Category Archives: Litigation

Injured Woman Lacrosse Player Sues University, Coach, and NCAA

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was Prohibition Against Wearing Headgear a Basis of Liability?

Samantha Grieber sued to recover for personal injuries from multiple concussions sustained while participating in women’s lacrosse practice drills as a member of Hofstra University’s collegiate team. The first concussion occurred during a shooting drill on March 18, 2013, when a ball which was shot by another player and had missed the goal ricocheted off of nearby bleachers, striking Grieber in the back of the head. She was removed from play, examined by Athletic Trainer Robert DiMonda, and referred to team physicians.

Grieber was ultimately cleared to return to play after approximately two months, in May of 2013. The second concussion occurred during a “mimic drill” on January 21, 2014, when Grieber slipped and collided heads with another player. She was again removed from practice, examined by Mr. DiMonda, and referred to team physicians. Grieber was not cleared to return to team activity following her second concussion.

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Juno and Josie Joust in Chatham

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Patiently Parses Pet Peeves

On October 27, 2018, Julie Hickson was walking her dog, Juno, through a neighborhood in the town of Chatham, Columbia County, when she approached a residence located at 144 Hudson Avenue. The residence was owned by Fredda Brown, who leased a portion of it to her daughter, Leah Brown-Oliva.

Brown-Oliva had just exited the residence with her own dog, Josie, who was secured by a retractable leash. As Brown-Oliva was closing the door behind her, Josie began running toward Hickson and Juno, pulling the retractable leash out of Brown-Oliva’s grasp. Josie and Juno quickly became engaged in a fight, as Hickson and Brown-Oliva attempted to separate the dogs. During the struggle, the retractable leash that was still attached to Josie became wrapped around Hickson’s legs, and she fell to the ground. Eventually, the dogs were separated, and Hickson and Juno walked away. Hickson later went to an urgent care center, where she was found to have fractures in both of her hands.

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Patron Punched in Pub Fracas

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was Owner/Dram Act Implicated?

Thomas Asher sought damages for injuries he sustained in December 2017 when Erik Walordy punched him in the head inside of the Local Ale House, a bar owned by Charter Pub Inc. located in Island Park, New York. Charter sought summary judgment dismissing the action.

Asher, a frequent patron of the Local Ale House—he visited 3 or 4 times per week—arrived alone at the saloon approximately at midnight and proceeded to sit at the end of the bar to talk with his friend, Bob Mauro, and Mauro’s wife. The bar was not crowded at the time—a total of 8-10 people, including two female bartenders. Asher spoke with Mauro for approximately half-an-hour when Walordy approached him, touched his chest and said that Walordy’s friend wanted to meet him. Mauro told Asher that Walordy and his friends were at a Christmas party at Mauro’s karate establishment and that they came to the bar afterwards. Asher did not notice anything that would indicate that Walordy was intoxicated—his speech was not slurred nor were his eyes glassy or bloodshot. Asher and Mauro laughed off Walordy’s approach.

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Customer Tech Salesman Jumps to a Competitor

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Would Court Enforce Restrictive Covenants?

ASAPP, Inc. applied to the Court for a preliminary injunction enjoining Samuel Rowbotham from commencing employment with or otherwise providing consulting services to ASAPP’s competitor, Cresta Intelligence, Inc., for a period of one year. Rowbotham opposed the motion.

Rowbotham served as a Director of Strategic Accounts at ASAPP, a technology company with approximately 300 employees whose software is designed to improve customer and employee experiences at call centers. ASAPP hired Rowbotham in April 2021, and he began work in May 2021.

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Siblings Mark and Paul Contest Title to Property in Brooklyn

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Did Mark Deed Over Rights or Was He Ousted of Possession?

Mark Belli sought the partition and sale of real property located at 466 76th Street in Brooklyn, claiming that he owned a 12.5% interest and that Belli, LLC, a limited liability company of which his brother Paul Belli was the sole member, owned an 87.5% interest. The LLC interposed an answer and asserted counterclaims, to quiet title, contending that Mark had transferred his interest in the property to Paul, who then transferred his interest to the LLC, or, alternatively, that the LLC had acquired title to the property by adverse possession. Signature Bank’s predecessor in interest—New York Community Bank—to which the LLC had given a mortgage on the property, intervened in the action.

The LLC moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint and declaring that it was the sole fee owner of the property. The Supreme Court granted the LLC’s motion. Mark appealed.

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“On or About” Closing Date Meets “Right of First Refusal” on Kingston Avenue

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Were Brooklyn Property Purchase Rights Abrogated by Passage of Time?

A real estate contract vendee had the right to purchase a parcel in Brooklyn. But that right was subject to a third-party’s right of first refusal to buy the lot. As a recent case illustrates, the Court was required to navigate those concurrent provisions after several years of failure to close on the contract, on the one hand, or exercise of the right of first refusal, on the other.

On January 17, 2017, Parkway Trading Group Corp. commenced an action for specific performance against Yehuda Blesofsky, alleging that, on or about February 20, 2008, Blesofsky, as seller, and Parkway, as purchaser, entered into a contract for the purchase of  328 Kingston Avenue in Brooklyn for $640,000.00 with a closing date of on or about August 15, 2008.

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Water-tuber Falls at the Battenkill River

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was Operator of Site Negligent and Liable?

In July 2018, Jessica Rooney sustained injuries when she slipped on a rock located on an access path while attempting to reach the Battenkill River to go water tubing. Rooney filed a negligence action against Battenkill River Sports & Campground Holding Co, LLC, the company that rented her the tube and shuttled her by van to the river’s access point.

Battenkill moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the basis that it did not owe or breach any duty to Rooney and that her claim was barred by the doctrine of primary assumption of risk. Rooney opposed the motion and argued that Battenkill was a common carrier and, as such, owed a duty of care to maintain the access path.

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Companion Sues Former Beau for Damages Arising Out of Long-Term Relationship

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Court Decides Whether/ Which of a Dozen Claims Survives Motion to Dismiss

Andrea Coulter entered into an intimate relationship with Carl Sorenson, eighteen years her senior, in 2008 when she was 25 years old. Sorenson was a businessman who owned Nanz Custom Hardware, LLC., a substantial enterprise which manufactured and sold high-end custom-made metal hardware products used in the construction of residential and commercial properties. During the course of their decade-long relationship, Coulter and Sorenson lived together at more than one of Sorenson’s homes. At some point during the course of the relationship, Coulter started working, allegedly without compensation, for Sorenson both as his personal assistant and at Nanz.

In or about 2013, Coulter allegedly proposed that Sorensen utilize a Tribeca co-op apartment Sorenson owned through the Carl Sorenson IV Revocable Trust as a short-term rental space using the Airbnb platform, and claimed to have been responsible for fully managing the Airbnb initiative, including overseeing the apartment’s renovation and decoration, servicing the apartment, as well as managing the business’s account and the greeting of guests.

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Kayaker Pleads Guilty to Homicide in Boyfriend’s Drowning Death

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Did Girlfriend Have Defense to Estate’s Civil Suit?

On April 19, 2015, Vincent A Viafore and Angelika Graswald were kayaking in separate kayaks in the Hudson River in Orange County, New York. The weather that day was cold and windy, with water temperature in the 40’s. Viafore was not wearing a life vest or a wet suit. Viafore and Graswald entered the Hudson River from Plum Point Park in Orange County and went to what is commonly known as “Bannermans Island,” an island in the Hudson River slightly southeast of the Plum Point. The couple spent about two hours hiking the island before disembarking back to Plum Point. Viafore and Graswald left the island at about 7:00 p.m. The waters were rough, it was windy, and it was getting dark. Viafore’s kayak paddle was missing a locking clip and had no drain plug, as it was removed by Graswald. While crossing the Hudson, Viaore’s kayak began to take on water and began to sink. Viafore exited his kayak and entered the river. Ultimately, he drowned in the river.

Graswald was arrested and charged with Second Degree Murder and Second Degree Manslaughter. On June 24, 2017, the case against Graswald was resolved by her plea to Criminally Negligent Homicide.

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Patron Falls Off Swivel Chair at Monticello Casino

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was Operator Liable for “Excessive Swivel” Injury?

Jeanine Monticello brought an action for injuries sustained on May 22, 2018, from an alleged trip and fall on a swivel chair on the main floor of the casino owned by Monticello Raceway Management, Inc. located at Route 17B, Monticello. Jeanine died on July 16, 2019, and her husband, Charles Cimorelli, Jr., was appointed administrator of her estate. The estate sued Monticello and alleged that the swivel chairs were not properly secured to the floor and that the chair had “excess swivel.” Monticello moved for summary judgment in that the alleged defective condition was open and obvious and not inherently dangerous.

A New York landowner owes people on their property a duty of reasonable care under the circumstances to maintain their property in a safe condition. However, in order for a landowner to be liable in tort to a plaintiff who is injured as a result of an allegedly defective condition upon property, it must be established that a defective condition existed and that the landowner affirmatively created the condition or had actual or constructive notice of its existence.

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