One of the many strengths of Trief & Olk is its ability to handle complex litigation involving issues that require inventive solutions. One way you can see the diversity and complexity of our cases is to view some of our reported cases as follows:
- Agrawal v Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 2011 NY Slip Op 7928, 932 N.Y.S.2d 72 (1st Dep’t 2011). An international family was denied payment of two life insurance policies totaling $1,500,000 from Metropolitan Life Insurance Company after the death of the family matriarch. Met Life declined to pay the benefits by claiming that the decedent misrepresented her net worth when applying for the policy. Once litigation began, the insurer claimed there were additional medical misrepresentations in the application. After a lower court found in favor of the insurer based on the additional claims of misrepresentations and dismissed the case, Trief & Olk was able to successfully overturn the lower Court’s decision and was granted summary judgment for the full amount of the policies, $1,500,000. The Appellate Court held that “Defendant’s failure to assert the other defenses in its initial repudiation constitutes a waiver of those defenses for purpose of denying liability under the policies.”United Pickle Products Corp. v. Prayer Temple Community Church, 43 A.D.3d 307, 843 N.Y.S.2d 1 (1st Dept. 2007). The Court reversed a decision of the lower court and granted our client adverse possession of certain real estate.
- Goldman v. Simon Property Group, Inc., 31 A.D.3d 382, 818 N.Y.S.2d 245 (2d Dept. 2006). In an action brought on behalf of a class of holders of gift cards who were charged a fee because the cards were not used within six months of purchase, the lower court dismissed the class action on the grounds that it was preempted under federal law. On appeal, we were able to get the lower court reversed and the action reinstated.
- Burke v. Steinmann, 2004 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8930 (S.D.N.Y. 2004). We were able to obtain summary judgment for our client, who had entered into agreements to purchase a restaurant and assume managerial and operational control of the restaurant while awaiting approval of the purchase. The owners of the restaurant, however, refused to go ahead with the purchase and terminated our client. The court awarded compensation as a manager under the management agreement and rejected claims by the owners that it was entitled to damages for our client’s handling of the restaurant.
- Golia v. The Leslie Fay Co., Inc., 2003 U.S. Dist. Lexis 13794 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). In an age discrimination case, the court found that our clients had demonstrated “ample” evidence for a factfinder to determine that they were victims of discrimination and imposed sanctions on the defendant for the destruction of evidence.
- Freeman v. Complex Computing, Inc., 119 F.3d 1044 (2d Cir. 1997), and 979 F. Supp. 257 (S.D.N.Y. 1997). In this action, we were able to “pierce the corporate veil” and require the principal of the defendant corporation to arbitrate a dispute with a former employee, not simply the corporation itself.
- Micro Korea Co., Ltd. v. Big Joy Brothers Co., Ltd., 1994 U.S. Dist. Lexis 8414 (S.D.N.Y. 1994). We were able to win summary judgment in a contract dispute in which the defendant claimed that there were oral agreements but the court held that any such oral agreement was unenforceable under New York law.
- Green v. Royal Indemnity Co., 1994 U.S. Dist. Lexis 7948 (S.D.N.Y. 1994). We were able to obtain a judgment for the family of a man killed when the wheels of a tractor trailer broke loose and struck the van driven by the decedent. The insurance company disclaimed coverage, but because the tractor trailer had a federal endorsement, we were able to collect against the insurance company.
- Total Spectrum Manufacturing, Inc. v. Frassetto, 172 A.D.2d 747, 569 N.Y.S.2d 133 (2d Dept. 1991) and 168 A.D.2d 552, 562 N.Y.S.2d 773 (2d Dept. 1990). In two disputes between a commercial tenant who had an exclusive option to purchase the premise and its landlord, we were able to obtain an order that the landlord breached its contract with the tenant by giving another defendant an option to renew its lease, contrary to its agreement with our client. We also obtained an order which was affirmed on appeal granting our client a “Yellowstone Injunction” barring the landlord from evicting our client and allowing it to cure a default under the lease, if any.
- Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc. v. Young Astronaut Council, 747 F. Supp. 945 (S.D.N.Y. 1990). We tried an action before Judge Robert L. Carter in which Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc., our client, won a judgment against the Young Astronaut Council for breach of contract which included attorneys’ fees as well as the sums due under the contract.
PERSONAL INJURY CASES
- Almonte v. Capco Enterprises, Inc., Docket No. A-3738-06T23738-06T2 (N.J. App. Div. 2008). The lower court dismissed the case on the grounds that this products liability and negligence action should be brought in New York, where the accident happened. On appeal, we obtained an order reversing the lower court and permitting the case to remain in New Jersey while its New Jersey connections were explored.
- Salgero v. Ingersoll-Rand Co., Ltd., Docket No. A-1535-06T21535-06T2 (N.J. App. Div. 2007). Our client was injured while working on a machine at a plant owned by another employer whose employee had removed a guard needed for the machine to operate safely. In the lower court, the case was dismissed because our client had filed for workers’ compensation, naming both his actual employer and, in the alternative, the owner of the plant because of his desperate need for medical care. On appeal, the Appellate Division reversed the lower court, found that the workers’ compensation filing and a subsequent order of that court did not prevent him from arguing that the owner of the plant was not his employer.
- Mann v. Cooper Tire Co., 33 A.D.3d 24, 816 N.Y.S.2d 45 (1st Dept. 2006), and 306 A.D.2d 23, 761 N.Y.S.2d 635 (1st Dept. 2003). We prevailed on two separate appeals in this action brought to recover for injuries suffered by a family as a result of a single car accident in Quebec when tread on a tire separated. In the first appeal, the defendants tried to have the case dismissed, claiming that Quebec law applied. After defendants’ attempt was unsuccessful, we sought to compel information and documents which defendants refused to produce, claiming that it was a trade secret and irrelevant. In a rare blistering opinion, the Court blasted defendants and awarded our clients the information and documents they requested.
- Surdo v. Albany Collision Supply, Inc., 8 A.D.3d 655, 779 N.Y.S.2d 544 (2d Dept. 2004). Our client suffered injuries to his eye when parts of a grinding disk struck him. The lower court dismissed the case because he was not wearing his safety glasses at the time of the accident. We were able to get the lower court’s dismissal of the case reversed and demonstrate that it was for the jury, not the court, to determine whether the defendant was the manufacturer of the product which injured our client and whether the failure to wear safety glasses prevented any recovery.
- Kalam v. K-Metal Fabrications, Inc., 286 A.D.2d 603, 730 N.Y.S.2d 299 (1st Dept. 2001). The lower court refused to allow the jury to be charged that there could be more than one cause of an accident. On appeal, however, we were able to convince the Appellate Court that the lower court had erred and obtained a new trial for our client.
- Ren v. Professional Steam-Cleaning, Inc., 271 A.D.2d 602, 706 N.Y.S.2d 169 (2d Dept. 2000). Our client was injured by a fall from a ladder. When we attempted to inspect the lawyer, the defendant first refused to produce it and then agreed to produce it. At the time of the inspection, however, the ladder had mysteriously disappeared. On appeal, the court ordered that the defendant could not present any evidence which contradicted our client’s testimony regarding the condition of the ladder.
- Mudy v. Moore Business Forms, Inc., 262 A.D.2d 375, 689 N.Y.S.2d 665 (2d Dept. 1999). After trial and this appeal, our client obtained a judgment in his favor against a company which reinstalled and reassembled a press which lacked guards, resulting in injury to our client.
- Rosado v. Royal-Pak Systems, Inc., 1999 U.S. Dist. Lexis 2161 (S.D.N.Y. 1999). In a products liability case involving the amputation of our client’s right hand by a trash compactor at work, we were able to prevail on a claim that the defendants were not responsible for the accident. We were able to defeat the claim by one of the defendants that it was not a “successor” to the manufacturer and had no liability for the manufacturer’s acts.
- Stryker v. Jericho Union Free School District, 244 A.D.2d 330, 663 N.Y.S.2d 868 (2d Dept. 1997). A child suffered the loss of an eye during a stickball game when he was struck in the eye with a bat which had slipped from the hands of the batter. The school district attempted to have the case dismissed on the ground that our client assumed the risk of playing, but we were able to defeat this attempt by showing that the supervising teacher failed to protect the child by placing him and other students behind a protective fence.
- Leon v. J & M Peppe Realty Corp., 190 A.D.2d 400, 596 N.Y.S.2d 380 (1st Dept. 1993). Our client suffered partial amputation of three fingers while doing construction work when a circular saw kicked back. The circular saw was not the proper equipment for the job. The case, decided just before the Court of Appeals reached a contrary ruling in another case, found that there was no obligation under the Labor Law to cite to a specific regulation of the Industrial Code in order to prevail. The court also rejected the defendants’ claim that our client assumed the risk of injury.