NY Governor Suspends Statute of Limitations

NY Governor Suspends Statute of Limitations

By John A. Risi. September 2020 – Update As New York State settles into its “new normal,” Governor Cuomo continues to issue executive orders addressing matters from school openings to procedures for public hearings.  His latest Executive Order (EO-260), dated September 4th, 2020, continues the tolling of the Statute of Limitations through October 4th, 2020, with a minor exception lifting the toll relative to the time to challenge the approval by any municipal government or public authority of a construction project that includes either affordable housing or space for use by not-for-profit organizations. July 2020 – Update While all regions of New York State are in different phases of the re-opening process, as new COVID-19 cases largely remain at their lowest levels in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to take a more cautious approach to re-opening, which can be seen in his most recent Executive Order.  The Order (202.48), continues to toll New York’s statute of limitations for the commencement of lawsuits and even the filing of Notices of Claim (a legal pre-requisite to commencing litigation against governmental entities and municipalities) through August 5, 2020. The governor had initially taken this step on March 20, 2020 and signed subsequent orders continuing the toll, including his most recent order of July 6, 2020. Included in the tolling are any specific time limits relating to notices (such as a Notice of Appeal) and motions. PMT will continue to follow important developments such as this most recent Executive Order and keep our valued partners abreast of all matters of significance to our shared business interests as we appreciate the recent...
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...
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. ...
Case by Case: Our Clients Speak

Case by Case: Our Clients Speak

By Thomas M. Bona & John J. Tambascia. 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,...
Social Media and Heavy Cross Examination from PMT Attorneys, Ernest Bernabei assisted by Lisa Grandner, Deliver Construction Client Defense Verdict.

Social Media and Heavy Cross Examination from PMT Attorneys, Ernest Bernabei assisted by Lisa Grandner, Deliver Construction Client Defense Verdict.

Ernest Bernabei, assisted by Lisa Grandner, obtained a defense verdict before a jury in Atlantic County, New Jersey on January 31, 2018. A substantial amount of time and effort was expended in dealing with serious evidentiary issues arising from the Plaintiff’s conduct at trial. The Plaintiff had a 2.5 million dollar settlement demand and alleged permanent injuries arising from debris striking her vehicle at a construction site controlled by the defendant construction company. Mr. Bernabei was able to use information obtained through social media posts to successfully cross examine the plaintiff and prevent any jury sympathy. Heavy cross examination of plaintiff’s medical and liability experts using past medical records and accident scene photos was also very effective. The jury returned a verdict for the defendant within 15...