Latest News

BGK Partner Elizabeth White Just Obtained Final Summary Judgment

(FEBRUARY 23, 2021) - BGK Partner Elizabeth White just obtained Final Summary Judgment in a wrongful death dram shop case in Miami-Dade County, Florida.   The case was well publicized and also included a catastrophic injury claim for a survivor of the accident.  Elizabeth was able to convince the Court that the Plaintiff’s could not meet their evidentiary burden under Florida’s Dram Shop statute.   A terrific result in a very difficult venue ! - (BGK)


Lederer Weston Craig Announces Alexandra C. Galbraith Has Joined Its Firm

(FEBRUARY 16, 2021) - Lederer Weston Craig announces that Alexandra C. Galbraith has joined its firm as an associate attorney in the firm’s West Des Moines office. Alex practices civil litigation, with a focus on commercial litigation, tort defense, and insurance defense. She is licensed to practice law in Iowa and Illinois. 

Alex earned her J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2016. While in law school, Alex was an Articles Editor for the Iowa Law Review, a student advocate at Iowa Law’s Supreme Court Day, and a member of the National Moot Court Team. 

Before joining the firm, Alex served as a law clerk to Justice Thomas D. Waterman of the Iowa Supreme Court, Judge Sharon Soorholtz Greer of the Iowa Court of Appeals, as well as the Seventh Judicial District Court of Iowa. – (Lederer Weston Craig)


Major Changes to New York Trial Practice

(FEBRUARY 12, 2021) -  While there is no date set for Civil jury trials to resume in New York, court administrators have been busy promulgating new rules which will substantially affect trial practice. As you will note, many of the new rules are adapted from Federal trial practice. Gone are the days when evidentiary rulings will be made with a witness on the stand and a jury in the box. Some of the key changes to the New York Uniformed Rules are discussed below.

  1. Pursuant to Rule 202.34 all parties must consult with each other regarding proposed trial exhibits before the trial begins. The exhibits which the parties agree upon will be admissible and admitted into evidence before the trial begins. As a practical matter, counsel will be able to use agreed upon exhibits during openings if so desired.
  2. Rule 202.34 also provides that the court must rule on any objections raised to exhibits "at the earliest possible time". The rules indicate the court should make evidentiary rulings as early as the pre-trial conference.
  3. Unless the court sets a different date, the parties must submit a pre-trial memoranda to the court of not more than 25 pages. See Rule 202.20-h[a].
  4. Pursuant to Rule 202.20-h[b], on the first day of trial, the parties must submit a joint indexed binder or electronic document containing all the exhibits upon which the parties will rely. The presumption is that the court will have made all evidentiary rulings before trial, therefore the submitted binder will only contain admissible evidence.
  5. Unless the court sets a different deadline, pursuant to Rule 202.20-h[c], the parties are submit charge requests and interrogatories on the first day of trial. It is axiomatic that the parties will need to know which exhibits will be admitted before preparing a charge request.
  6. Unless the court states otherwise, Rule 202.37 will require each party to submit a written witness list at the start of trial. The list must identify all witnesses, when the witness will be called and estimate how long each witness will take. This rule does not apply to impeachment witnesses.

As of now, court administrators have not made any changes to the way jurors will be selected, however we should be prepared for changes to the selection procedures as well. Early evidentiary rulings may encourage additional settlement discussions and hopefully these changes will minimize the unpredictability at trial, something which most often hurts defendants. We will continue to keep you updated.  - (Gallo Vitucci Klar LLP)


Gallagher Sharp Is Pleased To Announce Maia E. Jerin As Its Newest Partner

(FEBRUARY 2021) - Maia represents clients in complex commercial and professional liability disputes, with a particular emphasis on legal and real estate professional liability.  She is actively involved in the firm’s legal malpractice and attorney discipline practice, where she represents small practitioners to large law firms.  She also defends businesses, employers, and managers against claims of discrimination and ADA violations in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies. She is a frequent presenter on a variety of legal ethics topics, focusing often on the use of technology in the law.

Prior to her legal career, Maia was a real estate sales and marketing executive in Naples, Florida, giving her a unique perspective and knowledge base when handling complex claims. Maia leverages this background in defending real estate professionals and brokers in civil litigation, administrative, and disciplinary matters. - (Gallagher Sharp)


Jeannine Davanzo and Krystina Maola obtain Summary Judgment in Products Liability case in Kings County

(FEBRUARY 4, 2021) - Following six years of contentious litigation, Jeannine Davanzo and Krystina Maola, obtain summary judgment in favor of GVK's client, a healthcare products manufacturer, in a products liability and negligence lawsuit filed in Kings County, New York. The plaintiff alleged that he sustained injuries after he slipped and fell on water he claimed was emanating from the client's ultrasonic cleaner during his employment at a hospital. The cleaner had undergone routine preventative maintenance pursuant to a contract with the plaintiff's employer approximately one month prior to the plaintiff's alleged accident, which showed no water leaking or other issues.

The plaintiff testified that while performing his work, he would spill or drip water onto the floor. He also testified that the water that allegedly caused his accident could have originated from other cleaners and/or sinks in the room where he worked. Additionally, the plaintiff admitted that he had seen water on the floor on multiple occasions prior to his accident and would mop it himself and report it to his supervisor, neither of which he did on the date of his accident.

GVK's attorneys moved for summary judgment on several grounds, including that plaintiff could not establish the client's product was defective in any way and that the client did not owe a duty to the plaintiff as a non-contracting third party, negating the required element for a negligence claim. In opposition, the plaintiff argued that the manufacturer of the cleaner owed a duty to him under the exceptions set forth in Espinal v. Melville Contrs., 90 N.Y.2d 136 (2002).

The court rejected the plaintiff's argument, determining that there was no proof in the record to support the plaintiff's products liability claim. The court also determined that the plaintiff's negligence claim failed because the plaintiff did not allege any of the exceptions pursuant to Espinal that might give rise to a duty to plaintiff on the part of the manufacturer of the cleaner in his pleadings. The first time the plaintiff raised any of these arguments was in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. The court further agreed with defendant that since the plaintiff did not plead the exceptions in his Complaint or Bill of Particulars as required, dismissal of the Complaint was appropriate. The case was dismissed in its entirety and plaintiff has not appealed. - (Gallo Vitucci Klar LLP)

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