Case by Case: Our Clients Speak

Case by Case: Our Clients Speak

Sage Advice and Constant Support We who are in this business of defending our clients when they have an accident can become somewhat immune to the reality that when there is an accident and the client is sued, this will be a very stressful, strange and likely long experience.  Here at Pillinger Miller Tarallo, LLP (“PMT”), our experienced lawyers never forget that our clients are just like us and our families who sometimes get thrust into unfortunate situations.  It is always in our uppermost mind to treat our clients with respect, dignity, care, and compassion. A recent case in which we were involved, where we achieved a very good result in a horrific accident, demonstrates how our clients come to rely upon us for sage advice and constant support.  The accident happened in March 2015 when our client was parking their vehicle and crashed through an AT&T store.  The client’s vehicle came to stop well within the confines of the store and in the process, three patrons inside the store were injured, one fatally.  The entire incident was captured on video from multiple angles. The first patron, plaintiff #1, was a woman in her 50’s who was behind the display, knocked over and dragged.  It wasn’t until the client’s vehicle came to a complete stop, that anyone even noticed that she was under the vehicle.  Some 16 patrons and bystanders picked up the vehicle and pulled her from under the vehicle.  She was writhing in pain, and unfortunately, succumbed to her injuries at the ER later that day. The second patron, plaintiff #2,  a woman in her 50’s and...
Case by Case: Winds of Change? Second Department Adopts Tougher View of Safe Place To Work

Case by Case: Winds of Change? Second Department Adopts Tougher View of Safe Place To Work

In November 2017, at Pillinger Miller Tarallo, LLP (“PMT”), we predicted that the Court of Appeals under Judge Janet DiFiore would begin to interpret the Labor Law more favorably for the construction industry and insurance industry. This would signal to the rest of the New York courts that Labor Law matters should be decided in a more even-handed fashion. A recent case from the Second Department demonstrates that this may indeed be occurring. In Ochoa-Hoenes v. Finkelstein, 173 A.D.2d 1080 (2d Dep’t, May 2019), the plaintiff was injured at a construction site which involved the erection of a modular home owned by the homeowners Finkelstein. The modular home components were manufactured by Signature Builders, Inc., and the defendant Vesta Development Group, an authorized representative of Signature Builders, Inc., was hired by the Finkelsteins to perform construction management services for the project. At the time of the accident, the plaintiff was employed by an electrical contractor hired by the Finkelsteins. The accident happened while the plaintiff was preparing for the installation of lights in the home’s basement. After noticing that a stack of plywood sheets that had been placed against the basement wall was resting on the electrical wires, the plaintiff attempted to move the stack himself, which caused it to tip over and strike his right ankle and foot. Plaintiff sued alleging common-law negligence against the defendants based upon their alleged failure to maintain the premises and to provide him with a safe place to work, which is the same standard as is codified in Labor Law §200. Notably, there were no Labor Law allegations pled against the defendants....
Case by Case: Court of Appeals Rules That Foreign Risk Retention Groups Are Not Subject To Insurance Law

Case by Case: Court of Appeals Rules That Foreign Risk Retention Groups Are Not Subject To Insurance Law

Requiring A Disclaimer As Soon As Reasonably Possible One of the linchpins of insurance coverage in New York is Insurance Law §3420(d)(2) which requires that a disclaimer be made as soon as reasonably possible.  This requirement applies to all insurance companies which are issuing or delivering liability policies in the State of New York, but does this apply to Risk Retention Groups who are not domiciled in New York, but are doing business in New York?  A recent Court of Appeals case clarified what is required by non-domiciliary Risk Retention Groups. By way of background, in 1988, the legislature amended Article 59 of the Insurance Law to provide for the formation and operation in New York of Risk Retention Groups.  A Risk Retention Group (“RRG”) is an issuer of insurance owned and operated by insureds who work in the same industry and are exposed to similar liability risks.  When the legislature authorized RRGs, it provided that non-domiciliary RRGs doing business in New York shall comply with the unfair claims of settlement practices provisions as set forth in §2601 of the Insurance Law.  Insurance Law §2601 lists acts by insurers which, if committed without just cause and performed with such frequency as to indicate a general business practice, shall constitute unfair settlement practices.  This included failing to promptly disclose insurance coverage pursuant to Insurance Law §3420(d). Insurance Law §3420(d) contains two paragraphs:  The first requires insurers to respond to requests for information by insureds or injured individuals, and mandates that insurers inform the requesting party within statutory deadlines whether the insured has a particular policy, the coverage limits of that...