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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:

 


11/15/2018
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Arbitration vs. the Courts: Which is Better for You?

When drafting agreements for small businesses, a common question arises: where should disputes be brought - arbitration or the courts?

Category: Keyword Search: litigation

1/28/2016
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How Buyer's Mistake Allowed Seller to Keep Downpayment in NY

An avoidable mistake allowed a seller to keep the buyer's downpayment as damages, explains NY breach of contract lawyer Jonathan Cooper

Category: Keyword Search: litigation

10/30/2015
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Frivolous Defenses: Frivolous Lawsuits' Lesser Known Evil Kin

Unquestionably, there has been a lot of talk about frivolous lawsuits. But there is an equally nefarious counterpart that gets far less press: frivolous defenses

Category: Keyword Search: litigation

9/11/2015
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Is "Civil Litigation" an Oxymoron?

Business litigation doesn't inherently require being uncivil; in fact, being cordial will more often work in your client's favor, explains Jonathan Cooper

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7/8/2015
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The Toughest - & Most Important - Decision Facing a Litigant

There is one crucial decision that continually faces a litigant, explains New York business litigation attorney Jonathan Cooper

Category: Keyword Search: litigation

6/5/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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Sometimes those of us who litigate and try cases for a living, whether in the context of small business litigation, personal injury or defective products lawsuits,  tend to get "tunnel vision," and fail to see the forest for the trees. That's why an otherwise unremarkable jury verdict out of the Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York is important: it is a potent reminder to trial lawyers everywhere to remain mindful of the credibility of your witnesses in evaluating the viability and value your case.

In this particular case, there was a stark factual discrepancy between the plaintiff, who alleged that he was pushed off the roof of a 3 story apartment building by a police officer that was chasing him, and the police officer's claim that the plaintiff was in the process of running away from the police when the plaintiff lost his grip on the roof's ledge.

The jury sided with the plaintiff, finding more credible the claim by plaintiff. I suspect that the reason they bought plaintiff's version of events is because he conceded that the police officer did not intend to push him off the roof; according to the plaintiff, the police officer merely intended to push him off of a short 2 foot high paparet wall. And by conceding that small point, or "giving a little," he got a lot: the jury awarded him $4.6 million in damages for his personal injuries, which were quite severe: a fractured spine which resulted in paralysis.

 



Category: Keyword Search: litigation

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: litigation

2/15/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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Last week, a California appellate court which sided with Costco in its bid to prevent disclosing the names of its clothing suppliers on the grounds that this information was deserving of judicial protection as a trade secret. As we have previously noted, it is incumbent on the party asserting that certain information, such as a supplier's identity, be protected from disclosure in in a commercial, small business litigation as privileged matter or a trade secret, to demonstrate that this information was not readily obtainable from another public source, as well as what concrete steps and expense the business took to develop and protect this proprietary list. Otherwise, under New York law, the Court is obliged to compel the disclosure of the list.

Consequently, I was hoping that the California appellate court would elaborate on what specific steps Costco took to convince the Court that their clothing suppliers'  identities were privileged matter worthy of protection from disclosure as a trade secret, if only to provide a measure of comparison to New York law. Unfortunately, after reading the opinion, the Court clearly glossed over this topic, stating in cursory fashion that Costco produced some evidence that its list of suppliers had monetary value, and that it made significant strides to make sure that the names and addresses of its suppliers did not become public.

Category: Keyword Search: litigation

2/9/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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Stars' Admissions of Drug Use And Lessons We Can Apply At Trial

New York Lawyer Jonathan Cooper looks at sports and drugs

Category: Keyword Search: litigation