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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:

 


1/10/2011
Jonathan Cooper
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NY Liable for Creating Snowbank "Deathtrap" at Bridge, Says Appeals Court

Author of the New York guide to accident cases (www.TheNewYorkAccidentBook.com), Long Island & Queens, New York auto accident and personal injury lawyer Jonathan Cooper discusses a recent decision from one of New York's appellate courts that reinstated the wrongful death claims against New York State. For additional information on this topic, please contact Jonathan Cooper directly at 516-791-5700.

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1/5/2011
Jonathan Cooper
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Long Island Looking for (Wrong) Solutions to Avert Wrong-Way Car Crashes

Jonathan Cooper discusses a recent article putting forth the means that are being considered to avert further wrong-way crashes across Long Island.

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12/17/2010
Jonathan Cooper
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Malfunctioning Traffic Signals in NYC a Recipe for Disaster - But Not City Liability

Author of the New York guide to accident cases, "Why Most Accident Victims Do Not Recover the Full Value of Their Claim" (www.TheNewYorkAccidentBook.com), Long Island & Queens, New York car accident and personal injury lawyer Jonathan Cooper discusses the legal implications of malfunctioning traffic signals throughout New York City. For additional information on this topic, please contact Jonathan Cooper directly at his Nassau County office at 516-791-5700.

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7/30/2010
Jonathan Cooper
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How Mass. Court Changed Its Law In Slip and Fall Case to be More Like NY

Long Island, New York slip and fall attorney Jonathan Cooper discusses a recent case where a jury awarded a plaintiff over $4 million for the personal injuries he sustained when slipping over snow and ice. For additional information on how to prove a slip and fall case in New York, please see http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-to-prove-a-slip-and-fall-on-snow-or-ice-case-in-new-york, or contact Jonathan Cooper directly at his Long Island office at 516-791-5700.

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5/11/2010
Jonathan Cooper
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5th Grader Claims School Teacher Ignored Her Injuries - Deliberately

In a disturbing story coming out of New Mexico, a 5th grader claimed that her teacher deliberately ignored her playground injuries due to differences she had with the student's parents. For additional information on how to prove a school negligence case, please visit the website of Long Island, New York school negligence and child injury attorney, Jonathan Cooper at www.JonathanCooperLaw.com, or contact him directly at 516.791.5700.

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4/28/2010
Jonathan Cooper
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NY Court Allows Injured Central Park Sledder's Case to Continue - For Now

In a decision handed down by a New York County trial court on April 22, the court held that the defendants, who left exposed some poles for an exhibit that they were hired to erect, could be held liable for a plaintiff's injuries that were sustained when he came into contact with the pole. For additional information on slip and fall injuries under New York law, please visit Long Island, New York slip and fall attorney Jonathan Cooper's website at www.JonathanCooperLaw.com.

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4/25/2010
Jonathan Cooper
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Building Architect Protected By Construction Site Safety Laws, NY County Courts Says

In this post, Long Island, New York construction accident lawyer Jonathan Cooper discusses a recent decision from a New York County court which held that an architect, although not a construction worker, was still covered by New York's safety statutes governing construction sites, and therefore allowed to recover damages for the personal injuries she suffered while at a worksite. For additional information on construction accident cases under New York law, please visit www.JonathanCooperLaw.com.

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4/16/2010
Jonathan Cooper
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How a Building Owner Can Be Liable for a Fire Under New York Law

In this article, and in the context of the April 12 Chinatown fire that consumed an entire building, Long Island, New York personal injury and negligence attorney Jonathan Cooper discusses how you can prove that a building owner's negligence was responsible for an accident under New York law. For additional information on New York accident cases in general, please visit www.TheNewYorkAccidentBook.com or contact Jonathan Cooper directly at 516.791.5700.

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4/7/2010
Jonathan Cooper
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NY Court Holds Child's Risky Behavior Doesn't Bar School Negligence Claim

In this article, Long Island, New York child injury and school negligence lawyer Jonathan Cooper discusses how a hot-off-the-presses decision by New York's highest court sharply narrowed the assumption of risk doctrine, thereby assuring that more negligent supervision cases can reach a jury for determination, rather than being dismissed by the court. For additional information on child accident cases under New York law, please visit www.JonathanCooperLaw.com.

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3/29/2010
Jonathan Cooper
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Queens Court Dismisses Childrens' Mold Exposure Claims As Untimely

Jonathan Cooper highlights some of the difficulties in bringing actions based upon toxic mold exposure, including with respect to children.

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3/24/2010
Jonathan Cooper
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Even Without Direct Proof of Store's Negligence, Suffolk County Woman Wins Re-Trial

In this article, Long Island, New York personal injury and negligence lawyer Jonathan Cooper discusses why a Long Island judge awarded a re-trial of a negligence case after the jury had already rendered a defense verdict. For additional information on how accident cases are handled under New York law, please download a FREE copy of Jonathan Cooper's book, "Why Most Accident Victims Do Not Recover the Full Value of Their Claim" from either www.TheNewYorkAccidentBook.com or www.JonathanCooperLaw.com.

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7/16/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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In a decision that was handed down on July 7, New York's Appellate Division, First Department (which, as set forth previously, oversees the courts in the Bronx and Manhattan) issued a stark reminder, particularly to those attorneys who practice in the personal injury arena, that before someone's "expert" opinion will be given any deference, it must be shown that this individual has the pertinent training, certifications and familiarity with the relevant laws, rules and regulations in that field.

In this case, Schechter v. 3320 Holding, LLC, the plaintiff sustained serious personal injuries when he opened an elevator door and stepped into an empty elevator shaft. In opposing plaintiff's arguments that the defendant building owner and elevator maintenance company should be deemed automatically liable for this elevator accident, the defendants relied on the testimony of an elevator maintenance employee, who opined that the interlock for the cab door had malfunctioned because both excess mop water and urine had gotten into the interlock, and caused it to stop working. In reversing the lower court's order, the appellate court rejected this argument out of hand, holding that the defendants' employee could not be considered an expert regarding elevator maintenance because he had no formal training or education regarding elevators, and was unfamiliar with the relevant codes and regulations. Although there was a dissenting judge to this opinion, I think the courts should take a more active role in assuring that the parties' experts are indeed appropriately qualified before accepting their opinion or giving it any deference.

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7/13/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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In an unusual move, an appeals court reinstated a jury's award which had been reduced from $2 million to $600,000, to a pedestrian who was knocked down by a passing truck, causing him to sustain severe personal injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and several fractures that left him in a coma for over one month.

As anyone who has experience selecting juries for trial will tell you, what is not unusual or suprising is that this aspect of the story - the reinstatement of the 7-figure verdict made the news. Nor, for that matter, would it have surprised anyone had the news reported on the jury's verdict; what would have been surprising was if the news had covered the judge's reduction of the award by nearly 2/3 - a fact of trial life that often confronts personal injury lawyers, but rarely - if ever - makes the headlines.

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6/30/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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On June 29, the New York Times reported on a tragic story involving 3 men who were killed when they were overcome by toxic hydrogen sulfide fumes that emanated from a well they had been hired to vacuum out by a Queens-based recycling company located on Douglas Avenue in Jamaica, opposite the Long Island Railroad. According to a Fire Department spokesman, their investigation revealed that the hydrogen sulfide found in the well was more than twice the amount that is considered "imminently dangerous," and that it likely proved deadly to these 3 men in under 10 minutes. On the other hand, this spokesman conceded that the source or origin of this deadly gas was not presently known. This leads to an important, albeit uncomfortable question: can anyone be held liable for the wrongful death of these 3 men who were hired to clean out the well? If so, under which theories of law?

Although a comprehensive discussion of the answer to this question is well beyond the scope of a blog post (a more detailed discussion of some of these topics can be found in "Why There Are So Few Successful Defective Products Lawsuits") the most likely theories of recovery are the following, each of which presents its own unique challenges:

  • Negligence - under this theory, the plaintiffs will have to show that the defendants failed to keep their premises safe for all foreseeable visitors (which should not be difficult in this circumstance), and that they either knew or should have known that their premises had this particular hazard, but failed to remedy the problem in a timely fashion before the accident occurred (a far more daunting thing to prove).
  • Strict Liability - under this theory, the plaintiffs will need to prove that their injuries (or death) was caused by exposure to a dangerous toxin or chemical (again, not too difficult to prove in this case), and that this chemical came from particular defendants. The latter part of this burden of proof will likely be far more difficult, especially when pursuing other companies beyond the recycler at whose premises the toxic exposure occurred.
Finally, it bears mention that anyone defending such a case will likely contend that the claims are barred by the doctrine of assumption of the risk, i.e., that these people were hired to clean out this hole, and knew full well the risk that it might contain toxic fumes, yet proceeded.

In short, although you might be inclined to think that a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit arising out of this incident would be a "slam dunk," you would be mistaken.

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6/23/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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In a personal injury case that concluded just last week, a jury awarded $285,000 to a 12 year-old student who was assaulted, and beaten unconscious by a fellow 13 year-old student while a teacher stood less than 5 feet away. Although the school issued a public statement claiming that they intend to appeal the jury's finding because they believe there was nothing that the school could have done to prevent the fight from occurring, the plaintiff's attorney noted that the jury's finding that the school was negligent and had acted unreasonably was solidly grounded because the fight took place just a few feet from a teacher, who did nothing to stop the fight - which continued for over 2 minutes - other than press a panic button. In my view, this case will be a close one, because while the school's position certainly has merit, the plaintiff will likely argue that although the school could not have prevented the start of the fight, they should have been able to prevent the continuation of the fight, which lasted for over 2 minutes, and that the child's injuries were primarily sustained in the middle of the assault, rather than at the beginning of the fight. More information on this topic can be found at "How To Prove Your School Negligence Case."



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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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5/25/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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In light of a recent decision by New York's Court of Appeals (New York's highest court) dismissing yet another personal injury lawsuit brought by a worker that was injured by safety hazards while working on the job (see our blog article, New York Appellate Court Dismisses Another Construction Site Accident Case), I reduced to writing a list of the three categories of construction site accident cases, and the evidence that is needed to successfully prove each one of these different types of claims under the heading What a Plaintiff Must Prove to Win a Construction Site Accident Case.

As always, please let me know what you think; I appreciate the feedback!

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5/22/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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Earlier today, an upper school picture shoot went terribly awry when the grating covering a cellar window by Brooklyn private girls school Shaarei Torah collapsed, causing several girls to fall down a 15 foot shaft, and sustain personal injuries including possible fractures. Volunteer EMS organization Hatzolah, as well as NYPD and Fire Department immediately responded to the accident scene, which was located at the intersection of Ocean Parkway and Church Avenue, and took the injured students to several different local area hospitals including Methodist Hospital, Maimonides Medical Center and Lutheran Hospital.

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5/12/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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New York Appellate Court Dismisses Another Construction Site Accident Case

In this article, Long Island, NY construction site accident lawyer Jonathan Cooper discusses why a personal injury lawsuit by a construction worker was dismissed by a New York appeals court, and why given the apparent lack of any basis for the claim under New York law, it probably should never have been brought. For additional information on how construction site accident cases are handled under NY law, please visit www.JonathanCooperLaw.com, or contact Jonathan Cooper's Long Island, New York office directly at 516.791.5700.

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5/3/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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In a tragic incident that occurred on Friday, May 1, a blind 67 year-old man from Riverdale, in the Bronx section of New York, fell to his death when, after the door to his 10-floor building's elevator opened, he stepped into an empty elevator shaft.  By that same afternoon, New York City's Department of Buildings concluded that the elevator accident occurred because the safety device on the elevator door had malfunctioned, allowing the door to open even though the elevator had not yet arrived.

In interviews with reporters, some of the building's tenants claimed that there had been ongoing elevator maintenance and repair work at the building for several weeks prior to this incident.Some building residents said the elevators had been worked on for weeks.


Not surprisingly, this was not the first problem with this particular elevator; however, it does not appear that this elevator ever experienced the same problem that was responsible for this accident beforehand. In an interview with the New York Times, elevator consultant Scott Hayes opined that the mechanical devices that are designed to assure that the elevator's outer door remains shut until the elevator has arrived can occasionally become defective due to wear and tear or inadequate,  improper or negligent maintenance. For this reason, he recommended the obvious: that elevator passengers peer through the elevator door's window to assure that the elevator has arrived before opening the door and stepping into the shaft. He conceded, however, that this advice wouldn't prove effective in this case, where the person was legally blind.

For more information on building owners' and elevator repair company's liability for elevator accidents, see "Elevator Accidents and Injuries Under New York Law."

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2/23/2009
Jonathan Cooper
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Play At Your Own Risk: A Valid Legal Concept Under New York Law?

In this article, published author and Long Island, New York child accident and personal injury lawyer Jonathan Cooper discusses whether those signs declaring 'play at your own risk' have any validity under New York law. For additional information on how accident cases are generally evaluated and handled in New York, you can order a FREE copy of Jonathan Cooper's book Why Most Accident Victims Do Not Recover the Full Value of Their Claim by filling out the contact form at www.TheNewYorkAccidentBook.com or at his website at www.JonathanCooperLaw.com.

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