Category Archives: Personal Injury

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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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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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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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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Neighbor Injured When Dog Next Door Attacks Her Pets

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Court Decides if Viable Claim is Asserted

Maria Grajeda sued Karin Hablo, as administrator of the estate of David B. Sulyma, after an incident involving a dog attack on September 20, 2014 in front of the Grajedas’ home in Chester, New York.

On September 20, 2014, at approximately 3:00 p.m., Maria Grajeda was on her front porch with her two dogs, Charlie and Sandy. David B. Sulyma lived next door with his two golden retrievers. Sulyma’s two golden retrievers approached Grajeda’s porch and started barking at her dogs. Sandy ran to the door of Grajeda’s home, and was let inside. As Sandy was let inside, Charlie was attacked by Sulyma’s dogs. Grajeda grabbed one of the dogs by the collar and attempted to separate them, but the attacks continued. As Grajeda attempted to grab Charlie, one of Sulyma’s dogs put his paws on her shoulder, causing her to fall to the ground on her right side. She continued her attempts to get Charlie, but the dogs “were pulling [her] and pulling Charlie” toward Sulyma’s property. She fell “a couple times” as she attempted to intervene in the attack.

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Snowmobiler Intoxicated at Time of His Death in Crash:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was Decedent “Visibly Intoxicated ”At Time He Was Served Drinks So As To Implicate Dram Act Liability?

The New York Alcoholic Beverage Law prohibits the sale of liquor to an intoxicated person. The Dram Shop Act creates a private civil cause of action against those who overserve drinks in favor of third-parties who suffer personal injuries as a result of a violation of the ABC Law. But to trigger Dram Shop liability a claimant must establish that the miscreant was “visibly intoxicated”—a fact and case specific burden.

Michael Stanley, Thomas Kelly, and five other men met at the home of Thomas and Jillian Kelly on March 17, 2017; the group left the Kelly’s home, with Stanley driving a snowmobile owned by the Kelly’s; the group stopped at the Boonville Hotel, Inc. and consumed alcohol there; and after leaving the Hotel the group got gas and began the return trip to the Kelly’s home. At that point, Stanley drove the snowmobile into a concrete overpass, resulting in his death. The autopsy report indicated the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries due to snowmobile accident with a fixed object. The toxicology report showed Stanley had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .16%. The Oneida County Sheriff’s Department concluded that speed and alcohol were the two biggest contributing factors to the single snowmobile accident.

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Driver “Blinded by Sun” Hits Biker

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was “Emergency Doctrine” a Defense?

Andrew DiNatale sued to recover damages for injuries he allegedly sustained on April 29, 2015 while riding a bicycle. He was struck by a motor vehicle owned by Mac Mechanical Conveyor (MCC) and operated by Nicholas Gerbano.

DiNatale moved for partial summary judgment in his favor as to MMC/Gerbano’s negligence, arguing that their actions were the sole proximate cause of the accident. DiNatale also sought an order striking their affirmative defenses related to “negligence liability.” In support of the motion, DiNatale submitted his own affidavit, various photographs, and a certified copy of an MV-104A police accident report.

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Worker Hurt Doing Jobs Requested by Tenant:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Was Absentee Owner Liable For The Injury?

A residential tenant signs a lease with an owner who holds the title for investment purposes. The tenant engages a handyman to prune a tree on the property. The worker is injured and sues the out-of-possession landlord. Did the handyman assert a legally cognizable claim?

The accident took place on March 24, 2018 in the backyard of 340 Halsey Street in Brooklyn, New York. The two-family house was owned by Advance Financial Realty Corp. for investment purposes. The duplex on the first and second floors, with exclusive use of the backyard, were rented to a residential tenant and his wife, James and Kimberly Nester. Kimberly Nester asked Wilson Loja to come to her home to prune a tree in the backyard. James Nester testified that Loja agreed to do the work without payment, and that he did not obtain permission for the work from Advance, nor did he inform Advance about having the work done.

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Canine Playdate Between Patron and Gizmo Goes Awry:

This was originally posted on the SGR Blog.

Did One Owner Have Claim against the Others?

On August 24, 2017, Irma Sanchez brought her dog, Patron, for a playdate with Michael and Marsha’s dog, Gizmo, at the Birds’ residence. Sanchez alleged that Gizmo ran up to her and knocked her down during the playdate. And alleged that the Birds knew of Gizmo’s propensity to knock people down. On July 11, 2018, Sanchez sued the Birds for damages for the alleged injuries she sustained when Gizmo knocked her down.

The Birds moved for summary judgment dismissing the Sanchez complaint. And alleged that Gizmo did not have any vicious propensities. In support of their motion, they contended that their dog knocked Sanchez down to the ground as a result of playing with Patron in the yard. According to the Birds, they could not be liable for Gizmo’s normal dog behavior. They also alleged that Gizmo did not have any vicious propensities as evidenced by both Sanchez’ and Michael Bird’s examinations before trial. They testified that neither of them had seen or were aware of Gizmo biting, growling, or showing his teeth toward anyone. The Birds highlighted the fact that Sanchez testified that when their dogs played with each other, they did so in a playful manner and Gizmo did not act aggressively toward Patron. And the dogs had playdates frequently, at least one to two times per week prior to the incident.

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Teenager Steals Car & Kills Woman in a Collision:

This was originally published on the SGR Blog.

Was Owner of Car Liable to the Estate ?

On November 23, 2015, Sharlene Stinson was killed in an automobile collision when her car was struck by a van stolen by a teenager. The van, which belonged to Blasco Beltran, was stolen from his driveway on November 14, 2015. The estate brought a wrongful death action against Beltran, as the owner of the vehicle.

Beltran moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint. And submitted evidence that he reported the theft to the police on November 14, 2015. The incident report from that date indicated that Beltran told the officer he had left his vehicle unlocked in his driveway. And the report also stated that Beltran told the officer that he had lost one set of keys to the vehicle weeks before the theft, but he had the remaining key.

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