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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

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10/30/2018
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You Can't Have a Viable School Liability Case Without This

In the vast majority of situations where schools have been negligent, that does not translate into being a viable lawsuit against the school.

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1/1/2016
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How to Recover Lost Profits in a Breach of Contract Case

There are some instances where you can recover your lost profits in a breach of contract case - but it's far easier said than done, explains Jonathan Cooper

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8/24/2015
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Why Real Estate Developer Can Recover Reliance Damages in NY

Where a developer of land breaches a real estate development contract and doesn't close, the seller can recover his reliance damages, explains Jonathan Cooper

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7/6/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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Recently, a Queens County jury awarded a woman of Chinese-American descent, who claimed that her Flushing, Queens cooperative board had discriminated against her, $225,000. While that verdict, in and of itself, isn't particularly blog-worthy, a closer reading of the jury's finding is: the jury awarded the plaintiff money damages even though they did not believe that the plaintiff had proved that the coop board had been guilty of racism.

Not surprisingly, the coop board has indicated that they intend to appeal this verdict.

This case serves as a useful reminder that a jury's verdict is often unpredictable, and may be internally inconsistent. Consequently, a jury's verdict may not give the parties to the lawsuit the finality that they might otherwise expect; it may only lead to further appeals (and legal bills).

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6/21/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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NY's Highest Court To Decide Novel Issues Regarding Construction Site Accident Cases

In this article, Long Island, NY construction site accident and personal injury lawyer Jonathan Cooper discusses how New York's highest appeals court is set to decide how New York's Labor Laws apply (if at all) to a particular worksite accident that resulted in a worker's sustaining serious personal injuries. For more information on how construction site accident cases are governed by New York law, please visit www.JonathanCooperLaw.com.

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5/20/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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In the May 20 edition of the New York Daily News, it was reported that one of Britney Spears's former bodyguards has sued her for personal injuries that he allegedly sustained due to her negligence. In reading the article's description of this man's background, I was amazed that my gut almost instinctively rejected the merits of this man's claims - even though very little detail about the actual claims is given. And you know what? I imagine that most people reading that article felt the same way.

So, you ask, what was so troubling about the man's past that it turned me, a Long Island, New York personal injury lawyer into a hardened skeptic? He is clearly a very litigious guy, with two other lawsuits that are still pending, and a third work injury-related claim that was resolved some time ago. While it is questionable to what degree an attorney would be permitted to introduce evidence of the other claims at trial, there is a serious risk that a jury will take this new claim - no matter how legitimate - with more than a few grains of salt.

In addition, if you sue over a relatively minor injury to one part of your body, and then subsequently injure that same part of your body more severly later on, you may have unwittingly provided an important defense to the latter claim: that your injury was caused by the first incident rather than the second one. To summarize: before rushing head-first into litigation, you should strongly consider whether this case is really worthwhile; if you don't, it could compromise a more meaningful claim down the road.



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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.



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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: damages