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First Department Expands Discovery of Social Media Accounts

Just last year, the New York Court of Appeals ruled in the case of Forman v. Henkin, that a litigant’s public posts on Facebook were subject to discovery.  The decision was based on the premise that any limitation on the discovery of social media accounts would run counter to New York’s “tradition of liberal discovery.” On January 24, 2019, the First Department expanded on that premise.
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New York Courts Recognize Validity of Biomechanical Experts

In the age of developing technology, biomechanical experts have more tools at their disposal when examining how a motor vehicle accident may have occurred.  In general, biomechanics is the science of how the human body responds to applied external and internal forces.  In litigating a motor vehicle accident, a capable biomechanical engineer may be able to examine specific injuries and use reverse engineering to determine if the event in question caused the purported injuries.
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Second Department Finds Wantagh Bar Is Not Liable For Death from a Fight Outside of Premises

On December 26, 2018, the Appellate Division Second Department upheld the dismissal of a wrongful death suit against a Wantagh bar.  The case involved a 2012 fight in a public roadway outside of Shoooters Tiki Bar & Sports Grill between a Levittown volunteer firefighter and another man.  The firefighter suffered brain injuries in the fight and was in a coma for 17 days before passing. The criminal trial against the other man resulted in an acquittal due to a self-defense claim.  However, the executor of the firefighter’s estate brought a civil claim against Shooters, claiming that they owed a duty to prevent harm to the firefighter.
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The New Year Marks New Changes Regarding the Admission of Records Produced by an Opposing Party

On August 28, 2018, a change to article 45 of the CPLR was enacted after being proposed by the Chief Administrative Judge and being recommended by the Advisory Committee on Civil Practice.  That change, involving the admission of opposing party documents, is set to go into effect on January 1, 2019. The new CPLR §4540(a) is designed to make the admission of documents created by an opposing party admissible without going through additional steps.
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Court of Appeals Finds Statements Made During Administrative Proceeding are Not Protected by an Absolute Privilege

In New York State, a defamatory statement is defined as “a false statement that is published or made known to a third party – deliberately or with negligence – without the knowledge or consent of the subject.  Under the doctrine of defamation, an individual who makes such statement may claim a defense by proving either that (1) the statement is true; (2) that the statement was an expression of pure opinion; or (3) that the statement is protected by an absolute privilege.  In the case of Stega v. New York Downtown Hosp., the New York Court of Appeals determined that defamatory statements made during an administrative proceeding are not protected by an absolute privilege.
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Court of Appeals Decides No-Fault Claims Against a Self-Insurer are Subject to a Three-Year Statute of Limitations

In the case of Contact Chiropractic P.C. v. New York City Tr. Auth., the New York Court of Appeals held that a three-year statute of limitations applies to no-fault cases involving a self-insurer.  The case involved a passenger injured in an accident while riding in a bus that was owned by the New York Transit Authority (NYCT). NYCT was self-insured, and therefore, did not have no-fault insurance coverage.  After the plaintiff provided services to the injured passenger, they assigned their right to collect first-party benefits from NYCT.  The Plaintiff then brought the action seeking reimbursement for outstanding invoices.
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Bullying and School Districts

Bullying is a common problem that occurs in our nation’s school systems. Bullying can be defined as using physical strength and action or words to intimidate another and instill a sense of discomfort and fear. Bullying can be done in person, over the phone, or via the internet. There isn’t an age limit for bullying; it occurs throughout all stages of life, yet peaks when enrolled in an elementary or secondary educational institution. Over time, the question that has been posed is, “what can school districts do to prevent bullying?” Continue reading “Bullying and School Districts”

Court of Appeals Rules Plaintiff Can Be Granted Partial Summary Judgment, Regardless of Own Liability

On April 3, 2018, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that, in accordance with the CPLR, a plaintiff need not “demonstrate the absence of his comparative negligence to be entitled to partial summary judgment as to a defendant’s liability.” Continue reading “Court of Appeals Rules Plaintiff Can Be Granted Partial Summary Judgment, Regardless of Own Liability”

IG: Husband and Wife Fraudulently Collected Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Smashing Customer’s Car

The owner of a window tinting business in Rockland County, New York, and his wife were arrested for allegedly defrauding the state Workers’ Compensation system after his wife took out a customer’s car on a joyride, getting into an accident, then claiming the crash happened while she was working. Continue reading “IG: Husband and Wife Fraudulently Collected Workers’ Compensation Benefits After Smashing Customer’s Car”

Court of Appeals Rules: Specific Contract Language Governs Reinsurance Liability Cap

The issue that has recently plagued the insurance world is the question of whether New York State law requires in its insurance contracts a rule of construction or presumption regarding the contract’s liability limitations and caps on the reinsurance available to cover defense costs. Continue reading “Court of Appeals Rules: Specific Contract Language Governs Reinsurance Liability Cap”