PMT Status Update: Open – Informed – Here

PMT Status Update: Open – Informed – Here

The rapid pace of the COVID-19 virus has caused all of us to completely change our lives in a very short period of time. PMT is following all precautionary measures and mandates to protect our employees and our clients. With the enforcement of social distancing, all PMT employees are working securely from home and have created a seamless transition for our clients during these uncertain times. With these changes, we hope to make a positive impact and flatten the curve of the virus. PMT is fully operational and we are here for you. Contact information for all PMT attorneys and staff is the same. Contact us by email or call one of our ten offices listed below, and you will be directed to our staff. During this time, virtual meetings through teleconference or video conferencing will become the new method for meetings and interaction. We will be in touch to discuss which method works best for you. As the situation with COVID-19 evolves, we will keep you posted as to government mandates regarding our Court system, as well as any relevant matters involving the legal community. The most important concern for PMT is the health and safety of our entire community throughout America and the world. Our thoughts go out to the victims. We are thankful for all health care professionals, and our admiration goes out to those involved in fighting the virus— from those at home, to those on the front line. Below is a list of our offices and direct attorney contacts with email links, should you have any immediate needs or questions. Do not hesitate to...
Risk Management 2020: Hot Topics and Cool Solutions

Risk Management 2020:
Hot Topics and Cool Solutions

 – CANCELLED – Pillinger Miller Tarallo and St. John’s Tobin Center for Executive Education, its Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science (GSRM) proudly present our inaugural conference: Risk Management 2020: Hot Topics and Cool Solutions. In today’s complex business environment, the number one issue facing insurance and claims executives is effective and efficient strategic risk management – an issue affecting whole industries as well as individual companies. Our panel participants – comprised of highly-experienced attorneys, senior claims executives and GSRM professors – will offer incisive insights on topics ranging from additional insured status to indemnification to risk transfer and will and cover the tools that can be used to successfully acknowledge, manage and reduce risk for both insureds and self-insureds alike. The conference will be held at:St. John’s University101 Astor Place, NY NY 10003March 26, 2020 from 1 pm to 5 pm CLICK HERE TO REGISTER Agenda 1:30 p.m.OPENING REMARKSThomas M. Bona, Partner – Pillinger Miller Tarallo, LLP 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.Session One: Protect Yourself – The Keys to Risk Transfer? Indemnification Agreements and Their Limitations Owner Controlled Insurance Programs/ Contractor Controlled Insurance Programs/ Reinsurance Contractual Indemnification Agreements Additional Insured Coverage versus Contractual Indemnity Recovery Session One Panelists: Moderator:Marc Pillinger, Executive Partner – Pillinger Miller Tarallo, LLP Jeff Miller, Executive Partner – Pillinger Miller Tarallo, LLPNeil Sambursky, Partner – Pillinger Miller Tarallo, LLPChris Phillips, Senior Vice President – Old Republic Contractors Insurance GroupWilson Townsend, Vice President, Director – RiverStone TPA ServicesGerard Kelly, Adjunct Professor – Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management 2:45 p.m.  BREAK 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.Session Two: You Have a...
Case by Case: Are Social Security Numbers Discoverable?

Case by Case: Are Social Security Numbers Discoverable?

By Peter M. Dunne. A Social Security Number is discoverable in a personal injury case because it is reasonably calculated to lead to admissible evidence. Claims of privacy and concerns for identity theft will not bar discovery of a Social Security Number. Zbigniewiwcz v. Sebzda, 58 Misc 3d 1217(A), 94 NYS3d 541 (Erie County 2018). However, the request should properly be in the form of a discovery demand, preferably attached to a demand for authorizations, and not in a Bill of Particulars. The Courts have held that a demand for a Social Security Number in a Bill of Particulars is improper as it does not serve to amplify the pleadings and, instead, it is evidentiary in nature and, thus, more properly made in a discovery demand.  In Kupferberg v. State, 97 Misc. 2d 519 (Ct Cl 1978) the Court stated that the decedent’s Social Security Number was “not material to any element of the causes of action alleged, and would not serve to amplify any aspect of the pleadings. The primary usefulness of the decedent’s Social Security Number is as a tool for acquiring evidence. Since evidence itself is not the proper subject of a Bill of Particulars, a mere device for its acquisition is a fortiori inappropriately requested. Item 17 is therefore stricken.” That being said, it is clear that a claim of privacy cannot bar the discovery of Social Security Numbers in personal injury cases where defendants are able to show that they are necessary or indispensable for defendant to obtain relevant records such as medical records, perform prior claim searches, determine liens, etc.  Zbigniewiwcz v. Sebzda, 58...
Effective Cross-Examination: An Aggressive Defense Pays Off

Effective Cross-Examination: An Aggressive Defense Pays Off

Many jurors still have a Perry Mason like expectation of a trial. They expect a cross-examination of a witness that will expose, confront and break the witness. While this sometimes can happen, most cross-examinations of witnesses are more mundane. One of the risks of cross-examination is that the witness weathers the attack by the opposing attorney. In so doing, the witness is given a golden opportunity to explain their story once again and ends up looking stronger in the eyes of a jury because they took the “blows” and didn’t break. Another danger of cross-examination is that the attorney comes on too strong and invokes sympathy for the “badgered” witness in the eyes of the jury. Great trial attorneys know how to strike the right balance on cross-examination. They are prepared for cross-examination because they find the buried and hidden material that will discredit a witness, impeach their credibility and expose their lies to a jury. This kind of relentless questioning is hard to accomplish and the cross-examiner must be able to lead the witness into an unsuspecting trap and then pounce on the witness all the while keeping the jurors’ attention. This month we highlight Ernest J. Bernabei lll who obtained a defense verdict in a contentious attorney negligence case in Camden County Superior Court through effective cross-examination. View Ernest J. Bernabei lll’s bio Jury Deliberated Unanimous Defense Verdict Court: Camden County Superior Court Judge: Sherri Schweitzer Case Type: Professional Malpractice Caption: Frank Dippolito v Charles Nugent, Esq. Index No.: CAM-L-4605-14 Verdict Date: November 14, 2019 After three and half weeks of trial, Ernest Bernabei, with the assistance...
Case by Case: Balance of Power: “Liberal Governor” Vetoes Two Progressive Backed Drastic Tort Bills

Case by Case: Balance of Power: “Liberal Governor” Vetoes Two Progressive Backed Drastic Tort Bills

By Thomas M. Bona. For many years, the balance of power in Albany in the Legislature was that the Democrats controlled the Assembly and the Republicans controlled the State Senate.  Although the Democrats tried many times, they could not get enough votes in the Republican Senate to pass many bills that they sought.  Over the years this was fairly standard.  The Republicans maintained a narrow majority in the Senate which blocked most of the Assembly’s bills where they could not garner Republican support.  Even when the Senate Republicans lost a straight majority, they managed to cobble together a majority by banding together with some breakaway conservative Democrats who were vilified by their own party for handing the balance of power again to the Republicans.  In 2018 that all changed when Democrats won a majority of the Senate seats thus ensuring that they would be able to pass whatever legislation they saw fit.  This past year, they passed two pieces of legislation which would have greatly impacted civil litigation in New York. General Obligations Law §15-108 The first bill would have amended § 15-108 of the General Obligations Law which sets forth how a settling defendant’s share of liability or payment is to be accounted for when there is a verdict.  As you may know, § 15-108 of the General Liability Law allows a non-settling defendant to reduce their liability to the plaintiff by the greater of the amount of the settlement or the equitable share of damages of the settlor by a verdict.  This calculation would be made after the verdict on damages was rendered against the non-settling defendant. ...