A SAMPLING OF OUR OTHER RESULTS
Plaintiff v. Mall Owner and Engineering Firm, (Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County, 2013): Partner Nora Coleman, along with associates Matthew Quirin and Erin Mullen, obtained a dismissal with prejudice of this catastrophic tort matter, in which plaintiff alleged that a mall parking lot's configuration contributed to his motorcycle accident, resulting in paraplegia and permanent institutionalization. Plaintiff, who settled prior to suit with the driver of the car that struck him, later filed two additional complaints against the mall owner and engineering firm, one of which was timely pursuant to the statute of limitations but never properly served, and one of which was untimely pursuant to the statute of limitations even though it was properly served. While a motion to dismiss was filed immediately upon first receiving plaintiff’s complaint, the motion was denied based on plaintiff's counsel's argument that plaintiff was “incompetent,” thereby tolling the statute of limitations. While discovery was ongoing, aggressive investigation revealed that plaintiff's counsel had made the opposite argument to a different judge in connection with plaintiff's settlement with the driver, and also that plaintiff had signed a Power of Attorney empowering a relative to act on his behalf long before the statute of limitations had run. Based on this newly-discovered evidence, our client's motion for reconsideration of the prior motion to dismiss was granted, and plaintiff's complaint was dismissed with prejudice.
Rodriguez v. Athenium House Corp. et al., 1:11-cv-05534-LTS-KNF (S.D.N.Y. 2013) Scott Haworth and Barry Gerstman obtained summary judgment in a matter involving plaintiff, a U.S. Postal Letter Carrier who alleged that, while delivering mail at a residential Manhattan building, a bulletin board located above the building mailboxes fell, striking him on the head. Plaintiff alleged severe traumatic brain injury, resulting in a permanent inability to work, as well as significant psychiatric and physical damages. In addition to retaining a mechanical engineer to testify regarding the allegedly defective manner in which the bulletin board was installed, plaintiff planned to call experts in pain management, physiatry, psychology, psychiatry and economics. In granting the defendants' summary judgment, United States District Judge Laura Taylor Swain held that defendant's retention of general supervisory powers was insufficient to defeat defendant's "independent contractor" defense regarding the installation of the bulletin board. Additionally, Judge Swain held that absent speculation, plaintiff was unable to demonstrate the existence of notice. Additionally, the court rejected plaintiff's claim under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur.
Commercial Building Owner v. Municipality, Superior Court of the State of New Jersey, Union County
Scott Haworth, Barry Gerstman and Richard Barber obtained summary judgment on behalf of a New Jersey municipality in a lawsuit arising out of the construction of a retaining wall located on a portion of the plaintiff's premises. The wall was constructed in connection with state-approved improvements to a natural wetland creek and culvert that ran between the plaintiff's property and the municipality's property. The plaintiff alleged that the construction of the retaining wall damaged his building and constituted negligence, trespass and an unconstitutional taking of his property. Following oral argument of the municipality's motion for summary judgment, the court dismissed the entirety of plaintiff's allegations and denied plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment. The court held that because the work performed was pre-approved by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the municipality was immune from liability pursuant to the Design or Plan Immunity provision of New Jersey's Tort Claims Act. The court further held that, although the retaining wall was built above-ground on plaintiff's property, it did not change the natural flow of water, did not constitute an encumbrance upon the land and therefore could not be the basis for a trespass or inverse condemnation claim. In addition, the court opined that because the plaintiff was unable to demonstrate that he was denied reasonably beneficial use of his property, the inverse condemnation claim was not actionable.
Plaintiff v. Major Telecommunications Company, Supreme Court of the State of New York, New York County
Scott Haworth and Abigail Bowen obtained summary judgment on behalf of a major telecommunications company. Plaintiff claimed that extremely high temperatures emanating from the company's cell site, located adjacent to his office in a residential Manhattan building caused him to suffer injury when he passed-out while atop an A-frame ladder in the room housing the cell site and fell, striking his head. Plaintiff alleged causes of action for negligence as well as alleged violations of Labor Law Sections 240(1), 241(6) and 200. The court agreed with our client's argument that plaintiff's activities did not involve any of the protected activities enumerated under Labor Law Section 240(1). As to Labor Law Section 241(6), our client successfully contended that no provision of New York's Industrial Code could be shown to have been violated and that contrary to plaintiff's assertions, alleged violations of OSHA are not relevant to a Labor Law Section 241(6) determination. Regarding Labor Law Section 200 and plaintiff's cause of action for common law negligence, the court agreed that the telecommunications company did not authorize, supervise or exercise control over plaintiff's work in the cell site room and that any finding that its negligence played any role in the happening of the accident, which was alleged to have resulted in severe traumatic brain injury with cognitive deficits and a permanent inability to work, would be inherently speculative.
Plaintiff v. Pool Manufacturer, Supreme Court of the State of New York, Rockland County
This product liability matter involved an allegation that plaintiff sustained severe cervical spinal injuries when he slipped from a pool ladder, causing him to impact the bottom of an above-ground swimming pool. Our firm was assigned to represent the pool manufacturer when discovery was nearly complete, by which time plaintiff had asserted violations of numerous pool standards, standards related to the pool's ladder and specific theories of failure to warn. Our firm immediately retained a biomechanical engineer highly regarded in the ladder industry and participated in accident reconstruction testing that demonstrated that plaintiff's injury could only have occurred if he dove into the 36 inch deep pool. Additional experts were retained in the fields of warnings and pool standards, whose qualifications are beyond reproach. Lastly, we deposed hospital personnel whose testimony established that the plaintiff was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Notwithstanding several multimillion dollar settlement demands, the case was settled for a nominal amount shortly before trial.
Plaintiff v. Construction Consulting Firm, United States District Court, District of New Jersey
Partner Barry Gerstman obtained a voluntary dismissal with prejudice on behalf of a construction consulting firm sued in a negligence and wrongful death matter arising out of the death of a 29-year-old dockworker killed during pile driving operations at a major public works project. After the deposition of Mr. Gerstman's client, he was able to negotiate a dismissal with prejudice of all claims against Haworth Coleman & Gerstman, LLC's client. The litigation continues against the remaining defendants. Plaintiff is seeking a seven figure settlement as well as punitive damages.
Plaintiff v. Trouble Light Sellers, United States District Court, District of New Jersey
Plaintiff sustained severe burn injuries as the result of an explosion that occurred while using a trouble light in the course of his employment as a mechanic. The light was being used in connection with the repair of a vehicle, which involved removal and drainage of the vehicle's fuel tank. Scott Haworth and Barry Gerstman represented the company that sold the trouble light to a well-known auto parts distributor that sold the product to the plaintiff's employer. Following settlement of the matter, with Haworth Coleman & Gerstman's client contributing substantially less than the other defendants, the defendants moved for summary judgment as to their respective cross-claims for defense, indemnity and insurance coverage. The cross-claims involved complex issues involving product liability law, the interpretation of indemnity contracts and insurance coverage. The court dismissed the cross-claims of the well-known auto parts distributor that sold the trouble light to plaintiff's employer and granted summary judgment to Scott Haworth and Barry Gerstman's client.
Plaintiffs v. Construction Materials Manufacturer, Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County
Nora Coleman and Margot Wilensky obtained summary judgment on behalf of a global manufacturer of specialty flooring systems installed at the entrance to a supermarket. Plaintiffs claimed that the system's installation instructions were unclear, resulting in improper installation, which caused the plaintiff to sustain serious injuries while traversing the flooring. Through deposition, we established that plaintiffs' expert's opinion was unreliable and unsupported by the factual evidence, and failed to establish a causal connection between any defect or negligence and the plaintiff's accident. The summary judgment motion argued that plaintiffs' expert's opinion was "net opinion," and that without any other evidence, plaintiffs could not establish any product liability or negligence claims against our client. The court found the expert's opinion to be inadmissible, and dismissed all claims and cross-claims against our client. DisposItive motions brought by the various co-defendants were denied.
Plaintiff v. Self-Storage Company, Superior Court of New Jersey, Hudson County
Scott Haworth and Nora Coleman successfully moved at the inception of litigation to dismiss plaintiff's complaint on a pre-answer basis. The complaint asserted wrongful death claims as a result of injuries allegedly sustained by the decedent at a live-in health care facility. Plaintiff asserted corporate negligence claims against our client, a self-storage company owned by the same principals as the decedent's health care facility, and attempted to "pierce the corporate veil." Our motion to dismiss argued that plaintiff could not sustain a cause of action for corporate negligence against the self-storage company, as it was not a hospital or health maintenance organization, and was not in a position to prevent medical mistakes and patient injuries. The motion also argued that plaintiff could not establish any abuse of the corporate form or injurious consequence thereof. The court dismissed all claims against our client with prejudice.
Fire Loss Victims v. Landlord
Scott Haworth and Richard Barber represented a landlord in a matter in which plaintiffs asserted millions of dollars in damages arising from a warehouse fire that resulted in the destruction of goods owned by multiple plaintiff apparel manufacturers. Plaintiffs asserted that the warehouse racking system was defective because it was installed too close to overhead radiant heaters used to heat the warehouse. Plaintiffs also asserted defects in the warehouse sprinkler system that, it was claimed, increased the damage to the stored goods. Using our substantial experience defending matters involving fires, explosions and sprinkler systems, we demonstrated that no possible cause of action could lie against our client based upon the theories asserted regarding the sprinkler system or the warehouse racking system. We further demonstrated our client's entitlement to indemnity and defense from our client's tenant and its insurance carrier, notwithstanding that the insurance carrier had issued a denial of coverage. The case was settled for millions of dollars pre-trial with our client's contribution being paid by our client's tenant and its insurer. Moreover, a significant portion of our client's legal fees were reimbursed by the tenant, its insurer and its insurer's broker.
Plaintiff v. Crane Company, Superior Court, Union County: Plaintiff construction worker sustained catastrophic injuries when he was crushed between a precast concrete plank and an I-beam. Scott Haworth represented the crane company and crane operator, alleged to have negligently lowered the precast plank into the building's superstructure. Through deposition of plaintiff's expert engineer, Mr. Haworth established the unreliability and "net" nature of plaintiff's expert's opinions and obtained summary judgment, which was upheld on appeal. The remaining defendants - who refused to join in the motion - paid a substantial settlement on the eve of trial.
Plaintiff v. Medical Device Manufacturer, Supreme Court, Kings County
Product liability matter involving a motorized wheelchair. Plaintiff and third-party plaintiff contended the wheelchair was improperly designed, causing it to flip-over backwards while being utilized by a disabled person. Scott Haworth obtained summary judgment at close of discovery. Appeal discontinued following refusal on the part of defendant to settle prior to the appeal being perfected.
Plaintiff v. Industrial Maintenance Company, Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a large industrial maintenance company in a case where plaintiff claimed that exposure to isocyanates caused him to develop severe asthma.
Plaintiff v. Medical Device Manufacturer, Supreme Court, Bronx County
Product liability/medical malpractice matter involving a medical bed. Following depositions of plaintiff, multiple eyewitnesses, personnel from the defendant dealer/installer and defendant, Scott Haworth obtained a voluntary dismissal. Case was subsequently settled by the remaining defendants.
Plaintiff v. Cosmetics Manufacturer, Superior Court of New Jersey, Essex County
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a leading manufacturer of hair care products, in a case where plaintiff claimed that her decedent contracted dermatomyositis, causing her death, due to exposure to a chemical relaxer.
Plaintiff v. Hotel Operator, Supreme Court, New York County
Labor Law matter involving a chandelier that fell while being erected during set-up for a wedding at a classic New York hotel. Plaintiff claimed severe closed head, psychiatric and orthopedic injuries. Scott Haworth and Nora Coleman obtained summary judgment on behalf of the defendant hotel and premises owner only, based upon lack of control and failure of plaintiff to satisfy the requirements for imposition of liability under Labor Law §240.
Plaintiff v. Envelope Manufacturer, Supreme Court, Bronx County
Plaintiff alleged the traumatic amputation of multiple fingers on her dominant hand during her employment with our client, while utilizing industrial equipment utilized to manufacture envelopes. Following several summary judgment motions and renewed motions, the trial court granted summary judgment based upon the product alteration doctrine of Robinson v. Reed-Prentice and plaintiff's inability to make out a warnings defect claim under Liriano v. Hobart.
Plaintiff v. Apartment Complex, Superior Court, Middlesex County
Stove-tip case involving catastrophic burns to an 18 month old child. Scott Haworth was retained by the excess insurer (excess of $250,000) on the eve of the close of discovery. Mr. Haworth successfully obtained all necessary extensions to depose all fact witnesses, retain an expert and produce a videotaped reconstruction that disproved plaintiff's theory as to how the accident occurred. On the eve of trial, plaintiff accepted a long-since-offered, nominal settlement, within the limits of the primary insurance policy.
Plaintiff v. Industrial Machinery Manufacturer, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
Product liability matter involving multiple finger amputations to dominant hand resulting from a punch press accident, handled by Scott Haworth. Case settled for $7,500 during pendency of summary judgment motion. Motion followed deposition of plaintiff's expert which focused on expert's inability to proffer reliable opinion as to a causally-related failure to guard and the manufacturer's compliance with the ANSI B15 standard.
Plaintiff v. Medical Device Manufacturer, Supreme Court, Richmond County
Plaintiff nursing home resident alleged design defect of a motorized wheelchair. Summary judgment granted to defendant only, based upon unreliability and inadmissible nature of plaintiff's expert's opinion.
Plaintiff v. Roofing Company, Superior Court, Bergen County
Product liability wrongful death matter handled by Scott Haworth involving industrial HVAC worker who fell approximately 23 feet while attempting to utilize a roof hatch to gain access to the roof. Plaintiff claimed the hatch was defectively designed, resulting in awkward movement on the part of the decedent as he attempted to exit the hatch. Utilizing computerized reconstruction analysis, we demonstrated that the accident could not have occurred as theorized by the plaintiff, relieving our client of any potential liability. Shortly prior to trial, plaintiff provided a voluntary dismissal and went on to utilize the liability expert retained by our client in aid of his case against the other defendants.
Plaintiff v. Medical Device Manufacturer, Supreme Court, Oneida County
Barry Gerstman obtained summary judgment in a medical device case involving a spinal implant. The court dismissed the complaint, finding that plaintiff could not show a proximate causal relationship between the injuries claimed and the performance of the product.
Plaintiff v. Manufacturer of Heavy Machinery, U.S. District Court, E.D.N.Y.
Representing a Japanese manufacturer, Barry Gerstman authored a summary judgment motion that resulted in the dismissal of a multimillion-dollar product liability claim involving a forklift. Earlier in the case, Mr. Gerstman authored a Daubert motion that resulted in the preclusion of plaintiff's design defect expert.
Plaintiff v. Cosmetics Manufacturer, Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a leading manufacturer of hair care products in a case where the teenage plaintiff sustained burns to the scalp resulting in permanent hair loss and scarring.
Plaintiff v. Foreign Construction Manager, Supreme Court of New York, Kings County
Obtained voluntary dismissal on behalf of a leading Canadian construction manager, along with co-insurance from the co-defendant subcontractor, in a case where the plaintiff, a pedestrian passing by a construction site, was hit in the head by a falling power tool..
Plaintiff v. Heavy Machinery Manufacturer, Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County: obtained early dismissal on behalf of a manufacturer of large packing/sorting systems in a case where plaintiff's hand became stuck in a conveyer belt, resulting in finger amputations and reflex sympathetic dystrophy.
Plaintiff v. Fitness Equipment Manufacturer, Civil Court of New York, Bronx County: obtained voluntary dismissal on behalf of a leading manufacturer of fitness equipment in a case where plaintiff claimed to have been injured while using a stationary bicycle.
Plaintiff v. Medical Device Manufacturer, Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County: Scott Haworth obtained voluntary dismissal on behalf of a leading manufacturer of durable medical devices in a case where plaintiff alleged that an electric hospital bed caused a fire, resulting in one death and property damage.
Construction Materials Manufacturer v. Subcontractor, Superior Court of New Jersey, Union County
Oobtained a Confession of Judgment on behalf of a global manufacturer of construction materials in a case where a subcontractor failed to remit payment for seven-figure debt.
Plaintiff v. Cosmetics Manufacturer, Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth County
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a leading manufacturer of hair care products, in a case where plaintiff claimed to have been exposed to toxic fumes when a fire occurred during the packaging process.
Plaintiff v. Hotel, Supreme Court of New York, New York County
Scott Haworth and Nora Coleman obtained summary judgment on behalf of one of the world's largest luxury hotel chains, in a case where plaintiff alleged claims under New York Labor Law §§ 240, 241(6) and 200, and resulting cognitive impairment, after being struck on the head by a decorative flower chandelier hung from the ceiling in preparation for a wedding.
Plaintiff v. Apparel Company, Supreme Court of New York, New York County
Obtained contractual indemnification, including attorneys' fees, on behalf of one of Canada's leading women's apparel companies, in a case where plaintiff alleged claims under New York Labor Law §§ 240, 241(6) and 200 after falling from a scaffold at a construction site.
Plaintiff v. Building Owner and Clothing Designer, Supreme Court of New York, Kings County
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of the building owner and one of the world's best-known clothing designers, in a case where plaintiff alleged claims under New York Labor Law §§ 240, 241(6) and 200 after the ladder on which she was working almost fell over.
Plaintiff v. Exercise Equipment Manufacturer, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
Scott Haworth obtained voluntary dismissal on behalf of a leading manufacturer of exercise equipment in a case where plaintiffs alleged that a fire, which destroyed their house, started in a treadmill.
Plaintiff v. Owner/Operator of Tractor-Trailer, Superior Court of New Jersey, Burlington County
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of the owner and operator of a tractor-trailer involved in a major, 11-vehicle accident in southern New Jersey.
Plaintiff v. Heavy Machinery Distributor, Superior Court of New Jersey, Ocean County
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a large distributor of heavy machinery in a case where plaintiff claimed that an alleged defect in a press-brake caused him to amputate several fingers.
Plaintiff v. Medical Device Manufacturer, United States District Court, Southern District of New York
Scott Haworth obtained defense and indemnification on behalf of a leading manufacturer of durable medical devices in a case where plaintiff claimed that an alleged defect in an electric wheelchair caused his injuries..
Plaintiff v. Global Consulting Company, Superior Court of New Jersey, Monmouth County
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a publicly-traded global consulting company in a case where plaintiff claimed that she sustained injury in the course and scope of her employment.