You can sue a church (or any other institution or business) whether there is insurance coverage or not, so why does this matter? Because some dioceses, like the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, have filed bankruptcy over sexual abuse claims, particularly where priests have abused many individual children. Claims against Larry Nassar, the sports doctor who had sexually abused approximately 500 young female athletes while recording many of the acts, singlehandedly caused USA Gymnastics to file for bankruptcy in 2018. In a bankruptcy situation, claims that are covered by insurance can be paid up to the limits of the policy, but those that are not covered either go unpaid or have to share a limited fund with other claimants.
What Determines if the Insurance Will Cover Your Case or Not? Read More
Not Only Was it Intentional or Accidental, but From Whose Point of View?
In RJC Realty1, a woman sued a health spa claiming that a masseur had touched her genital area while giving her a massage. The policy covered “bodily injury” caused by an “occurrence”. “Occurrence” was defined as an accident. There was also an exclusion from coverage for “’bodily injury’ expected or intended from the standpoint of the insured”. The insurance company said that this was not an “occurrence” because it was not an accident; it had to be intentional or it could not have happened, and because of the exclusion, the insurance policy did not cover the claim at all. The woman bringing the claim obviously didn’t accuse the spa owners of touching her; she accused them of being careless in hiring and supervising the masseur. It was also obvious that the spa owners never intended this to happen. New York’s highest court ruled that this was an “accident” and therefore it was also an “occurrence” because it was clearly not expected or intended from the standpoint of the insured. Read More
Interestingly, in coverage disputes in these cases, the child bringing the claim will usually join with the church, institution, or business being sued, against the insurance company, because they both want the claim to be defended and paid by the insurance company. The coverage issues will usually be fought out in a separate lawsuit, called a “declaratory judgment” action2, or in lawyer’s parlance, “DJ” for short. The parties to a lawsuit often want a decision on the coverage issues before they go forward in the lawsuit for the underlying claim, particularly before they talk about settlement. There are lawyers who do nothing but these insurance coverage disputes, which are very important to many people and businesses in many different contexts. In large commercial casualty losses, the way a few words in the policy are interpreted can make a difference of many millions of dollars.
How Will This Play Out Under the New NY Law Which Now Allows Lawsuits in Older Cases?
Under the new law just passed in New York3, people will now be allowed to sue any institution or organization for any claim of sexual abuse against a minor, no matter when it happened, for a one year period called a “window”. After the explosion of sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Church, insurance companies started writing the policy exclusions much more carefully, but because we will now be dealing with sexual abuse that occurred so many years ago, everyone will have to get the old policies of insurance out and see what they say. Read More
What if the Sexual Assault Occurred Over a Period of Years or There are Different Insurance Policies Involved?
This creates another whole slew of different questions, because the courts have to decide, for example, if abuse by the same priest over a period of years was one “occurrence”, one occurrence for the purposes of the policy period, or if each act was a separate “occurrence”. This can be very important because insurance companies have to pay certain amounts “per occurrence” and a certain maximum over the period of the policy. The church may also have bought its insurance coverage from different insurance companies over the period of the abuse, and these companies often fight amongst themselves over who has to pay and how much. The church may also have an “SIR” (self-insured retention) which is actually a very large deductible. This means that the church will have to pay the full amount of that deductible for each “occurrence”4 before the insurance company has to pay anything. These issues are too complex for the scope of this article, but if you have a case like this, you should choose an attorney who is closely managing the insurance coverage issues, as well as pursuing your claim against the church in court to make sure that you actually get paid after all the smoke clears – Remember that a huge verdict doesn’t mean anything if it can’t be collected.
 RJC Realty Holding Corp. v. Republic Franklin Ins. Co., (2004) 2 N.Y. 3d 158.
 In New York State court, Civil Practice Law and Rules § 3001, in federal practice, 28 U.S.C. § 2201 and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 57.
 Child Victim’s Act, the civil statute of limitations is extended under CPLR § 214(g).
 The leading case in New York on this point is Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. National Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA., (2013) 969 N.Y.S.2d 808, 21 N.Y.3d 139, and there is an excellent article that discussed this in greater depth in the NY Law Journal, 3/20/19, p. 4 by Altschiler and Kardisch.
Why Hero Images and Minimalistic Designs Are Working
Hero images look like they are here to stay and for good reason. As more and more consumers are searching the web through mobile devices, designs need to be simple and direct. Scrolling is in, and putting “everything above the fold” is out. In fact, cramming everything into the area “above the fold” is long gone.
What Is a Hero Image?
Hero images are large images used on home pages. A hero image is an image with a message. It grabs attention. It offers value. It offers a solution. It instantly provides clarity about what the website is offering.
Why Do Hero Images Work?
They work because you only have a moment to grab the viewer’s attention. If you don’t, the viewer will click away to another website.
Research studies show that viewers quickly form an opinion about a web page based on visual appeal. How quickly? Within 50 milliseconds!
The second the viewer looks at your hero image, the image acts as branding for the site. Images can evoke appeal, certain emotions, customer trust or peak interest. And they do all this in an instant.
You have no doubt heard the expression “less is more.” The trend today is to tell a story with pictures and content, but include space in the layout so the viewer doesn’t experience information overload.
The following is a stunning site that does just that: Twin Dolphin
What type of hero image is in your world of imagination?
Web Perseverance is an Internet marketing company that helps businesses create strategic and productive marketing on the web.
Attorney Advertising is subject to numerous rules set by the American Bar Association (ABA) and the New York State Bar Association. The New York Rules of Professional Conduct have sections that specifically address web design and online marketing.
While the New York Rules of Professional Conduct is broad in scope, our team at Web Perseverance is familiar with the particular rules that apply to web marketing. We have provided Internet marketing for many law firms during the early stages of web marketing and up to the present.
We ensure that all of the content and design for any website we create is pre-approved by the lawyer before launching the website. We have incorporated this practice into our web design based on the following New York Rules of Professional Conduct:
Under NY Rules 7.1 (k), attorneys or the law firm must pre-approve all advertisements.
Pre-approval applies to advertising in websites, blogs, chat rooms, list servers, emails, instant messaging, banner advertisements, pop-up advertisements, pop-under advertisements, search engines and other internet-related presence. [Rule 1.0(c)]
Restrictions for Factually Supported Statements
You have possibly seen attorney websites that claim to be the top in their field or tout the idea that they are better at obtaining compensation for clients than other law firms. They use superlatives like “the top,” “the most,” “the most prestigious,” or other marketing language that businesses can get away with in other industries. However this type of marketing promotion can get law firms in trouble in the legal profession.
The following rule specifically prohibits this type of advertising:
 Descriptions of characteristics of the lawyer or law firm that are not comparative and do not involve results obtained are permissible even though they cannot be factually supported. Such statements are understood to be general descriptions and not claims about quality, and would not be likely to mislead potential clients. Accordingly, a law firm could advertise that it is “Hard-Working,” “Dedicated,” or “Compassionate” without the necessity to provide factual support for such subjective claims. On the other hand, descriptions of characteristics of the law firm that compare its services with those of other law firms and that are not susceptible of being factually supported could be misleading to potential clients. Accordingly, a lawyer may not advertise that the lawyer is the “Best,” “Most Experienced,” or “Hardest Working.” Similarly, some claims that involve results obtained are not susceptible of being factually supported and could be misleading to potential clients. Accordingly, a law firm may not advertise that it will obtain “Big $$$,” “Most Money,” or “We Win Big.” (New York Rules of Professional Conduct, Page 173, section 12)
We look out for our clients’ interests and work diligently to provide marketing that is appropriate for the client’s industry. We share your objectives to promote and expand your businesses and will work closely with you to create a presence on the web that is right for your business.
Web Perseverance is an Internet marketing company that helps businesses create strategic and productive marketing on the web.
How Did Facebook Get Sued Successfully under the Housing Discrimination Laws without even Being a Landlord?
By passing a law called the CDA1, Congress decided to protect interactive computer services from any liability from material posted by others to promote open vibrant free expression on the internet. Because of this law, a company like Facebook can’t be sued for an ad posted by somebody else in the same way a traditional newspaper can. Was this just a frivolous lawsuit?
No. – Facebook settled the case, agreeing to make some significant changes in its advertising practices, to pay several million in fees and in advertising credit, and agreeing, at least to some extent, to police its advertising of certain things, which it never previously had any legal obligation to do.
So How Could Facebook Ever Be Liable for its Advertising Content Despite being Legally Protected by this Federal Law?
Certain public interest fair housing groups sued2 Facebook for violations of the Fair Housing Act, over discriminatory ads for real estate sales and apartment rentals in New York City. Here’s how: When any real estate agent posted an ad on Facebook, it had a choice of whether to include or exclude certain groups of people. For example, if the real estate agent knew that the landlord didn’t want any young children in the building, it had the option of excluding those people with children of any given age from the target group. When buying ads, advertisers decide to include, or exclude, certain groups from their intended target audience. This includes Facebook ads that are “boosted’ or will be shown to certain other Facebook users. The idea for this lawsuit came from ProPublica’s article detailing how Facebook’s online platform effectively enabled advertisers to exclude blacks, Hispanics and other ethnic groups from receiving their ads. Here’s what the portal actually allowed real estate agents to do:
In fact, the groups that brought the lawsuit placed an ad for a fictitious apartment and requested that African Americans and Hispanics be excluded. Facebook approved the ad and ran it. The people the advertiser didn’t want to rent to would simply never see their ad; it offered surgically accurate advertising placement that the unwanted customers would never see.
How is Facebook able to target its advertisements so precisely? Read More
Is it Legal for Facebook to Collect all this Information About You Without Even Giving You a Way to Opt Out?
Yes – Absolutely. Read More
What Did the Facebook Settlement Accomplish?
Under the terms of the settlement, a separate portal is now required to advertise for HEC (Housing, Employment or Credit) which will basically not give advertisers the option to exclude based on gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, like they do in the example above. Advertisers will be asked if they are advertising for housing or employment, and if so, their targeting options will be limited. Zip code targeting has also been eliminated and replaced by a minimum geographical radius of 15 miles. The settlement will, however, continue to allow advertisers to discriminate against anyone they like as long as the ad is not for something involving housing, employment or credit.
 Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230(a)
 Nat’l Fair Housing Alliance, et al. v. Facebook, Inc., SDNY 18-cv-02689, filed March 27, 2018.
What Legal Requirements Exist for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death is a legal term that indicates a party’s unlawful actions caused a death to occur. Obviously, not every death is a wrongful death. What makes a death wrongful in the eyes of New York State law?
What Elements Are Necessary for a NY Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
To bring a wrongful death case in New York, the following elements are necessary:
- An individual died (New York State law does not recognize a fetus that dies before birth as an individual, even if a wrongful act killed the fetus)
- The person died as a result of another’s wrongful act, neglect or failure to fulfill a legal obligation
- If the person had lived, he or she would have been able to take legal action against the person who was responsible for the harm
- The person who died must be survived by one or more persons who suffered loss as a result of the death
- Damages exist that can be recovered by the estate
- The court has assigned a personal representative, and that person is the only one who can file the lawsuit on behalf of the surviving beneficiaries (exception below)
- When a personal representatives refuses to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family may have an administrator appointed to prosecute the wrongful death on their behalf
If a criminal action was brought against the same defendant with regards to the wrongful death, the personal representative has at least one year from the termination of the criminal action to file a wrongful death lawsuit even if the two year statute of limitations has expired or if there is less than a year remaining before the statue would expire.
(Reference: New York Estates Powers and Trusts Law, Article 5, Part 4 Rights of Members of Family Resulting from Wrongful Act, Neglect or Default Causing Death of Decedent)
At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we offer a free initial consultation to talk about wrongful death and determine whether grounds exist to pursue a lawsuit.
Two Weeks of Employee Paid Vacation
A paid vacation bill is under consideration and Mayor De Blasio has made a pledge to support the bill. It appears the NYC Earned Safe and Sick Time Act will serve as a model for the new paid vacation bill.
The National Law Review stated that no other city or state in the nation has a law like this. New York City would be the first if the law passes.
The paid vacation bill would apply to private sector employers, who have at least five employees, and the requirement to receive the benefit is that the employees must work at least 80 hours a year.
What Are the Requirements of the Earned Safe and Sick Leave Law?
New York City’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law has the following provisions:
- Employers with five or more employees, who work more than 80 hours per calendar year in NYC, must provide paid safe and sick leave to employees.
- Safe and sick leave accrues at a rate of one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 40 hours per calendar year.
- Accrual begins on the employee’s first day of employment
- Employees can begin using accrued leave 120 days after their first day of work
- Employers with fewer than five employees must provide unpaid safe and sick leave.
Paid Family Leave, Another Paid Time-Off Benefit in NY
In addition to the above law, New York also has the new Paid Family Leave benefit, which was passed into law. This paid time off enables employees who are sick, have a sick family member or who have a newborn baby to take paid time off from work. As of 2019, paid family leave is now 10 weeks (previously it was eight weeks) and the average weekly wage for the leave has increased from 50 to 55 percent.
At Stephen Hans & Associates, we work with employers to help them understand and comply with employment laws and deal with employment issues.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim after a Construction Site Accident
It’s common knowledge that working on a construction site is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. You can suffer serious injury in a fall, from a falling object, in a construction site motor vehicle accident, from a dangerous or defective tool or machine, or because of the carelessness or negligence of a co-worker. Fortunately, when you have been hurt on a construction job in New York, you have a right to seek benefits under the state’s workers’ compensation laws.
Though the workers’ compensation system may seem pretty straightforward, many legitimate claims are initially rejected by workers’ compensation insurance companies. It’s in your best interests to retain experienced legal counsel as soon as possible, so that you get the benefits you need and deserve in a timely manner.
There are only two prerequisites to qualifying for workers’ compensation benefits—you must have been hurt and the injury must have occurred during the course of your employment. Injuries suffered on breaks are generally covered, as are injuries sustained while traveling for work. It’s a fairly common practice for general contractors to use undocumented workers or pay workers “under the table.” There’s no requirement that you be on a company’s payroll to recover workers’ compensation benefits.
It’s also important to understand that, while you have the right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits, you may also have the right to file a civil lawsuit and seek damages. The workers’ compensation laws address only the liability of your employer or a co-worker. If your injury was caused by an unrelated third party—the manufacturer of a defective tool or the driver of a vehicle, for instance—you may be able to simultaneously file a workers’ compensation claim and a “third-party” action in civil court.
To learn more about your basic rights under the New York workers’ compensation laws, contact our office online or call us at 718-804-5406.
Workers’ Compensation and Construction Site Injuries
Experienced NYC | Queens | Bronx | Brooklyn Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we provide comprehensive counsel to people with workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Because of our reputation for effective advocacy, many of our new clients come to us as referrals from clients and other lawyers.
To learn more about the full scope of our practice, see our construction site injuries page.
Pyrros & Serres LLP
Bronx | NYC | Brooklyn | Queens Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
Let’s face it, the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana in New York State appears a foregone conclusion. Both the state Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo are negotiating whether to include the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state budget for the fiscal year that starts April 1st. However, keep in mind that license to fire up that joint would not go into effect, at the earliest, until the following year in April of 2020, when New York would officially join the 10 other states that have already legalized recreational marijuana use.
Governor Andres Cuomo’s proposal for the legalization of recreational marijuana use essentially condenses into the following agenda:
- Ban marijuana sales to anyone under the age of 21
- Establish separate licensing programs for marijuana growers, distributors and retailers, with a corresponding ban on growers also opening retail locations
- Create a new state office, The Office of Cannabis Management, to regulate the drug and create a program to review and seal past marijuana convictions
- Allow counties and large cities in New York to ban marijuana sales within their boundaries
- Impose a 20 percent state tax and 2 percent local tax on the sale of marijuana from wholesalers and retailers, plus a per-gram tax to be imposed solely on growers
- Provide preferences and incentives to minorities and women who intend to establish retail sales locations.
Nevertheless, the debate rages on about how far reaching the effects will be within the school environment, impaired driving and ultimately, the workplace.
Along that vein, it is important for all New Yorkers to be aware of the risks of showing up to work under the influence of marijuana. As you know, if you show up to work under the influence of alcohol, and your employer has a substance abuse policy in their handbook, then you risk a disciplinary write-up at best, and termination at worst. The same rules apply to employee’s use of recreational marijuana. If you show up to work high, or light up outside your employer’s premises, employees run the same risks as with alcohol use. Certainly, it is a fine line to tread as there are no uniformly established THC levels that your employer can test to determine an employee’s level of impairment. Employers would therefore be given free license to make subjective judgments as to an employee’s level of impairment based upon smell, speech patterns, eye movement and dilation, delayed reactions, emotional state, short-term memory problems, among other physical symptomology.
It is a slippery slope at best, but an employer is within their rights to terminate employees with substance abuse violations. This is especially so in occupations involving physical labor and the use of a motor vehicle including drivers, delivery companies, waiters, warehouse workers, trades and any employees in the service industry.
The Van De Water Law Firm stands ready to serve you with respect to any employment issue, and our initial consultation is always free.
Luke Perry dying of a massive stroke shocked many people. He was a beloved actor known for his roles in 90210 and more recently in the series Riverdale. It is hard to believe someone at the age of 52 would die of a stroke, especially when no outward cause seemed to exist.
While strokes are more prevalent among seniors, according to WebMD, as many as 10% of all strokes in the United States happen to people under the age of 45. High blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and cigarette smoking are often risk factors for strokes in younger people. Also it is vital to eliminate stress and hostility in your life, because research shows these factors can raise blood pressure.
Yet, these factors also put people of any age at risk.
Take Care of Your Health
While none of the usual risk factors seemed apparent in the death of Luke Perry, his untimely death has made people more aware of their health. Busy business people are often in a rush and do not take care of themselves. All too often high demands lead to putting yourself last and your health can suffer for it. It’s wise to live a healthy lifestyle.
Stroke Prevention — Actions You Can Take
According to Harvard Medical School, the following actions can help you avoid a stroke:
- Quit smoking. Smoking thickens the blood and increases plaque buildup in the arteries. These two factors make smokers more prone to developing blood clots, which is what causes strokes.
- Lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the greatest contributor but there are ways of treating high blood pressure. Doctors suggest reducing salt intake, avoiding high cholesterol foods, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and getting exercise to lower blood pressure. Also, smokers should quit smoking.
Quit smoking. Smoking thickens the blood and increases plaque buildup in the arteries. These two factors make smokers more prone to developing blood clots, which is what causes strokes.
Lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is the greatest contributor but there are ways of treating high blood pressure. Doctors suggest reducing salt intake, avoiding high cholesterol foods, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and getting exercise to lower blood pressure. Also, smokers should quit smoking.
- Lose weight. Obesity is often related to high blood pressure and diabetes, and these two factors alone can put someone at risk. The best way to lose weight is to reduce calorie intake and increase exercise.
- Drink only in moderation. Drinking one alcoholic beverage a day may lower risk, but drinking two or more drinks a day increases the risk. Wine should be the first choice of alcohol because it contains a substance thought to protect the heart and brain. Beverage sizes would be five ounces for a glass of wine, a 12-ounce beer and a 1.5 ounce glass of hard liquor.
- Exercise. Moderate exercise at least five days a week helps reduce blood pressure and keeps you fit. The recommended exercise time is 30 minutes a day. If you can’t do it in one stretch, you can divide the time into 10 or 15-minute intervals.
- Treat physical conditions. If you have diabetes, you should receive treatment. Diabetes can harm blood vessels, which can eventually put you at risk for blood clots. Atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat) is also very important to treat because it can lead to blood clots.
Web Perseverance is an Internet marketing company that helps businesses create resourceful and productive marketing strategies on the web.
Author: Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP
How Medication Errors in Nursing Can Compromise Patient Safety
Medication errors in nursing homes are medical errors, and they are common enough that the medical field has set an error rate.
According to the Nursing Home Abuse Guide website, nursing home facilities must have medication error rates that are below five percent.
Medical Error Definition: What Is a Medication Error?
Medication errors are inaccuracies made during medication preparation or administration. Errors either fail to follow a doctor’s order, pharmaceutical manufacturing instructions or the medical field’s accepted standards for the particular medicine’s use.
Typically, a nurse or nurse staff member will administer medication through a med pass, which means pushing a cart from resident to resident to dispense the medication. Depending on the state’s requirements, an unlicensed nursing staff member may be able to dispense medication under a nurse’s general supervision. However, some states have stricter regulations, and nurses must directly dispense the medication.
What Are Some Medication Error Examples?
The following examples are the ways that administering medication can result in error:
- Slicing or crushing medication that should not be divided or crushed. Capsules, tablets or other medications often have “do not crush” instructions.
- Failing to provide adequate fluid with medications. Often medicines come with instructions that patients should take it with a required amount of fluid. Not drinking enough fluid can sometimes harm the patient.
- Failing to take sufficient food or antacids. Some medicines must be taken with food. Others require patients to take an antacid before taking the medicine. Proper fluids, food and antacids instructions should be followed.
- Failure to shake or mix the medication. When a staff member doesn’t shake or mix the medicine, the patient may be at risk for receiving too much or too little of the medication. For example, insulin must be mixed without air bubbles prior to administering it.
- Not following standard protocols for medications uses with ENFs (enteral nutritional formulas). The elderly often drink an ENF to supplement nutrition or when they are unable to eat very well. Specific guidelines and protocols exist for administering medication with ENFs. Patients may experience harm when staff members fail to follow proper guidelines.
Of course, more obvious medication errors would involve dispensing the wrong medication, giving the wrong dosage or failing to administer the medication to the patient at all.
If your loved one was harmed due to a medication error, we hope this information helps you to recognize it and get in touch with us.
Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP has extensive experience handling forms of medical malpractice such as medication errors in nursing homes. By discussing your situation in a free consultation, you can find out about the prospects of pursuing legal action.
We Are New York’s
PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS
Our Family Serving Yours for Over 65 Years