Articles Posted in New York

If you were the victim of sexual abuse or assault, either as a child or an adult, you have the right to bring a civil lawsuit against both your abuser and any school, company, or organization that might be liable for the abuse.

In this post, we will provide a brief overview of sexual abuse lawsuits in New York. We will explain the applicable statute of limitations for sex abuse civil cases in New York and the potential settlement value of these cases.

If you have a New York sex abuse claim, contact us today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082.

Our New York asbestos attorneys represent victims who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer in product liability lawsuits against the asbestos companies. We fight to get maximum compensation for victims and their family. This page looks at mesothelioma asbestos lawsuits in New York and their potential settlement value.

About Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that primarily affects the mesothelium, a thin layer of tissue that covers most of the internal organs. Mesothelioma stands out among cancers due to its singular cause: asbestos exposure. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can lodge in the lining of vital organs like the lungs or abdomen, triggering inflammation, scarring, and ultimately, cancerous cell growth.

According to a study on jury verdicts, the median compensatory damages award for personal injury trials in New York is $287,628. This median award dwarfs the nationwide median of $34,550.

Why Are New York Personal Injury Verdicts Are So High?

New York has favorable juries, particularly in its urban areas. But the reality is that the need for smaller and mid-sized car accident lawsuits distorts this number. Under New York’s no-fault law, an insurance company is required to pay drivers, passengers, and pedestrians up to $50,000.00 for their legitimate economic and medical losses but does not provide for pain and suffering.

Only permanent injury cases can recover more than $50,000. This leads to fewer lawsuits in smaller cases – of which there are many – which increases the overall award in New York. Remember that the typical settlement or verdict tells you very little about your claim’s expected settlement compensation payout.

The Second Circuit ruled today in Edwardo v. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence that sexual misconduct committed by a Catholic priest from another state during a work-related trip does not establish the jurisdiction of Rhode Island parish under New York law.

The case is about a man who was tragically sexually abused and exploited between 1978 and 1984, when they were 12 to 17 years old, by a now-deceased priest from Rhode Island. The plaintiff sued the Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, a church corporation in North Providence, and a retired bishop for various torts based on the defendants’ alleged role in enabling the abuse. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction, finding that New York’s long-arm statute did not permit the court to exercise personal jurisdiction over the defendants. The plaintiff appealed to the Second Circuit.

Why sue in New York in the first place?  New York had a window that allowed sexual abuse claims that Rhode Island did not. Rhode Island extended its civil statute of limitations in 2019 for child sexual abuse cases. Under the new law, victims generally have until they reach the age of 53 to file a lawsuit against their abuser or the institution that enabled the abuse. This is a significant extension from the previous limit, which allowed victims only up to 7 years after turning 18 to file a lawsuit. It is unclear how the timing of this played out for this case but the case was originally filed in Rhode Island and dismissed as time-barred.  So New York was the only option plaintiffs had and that mean hoping New York would assert jurisdiction.

new york statute limitations child abuseIn February 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Child Victims Act into law. It extends the statute of limitations for victims of child abuse.  Child sex abuse victims are now allowed to file criminal charges against their abuser before they turn 28. Victims are allowed to file civil charges against their abuser before they turn 55. Previously, victims had to file both civil and criminal charges before they turned 23. The law also allows a one-year period for individuals to file cases that happened longer than what the statute of limitations would have allowed. It also requires judges to have some training on how to handle child sex abuse cases.

What are statutes of limitations, and why do we have them?

Statutes of limitations (SOL) are a predetermined period that the state is allowed to charge someone with a crime. Different crimes have different extended periods of time when one can file charges against someone. However, the same crime may have a different SOL depending on the state. There are SOL laws because of concerns that witness testimony might be unreliable. A victim may not necessarily remember enough about their abuse that the jury may not find them credible. Physical evidence may also deteriorate over time, which further questions credibility.

Why extend the statute of limitations if someone might not remember what happened to them?

DNA, audio or video recordings, emails, and texts do not disintegrate over time, making them more credible forms of evidence over a longer period. Society has also improved their understanding of the trauma that victims of child sexual abuse experience. People now understand that it can take many years or even decades before someone finally comes forward. While laws on statutes of limitations are put in place to ensure credibility, there are exceptional cases such as child sexual abuse which necessitates lengthened the statute of limitations.

summary judgment hospital malpracticeThe first recorded opinion that I have seen in 2015 is a reminder to medical malpractice victims that there is rarely another option to hiring a lawyer in a medical malpractice case.

In Bagley v. Rochester General Hospital, a woman presented to the renal dialysis unit with complaints of abdominal pain, constipation, and complications from end-stage diabetic renal disease.  This was, regrettably, not a healthy woman.  The hospital did some tests and sent the woman to the emergency room believing that she had bacterial peritonitis as a result of being on dialysis.  The woman’s condition went downhill from there and she died of cardiac arrest.  Plaintiff contends that the real problem was a ruptured acute appendicitis, not peritonitis.

Let me start with a blunt statement: our law firm would never take this case.   Let’s assume it is exactly as the victim’s family says.  The hospital’s doctors screwed up and misdiagnosed the patient.  Even if this is true — I would bet that, although it is just a hunch on these facts —  I don’t think it is a viable medical malpractice action.

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The average car/truck/motorcycle accident verdict in New York is $837,020, which is stunningly high compared to most other jurisdictions.

Why is this? Are New York jurors just that much more generous than, say, jurors in Maryland?

The answer is that New York’s no-fault accident law requires that plaintiffs suffer a “serious injury” before a lawsuit can be brought against the at-fault driver. While there is some question that having a magical threshold that needs to be crossed is going to be fraught with great flaws, there is no question that this New York scheme, as desultory as the justice it might bring, keeps minor personal injury car accident cases out of court.

What’s my point? My point is that this completely distorts average car accident verdicts in New York. I read Metro Verdicts Monthly and Mealey’s which provide a lot of individual verdicts in car accident cases in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. It is amazing how many jury verdicts there are for $10,000 when, if you look at the case, is really not such a bad result. New York has none of these cases deflating their average.

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A recent Jury Verdict Research (JVR) study found that the average verdict in a New York motor vehicle accident case is $837,020. The median verdict is $150,000. This data does not include defense verdicts which, if considered in the data, would obviously reduce the average award.

To be sure, $837,020 is a lot of money for the average car accident case. But you have to keep in mind that in New York because of the threshold level of injury requirement, juries are more likely to hear a serious injury case than a jury would in, say, for example, Maryland.

Rear-end accidents accounted for 21% of the successful verdicts in the study. Pedestrian lawsuits were 17% of the verdicts and intersection accidents made up 15%.

New York limits an attorneys medical malpractice contingent fee in a medical, dental or podiatric malpractice case to 30 percent of the first $ 250,000 of the sum recovered; 25 percent of the next $ 250,000 recovered; 20 percent of the next $ 500,000 recovered; 15 percent of the next $ 250,000 of the sum recovered; 10 percent of any amount recovered over $ 1,250,000.

While contingency fees vary from malpractice lawyer to malpractice lawyer, 40% is a common fee in medical malpractice cases. So if a case settles, or the plaintiff gets a verdict for $1,000,000, the attorneys’ fees, in many cases, is $400,000. In New York, when a malpractice case recovers $1,000,000, the malpractice lawyer’s fee is limited to $225,000.

If you are not a malpractice lawyer, you might think that this is not a bad payday for a single case. You are right. But the problem is that plaintiffs’ medical malpractice lawyers lose most cases. When a lawyer loses a case, he might lose $100,000 or more in out-of-pocket costs. This discourages many good lawyers from handling medical malpractice cases.

The Times Union (Albany, New York) reports that after a three-week trial before Supreme Court Judge Michael Lynch, a jury awarded Watervliet man and his wife $1.87 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit Tuesday against a doctor whose Plaintiffs alleged failure to detect and disclose a high glucose condition leading to a stroke.

Specifically, the jury believed it was negligent not to advise the Plaintiff of the results of a blood glucose study that had been done. The jury found the doctor’s negligence was a “substantial factor” in his stroke. The doctor’s lawyer contended that there is no evidence that Plaintiff would have acted had he been given the blood glucose test results.

Samaritan Hospital was also a named defendant, but the jury did not find that the hospital was negligent.

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