You’re off to trial. Congratulations. As a trial lawyer in New York, you’ve spent a ton of time working out a theory of liability. You may even have made a global demand for settlement -- which was, in truth, likely formulated without much detailed thought. But now you’re going to trial, and you have to really consider the question: “What are damages? How am I going to articulate them to the judge and jury?” What’s in your potential damages tool kit before and during the trial? What must you and/or have you adduced at trial to establish “damages”? Fundamentally, damages rest on proof adduced during the trial -- nothing more.Read More
Artificial Intelligence (“A.I.”) and mass data collection (“Big Data”) is changing the face of the insurance industry -- and not for the better for you and me. A New York Times article dated April 10, 2019, entitled “A.I. Is Changing Insurance: Some technologies are better left in the laboratory,” by Sarah Jeong, examines a massive effort by insurance carriers to utilize machine learning and secret algorithms to collect both public and private data on customers. Use of this data raises serious concerns about how and to what extent insurance carriers may be engaging in what is called “proxy discrimination,” the use of facially-neutral information gained from other, “proxy” sources (i.e., not blatant racial or sex classification alone, but use of ZIP codes, grade point averages, credit card purchase information, facial recognition analysis, etc.), to identify targeted customers whom the carriers do not wish to insure, or will only insure at a higher premium payment.Read More
Someone clearly had enough money, interest and aggravation to take an administrative law determination on a traffic stop violation to New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. That rarely happens. The case, Matter of Schoonmaker v. New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, 2019 N.Y. Slip Op. 02259 (Ct. App. 3-28-19), 2019 N.Y. LEXIS 614, involved the appellant Schoonmaker’s appeal of a Department of Motor Vehicles determination revoking his driver’s license for refusing to submit to a chemical test for driving while intoxicated in violation of N.Y. Vehicle and Traffic Law (“V.T.L.”) § 1194.Read More
As part of our on-going discussion of damages in personal injury cases, Part VII of this blog series addresses “Emotional Distress and Physical Consequences Thereof,” which is described at New York State Pattern Jury Instruction (“P.J.I.”) 2:284. That section -- which is separate from the pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life charge -- can be read read to a jury if there is evidence in the record that the injured party’s injury caused additional, verifiable emotional or neurological sequelae, and may apply to claims when the plaintiff is in the zone-of-danger.Read More
Potential personal injury (and all other legal case) clients beware: lawyers who are admitted to practice law in New York State but who reside in another state must maintain a physical office in the State of New York to practice law here and conduct legal business in the New York State courts. This is the rule contained in N.Y. Judiciary Law § 470 (first enacted in 1862), which may come as a surprise -- and a trap -- to many attorneys licensed in New York but residing outside of New York State.Read More
Our son, Thomas J. Snyder, Esq., was sworn in to the New York State Bar on January 9, 2019. Another proud day for his parents. Tom is pictured here, far right, after the admission ceremony with the distinguished Justices of the N.Y.S. Appellate Division, Fourth Department, in Rochester, N.Y. Tom will continue on to complete his Ph.D. studies at the University of Chicago in modern German legal and constitutional history.Read More
Let’s get concrete for just a minute. Some of this “damages in personal injury” material is kind of abstract. Let’s bring it down to earth with an actual case, involving a tragic, fatal motorcycle accident. How are pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life established if there was a traumatic incident that led to death? Consider this (very unfortunate, sad) fact pattern: A motorcyclist going straight with the right-of-way strikes the passenger side of an automobile making a left turn from the opposite lane crossing directly across the path of the motorcycle. The driver of the automobile testifies at deposition: “I never saw the motorcycle before I turned.” That’s negligence as a matter of law as against the car driver. Now for damages.Read More
In this and the blog entries that follow, we will explain the different types of general damages recognized under New York State negligence law. First and foremost, let’s address the two “big” general damages categories in personal injury: (i) pain and suffering; and (ii) loss of enjoyment of life. In New York law, they go together like ham and eggs. If an injured plaintiff sustains pain and suffering, he or she almost always can identify and quantify related loss of enjoyment of life.Read More
In our last blog post, at Part III, we began the discussion about the insurance industry utilizing computer software to analyze personal injury claims, including equalizing claims payments across localities, regions and the U.S. generally. The name of this computerized game is “Reduce Risk, Raise Profits, Repeat.” To really understand the liability insurance business in America, you have to grasp just one concept: risk. That is all the insurance companies care about: minimizing, reducing and even eliminating risk that they will have to pay money -- big money, little money, any money at all -- to resolve a claim for damages against their insureds.Read More
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, approximately 95 percent of personal injury cases in the U.S. settle. The other five (5) percent are cases where: (i) the insurance carrier thinks the demand is too high and the case defensible, or (ii) the plaintiff has an outstanding case that appears a sure winner and the offer is too low -- so the case goes to trial. Black’s tells us further that of the 5 percent that go to trial, approximately 90 percent of the time plaintiffs lose. Of those trial cases where a plaintiff does win, damages are better and paid at a higher monetary rate when the case is before a trial judge, rather than a jury.Read More
Damages in personal injury can seem mysterious to both attorneys and laypersons alike. In this series of posts, we attempt to lift the veil and shed light on these concepts. The ultimate cost of damages falls upon the party who was negligent and caused the incident and injuries (called the “tortfeasor”), and their insurer. In this post, Part II, we drill down deeper into those concepts, especially in actual practice in the real world of tort settlements and litigation.
In this post, we begin the first of a series of informative blog analyses and discussions regarding the award of monetary damages in negligence for personal injury cases in New York State. These blog posts are not meant to offer specific legal advice, which can only occur where an attorney-client relationship exists, but we trust they will be helpful to you in a general way.Read More
It is with great honor I can say I have been selected to the list of Upstate New York Super Lawyers again for 2018. The announcement was just made.Read More
It was a jaw-dropping verdict: on July 12, 2018, a jury in Missouri awarded 22 women who were alleged to have contracted ovarian cancer by using Johnson & Johnson baby powder $550 million in compensatory damages and $4.14 billion in punitive damages, for a total award of almost $4.7 billion. The plaintiffs in this case alleged that the Johnson & Johnson talc-based powders, sold as “Baby Powder” and “Shower to Shower” contained asbestos -- a well-known carcinogen -- and, when applied as a feminine-hygiene product, was absorbed through the skin and caused ovarian cancer. Six of the 22 women plaintiffs had died from their cancer at the time of trial.Read More
In New York State, for on-premises pharmaceutical delivery/pick-up by a patient or patient representative, pharmacists have a mandatory, non-delegable legal duty, pursuant to 8 N.Y.C.R.R. § 63.6(b)(8)(i)(a), to personally counsel each patient or patient representative “on the premises of the pharmacy … who presents a prescription … in person in a face-to-face meeting whenever practicable.
But imagine for a moment you are blind or deaf, or have a serious vision impairment or a utilize a cochlear implant for hearing loss. What would you do to ensure you know all about your medicine in consultation with a pharmacist referring to a prescription label you cannot see, or a speaking with a pharmacist you cannot hear?Read More
I have an interest and experience in providing legal help to individuals with all kinds of sensory impairments and disabilities, to ensure they have proper accommodations and access to equal, effective communication under New York State and Federal law. This includes the New York State Civil Rights Law, N.Y.S. Human Rights Law, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Today we begin to talk about access to pharmacies for individuals who are blind and vision-impaired.Read More
Curtilage. Sounds like something that describes yogurt gone bad. Or something your doctor scrapes off an infected wound.
Nothing having to do with motorcycles would ever come to mind when using the word “curtilage.”
Until now. Because a new U.S. Supreme Court decision, Collins v. Virginia, 584 U.S. ___ (2018), was just handed down last week that held the automobile exception to the Fourth Amendment does not permit the warrantless entry of a home or its surrounding area -- the curtilage -- in order to search a vehicle therein.Read More
It’s “Speed Week” this week in New York State. The weather is nice, roads are clear, and people are out in their cars and trucks. So law enforcement is out, too, with extra patrols working the highways and byways all around New York State looking for speeders and aggressive drivers on the road. Think you can’t get caught? In 2017 during “Speed Week,” police in New York State issued more than 21,000 tickets to motorists across the state -- in one week.
Being pulled over for speeding gives the police all kinds of extra opportunities to look at your car, question you, possibly even ask you to get out of the car to conduct a personal or vehicle search, depending upon the circumstances. That’s when the trouble begins.Read More
On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, I was sitting in the evening on the West Side piers in lower Manhattan when I saw the actual construction scene set forth above. I watched, dumbfounded, as the laborers worked high above the ground and water. I could see no safety gear in use as the workers actively crawled and walked all over the superstructure as the boom trucks delivered huge loads of decking at least three or four stories up….Read More
On Thursday, May 24, 2018, our son, Tom Snyder, graduated from Harvard Law School. We are very proud parents!Read More