News

Appellate Practice Success Highlighted (2013 – 2014)

October 24, 2014

October 17, 2014: Firm Sets Precedent to be Followed by Lawyers Statewide:
This year’s roundup by the New York Academy of Trial Lawyers, a series of continuing legal education lectures throughout the state, entitled “2014 Annual Update: Precedents and Statutes for Personal Injury Litigators” contains no fewer than five cases in which our Appellate Practice Team, headed by Robert G. Vizza, won significant decisions for our clients in areas of medical malpractice and general liability litigation.

September 17, 2014 Continued Successes in Appellate Practice:
Robert G. Vizza briefed and successfully argued a case in the Appellate Division, Second Department which agreed that the case against our client, a major municipal hospital, was properly dismissed where the plaintiff’s expert missed the distinction between a superficial skin infection and a more serious internal surgical complication.  Joseph M. O’Connor wrote the successful motion for summary judgment in the trial court.

September 3, 2014 Continued Successes in Appellate Practice:
The Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court, has agreed to hear an appeal which will set state-wide precedent setting the scope of duty on the part of a hospital.  The Appellate Division, Second Department recently affirmed an order by the trial court dismissing a case brought by a motorist against a hospital.  The motorist sought to recover damages injuries he suffered in an automobile accident with another driver who was a patient of the hospital, but the court dismissed the lawsuit, agreeing with our position that the hospital did not owe a legal duty to anyone outside the physician-patient relationship.  Robert. J. Betz obtained the dismissal from the trial court.  Robert G. Vizza argued the appeal in the Appellate Division and will be arguing the case to the Court of Appeals.

June 4, 2014 and January 7, 2014:  Two Successful Appeals on the Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur:
A leading search engine for legal scholars has put two of the firm’s cases at the top of the list on the issue of whether the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (“the thing speaks for itself”) applies in medical malpractice cases.

Robert G. Vizza briefed and successfully argued a case before the Appellate Division, Second Department, who agreed that the patient suing a hospital, a rehab facility, and a home nursing service could not rely on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur because she could not identify who was allegedly negligent or when the injury supposedly occurred.

The same legal issue arose in a separate case in the Appellate Division, First Department, where Mr. Vizza successfully argued that the plaintiff could not hold a major teaching hospital liable for a fatal infection without proof of a specific act of negligence on the part of the health care providers.  Because the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur was not available, the matter was properly dismissed.

July 16, 2014 Continued Successes in Appellate Practice:
The Appellate Practice group obtained a favorable decision from the Division, Second Department on behalf of a nursing home.  The Court dismissed the lawsuit brought on behalf of an elderly patient.  The court agreed with the theory of defense, dismissing both medical malpractice and Public Health Law claims on the grounds that the nursing home staff took every reasonable precaution for the patient’s safety.  Anna Hock wrote the summary judgment motion which was granted by the trial court.  Patricia D’Alvia wrote the appellate brief with an analysis of thousands of pages of nursing home records.  Robert G. Vizza argued the appeal.

July 31, 2013 Continued Successes in Appellate Practice:
Our Appellate Practice team successfully opposed an appeal to the Appellate Division, Second Department, from a case that was dismissed by the trial court.  Plaintiff sought to recover for personal injuries sustained in a fall, but the court agreed that the evidence showed that any alleged defect in the sidewalk was trivial and the property owner was not liable.  Robert G. Vizza wrote the summary judgment motion papers in the trial court and argued the appeal.  Patricia D’Alvia wrote the appellate brief.

December 26, 2013 Unanimous decision from the Appellate Division, Second Department in favor a BMM’s client:
The plaintiff, a patient in a psychiatric unit of a hospital, alleged that she was sexually assaulted by another patient.  The court agreed that the hospital staff carried out its obligations to protect the patient’s safety and well-being so there could be no lawsuit for negligence, and since the psychiatric unit’s staff appropriately assessed the patient’s need for supervision while respecting her privacy and autonomy, there could be no claims for medical malpractice. Robert. G. Vizza briefed and argued the appeal.

November 27, 2013 Continued Successes in Appellate Practice:
Robert G. Vizza successfully argued an appeal with a brief written by Patricia A. D’Alvia, where the Appellate Division, Second Department held that a municipal employer did not have an obligation under the collective bargaining agreement to provide any additional disciplinary hearings for insubordination, laying the groundwork to deny the terminated employees claims for back-pay.

March 20, 2013 Continued Successes in Appellate Practice:
Robert G. Vizza successfully argued an appeal with a brief written by a member of his team, in which the Appellate Division, Second Department agreed that a hospital was not liable for a delay in diagnosis where the plaintiff could not establish that the alleged malpractice caused any injury.  The court also noted that the experts retained by the defense team Bartlett, McDonough, & Monaghan were far more qualified to offer a relevant opinion than the expert chosen by plaintiff.

*          Attorney advertising:  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.