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Law Offices of Jonathan M. Cooper

New York Noncompete, Trade Secret & School Negligence Blog

This blog by the six-time published author Jonathan Cooper, is intended to educate the general public about issues of interest, particularly innovations and changes in the law, in the areas of non-compete agreements, breach of contract matters, school negligence (and/or negligent supervision), construction accidentsslip and/or trip and fall accidentsauto accidents, and, of course, defective or dangerous products

For additional information on any of these topics, readers are encouraged to download these FREE e-books:

 


11/10/2015
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Lie to Me

For years now, some unethical lawyers have preyed on people who've been seriously injured in an accident and don't know what to do, just to make a buck

Category: Keyword Search: accident

10/31/2013
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Gutter Cleaning Not Covered By Labor Law 240(1), Says NY Appeals Court

As noted by a recent appellate court decision, not all types of commercial cleaning are covered by NY's Labor Law worker safety statutes.

Category: Keyword Search: accident

7/25/2011
Jonathan Cooper
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Construction Worker Falls from Ladder at Brooklyn Site, Seriously Hurt

Long Island, NY construction site accident lawyer discusses a recent worksite tragedy from today's news.

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7/15/2011
Jonathan Cooper
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Why This School Accident Case Wouldn't Survive in New York

Long Island, New York school accident and negligence lawyer Jonathan Cooper discusses why this slip & fall case would be dismissed had it been brought in NY.

Category: Keyword Search: accident

11/5/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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In an "off-the-beat" case, Kassis v. Ohio Casualty Ins. Co., 12 N.Y.3d 595, 885 N.Y.S.2d 241 (2009), New York's Court of Appeals (the highest court in New York State) held in favor of a landlord - and against his tenant's liability insurer - that since the lease required the tenant to name the landlord as an additional insured on their liability policy for their "mutual benefit," the landlord was automatically deemed an additional insured under the policy, even though the landlord wasn't in fact named on the policy at all.  Consequently, by dint of the Court's holding, the insurer was obligated to not only defend the landlord in the underlying personal injury action that arose from a worker's claim that he was injured when he slipped and fell on snow fronting the landlord's property, but the insurer was also required to indemnify the landlord for any settlement or judgment up to the policy's full liability limits.

A word of caution is in order, however, and here's why: a perusal of this decision suggests that this ruling is of limited scope, and confined to the particular facts of this case. Specifically, in rendering the opinion, Chief Judge Lippman notes that the insurance policy in this case had a provision that extended coverage to the named insured as well as “any person or organization whom [the named insured is] required to name as an additional insured." 

Nevertheless, this decision serves as yet another reminder to small businesses in New York why you should never assume the validity of an insurer's disclaimer of coverage.


Category: Keyword Search: accident

10/12/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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In New York City, Who Is Liable For A Defective Curb?

In this article, Long Island, New York trip and fall lawyer Jonathan Cooper discusses who is legally responsible for a defective curb under New York law. For additional information on this topic, and how accident cases are evaluated and handled under New York law, please order a copy of Jonathan Cooper's Guide to New York accident cases, Why Most Accident Victims Do Not Recover the Full Value of Their Claim from www.TheNewYorkAccidentBook.com.

Category: Keyword Search: accident

7/9/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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NY Appeals Court Whittles Down Claims in Construction Site Accident Lawsuit

In this article, Long Island, NY construction site accident attorney Jonathan Cooper discusses how a New York appeals court dismissed most, but not all, of a worker's personal injury claims because the plaintiff did not prove sufficiently that the defendants had violated specific safety statutes. For additional information on what a plaintiff must prove to win his construction site accident lawsuit under New York law, please visit www.JonathanCooperLaw.com.

Category: Keyword Search: accident

4/29/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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In an opinion that was published on April 21, New York's Appellate Division, Second Department upheld a lower court's decision dismissing the personal injury lawsuit of a construction worker who was hurt when the tree stump he was leaning on to maintain his balance broke off, causing him to fall down a slope. While I, like anyone who's been litigating accident cases for a sufficient period of time, have lost some close cases, I find this particular case troubling because I don't see any legitimate reason why the defendants could be deemed liable for this construction site accident. Stated differently, and given the Appellate court's clear and convincing affirmance of the dismissal, I don't think this case should have been brought in the first instance.

As noted in my articles Construction Site Injuries and New York's Labor Laws and Construction Site Accidents: Why the Number of Successful Cases Are Dwindling, in order for a defendant to be held liable under the Labor Laws for a construction worker's personal injuries that were sustained while on the site, the injury must have resulted from an elevation-related risk or safety hazard. That certainly was not the case here. And the plaintiff could not demonstrate that the remaining defendant, Staten Island Railroad Transit Operating Authority (SIRTOA), a subset of the New York City Transit Authority, exercised any ownership or control over the area or tree stump where he fell, as a result of which the plaintiff's negligence claim fell by the wayside as well.

Given that the plaintiff's attorneys went to the time and expense of appealing the lower court's decision, I suspect that the plaintiff's injuries in this case were quite serious, and that they were therefore seduced by the prospect of a big fee. But if you can't conjure up a cogent theory of liability to make it stick, you still shouldn't bring the case.



Category: Keyword Search: accident

4/26/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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After a trial that recently took place in Brooklyn's federal court, a jury found that Black & Decker, which manufactured the lawnmower, was liable to the plaintiff, who lost his fingers in the cutting blades of one of its lawnmowers, because the lawnmower was defectively designed. The significance of this case lies in the second part of the jury's finding, however: although the jury held that the lawnmower was defectively made, in that the Black & Decker lawnmower's on/off switch was too readily turned on, which was a safety hazard, and further held that this defect was a significant factor in causing the plaintiff's personal injuries, they also held that by forgetting to unplug the mower before performing maintenance on the machine, the plaintiff was 90% responsible for his own accident. Consequently, despite finding that the plaintiff's loss of his fingers was worth $2 million, the plaintiff was only awarded $200,000.

So, why is case is blog-worthy? Because it provides one of the clearest demonstrations of how New York's comparative negligence doctrine works in a practical way. More importantly, I believe that this case shows the wisdom of some facets of our judicial system, in this case, the comparative negligence doctrine.  Although some might be inclined to side with Black & Decker in this case, and might even go so far as to say that the plaintiff should never have brought this lawsuit, especially considering the high degree of culpability that the plaintiff bore for his own accident (I admit that I probably would have rejected this case had it come to my office for this very reason) I think that this attitude is wrong both on public policy grounds, as well as for this specific case and plaintiff. Simply put, had this case never been brought, Black & Decker would have had no incentive to make their lawnmower safer for consumers by making it more difficult to accidentally engage the power switch, even though it is apparently a relatively simple modification. And without this case, the plaintiff would have been denied monetary compensation that Black & Decker owes him for their share of the fault for his accident.


Category: Keyword Search: accident

2/5/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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In a case from Orange County in California that was reported yesterday, a jury held the local municipality liable for causing the collision between a car and the teenage boy’s bike, as a result of which the boy sustained serious personal injuries, including the loss of one leg below the knee.  From the news report, it seems fairly clear that the government intends to appeal the jury’s $8 million plus verdict, because from their vantage point, it is manifestly unfair to cast the lion’s share of liability on the municipality when they had no direct role in the bike and car crash; they did not own or operate either the car or the bike.  While, at first blush, the municipality’s argument seems meritorious, if you think a bit more critically, you will realize that their argument contravenes what we know from our everyday, real-world experience.

There are some intersections and streets that have had such a disproportionately high number of tragic car accidents and fatalities over the last several years (such as Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills and Rego Park in Queens County, New York, which the local papers have dubbed the “Boulevard of Death”) that it is clear to all that these roadways are defectively and dangerously designed.  Consequently, the better public policy is to hold the municipalities and states liable for these conditions; otherwise, these governmental entities will have far less incentive to assure the safety of their roads.

For additional information as to whether governmental or municipal authorities are liable for the dangerous conditions of intersections and roadways under New York law, you can read our article here.

Category: Keyword Search: accident