintiff was injured while riding her bicycle along a bike route. The Supreme Court, Suffolk County, determined that the municipality did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiff because the municipality neither owned, controlled nor maintained the accident location. The Court further concluded that the municipality affirmatively established its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law and dismissed the complaint and cross-claims asserted against the municipality.

April 24, 2020

DSB was successful in moving for summary judgment on behalf of a snow removal company in Kings County. Plaintiff was allegedly injured when she slipped and fell on ice in the parking lot of a shopping center. The court found that defendant’s limited contractual undertaking to perform snow removal services did not render defendant liable for plaintiff’s injuries. Defendant affirmatively established its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law and plaintiff and codefendant failed to rebut defendant’s showing.

March 27, 2020

DSB Associate Christi Kunzig has been selected by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” on their 2020 New York Metro “Rising Stars” list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country.

March 13, 2020

DSB was successful in federal court, in the Eastern District of New York, in obtaining summary judgment on all claims on behalf of a Town on Long Island’s east end and its employees in an action brought by a plaintiff pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging several constitutional violations.  The federal District Judge adopted the report and recommendation of the federal Magistrate Judge in rejecting plaintiff’s claims for false arrest, malicious prosecution, and Monell liability, as well as several state law claims, arising from plaintiff’s arrest and prosecution for lewd conduct committed at the Town’s golf course.   The complaint against the Town and its employees was dismissed in its entirety.

March 6, 2020

DSB successfully appealed from an interlocutory liability judgment involving a plaintiff who was injured when the bicycle he was riding struck the edge of an elevated boardwalk in a municipal park. The Appellate Division, Second Department agreed that the municipal defendant did not have prior written notice of any alleged defect and that its actions in mowing the grass near the boardwalk did not affirmatively create a defective or dangerous condition. The matter was remanded for a new trial on liability.