News from Devitt Spellman Barrett, LLP

News

May 1, 2018

DSB successfully won a motion for summary judgment on behalf of its client, a snow removal subcontractor, defeating claims by a Plaintiff who was injured in the parking lot of a large whole sale store as well as cross claim by the store based upon provisions in the snow removal contract which called for indemnification of the store.

April 26, 2018

On April 26, 2018, DSB won a case for a village on the east end of Long Island involving the Freedom Of Information Law (FOIL). A security company, which was owned by the village’s former chief of police, had requested that the village provide it with documents involving an investigation into alleged violations of the village ethics code by village employees with outside jobs. The village provided all responsive documents except those pertaining to police officers – state law exempts police misconduct records from FOIL. However, after the former police chief signed a release for his records, the village provided the records. Claimants brought suit alleging the records were not turned over pursuant to the law in a timely manner. In a written decision, the Court rejected the security company’s many claims, finding that the village timely provided all required documents and finding that the village was correct in initially withholding the records of the police chief. In the end, the Court dismissed the security company’s lawsuit in its entirety.

April 19, 2018

DSB obtained summary judgment for a school district in the United States District Court for the Eastern of New York. The civil rights action arose out of an alleged assault by non-District employees while the student was enrolled at an out-of-district facility. In granting summary judgment for the district, the Court found that the district discharged it responsibility to provide special education services to the student by appropriately contracting out the services. As a result, because the incident occurred while the student was out of the physical custody of the district, he had passed out of the school’s orbit of authority and the district could not be held liable.

April 17 2018

Earlier in 2018, DSB won a case involving a former police officer of a town in Suffolk County who claimed that he had been fired for political reasons involving a high profile 2015 limousine accident involving multiple deaths. There, the court ruled that the police officer had been dismissed for legitimate reasons. In April 2018, the same court dismissed a different lawsuit in which the officer sought money damages in connection with his termination. The court held that the officer’s claims for money damages were barred because the officer had refused to cooperate at a municipal hearing. The decision highlighted that although the officer appeared for the hearing, he refused to meaningfully answer 49 separate questions and that more than half of the hearing consisted of his attorney’ instructions not to answer and related dialogue.

April 10, 2018

The firm successfully argued a motion for summary judgment involving a claim against a Suffolk County school district for personal injuries arising out of a wrestling practice. The infant plaintiff, an experienced inter-scholastic wrestler, was found to have assumed the risk of injuries inherent in the sport. The Court also concluded that the District’s practices and procedures did not unreasonably enhance the risk of injury to the infant plaintiff and that there was no evidence to suggest that the difference in the weight between the infant plaintiff and the other participant was a proximate cause of the injury.

April 6, 2018

DSB is proud to announce that Anne Leahey has been named contract partner of the firm. Ms. Leahey will continue to work out of the Smithtown, New York office on Municipal, Corporate and Commercial Litigation matters, including complex motions and appeals.

March 21, 2018

The firm obtained a defendant’s verdict on behalf of a Long Island school district in a premises liability case. Plaintiff alleged on the date of the incident, he was bringing his grandson to a school event and slipped and fell on ice on a walkway resulting in a significant knee injury. Plaintiff alleged that there was ice present on the walkway causing him to fall. Two first responders both testified that they observed ice on the walkway and slipped themselves as they approached the plaintiff. Plaintiff produced a meteorologist who testified that the ice had formed earlier in the morning and per climatological data he opined that the school failed to apply salt or sand throughout the day which resulted in the ice being present at the time of the incident. Our attorney crossed examined the expert calling into doubt his opinions and brought out that there was a late day ice/storm event which undercut the plaintiff’s theory. The custodian at the school stated that there was no ice on the walkway. After a four day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the school district finding no negligence on the part of the school district.

March 19, 2018

The firm successfully defeated a challenge to the Village of Southampton’s Code which permitted 4×4’s and SUV vehicles to park on a 2,000 foot stretch of beach, known as the “Picnic Area” in the Village. The challenge brought by one of the nine homeowners along this stretch of beach alleged that the Code provision constituted an impermissible taking of their property under the 5th Amendment, violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment and constituted a public nuisance.

The firm moved for immediate dismissal of plaintiff’s Constitutional claims. In a significant decision impacting the public’s right to beach access, Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Santorelli granted the Village’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff’s Constitutional claims.

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