VBPNP Again Recognized by Best Companies to Work for in New York

By | VBPNP In the News

Vigorito, Barker, Patterson, Nichols & Porter, LLP is very proud to announce that the firm was again recognized by Best Companies to Work for in New York. The annual list of the 2021 Best Companies To Work For In New York was created by the New York State Society for Human Resource Management (NYS-SHRM) and Best Companies Group.

This statewide survey and awards program is designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in New York, benefiting the state’s economy, its workforce and businesses. Companies from across the state entered the two-part survey process to determine the Best Companies To Work For In New York. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. The second part consisted of an anonymous employee survey to measure their experience. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final rankings. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process in New York and also analyzed the data and used their expertise to determine the final rankings.

Nineteen VBPNP Attorneys Recognized as Super Lawyers in 2021

By | VBPNP In the News

VBPNP is very proud to announce that 19 of our attorneys have been recognized by the prestigious Super Lawyers®, a rating service which identifies those attorneys who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. No more than five percent of lawyers from a given state are selected. The following attorneys have been recognized as Super Lawyers in 2021:

  • Alfred P. Vigorito
  • John W. Barker
  • Gary W. Patterson, Jr.
  • Jeffrey R. Nichols
  • Mamie Stathatos-Fulgieri
  • Scott Singer
  • Gregg Weinstock
  • Kiki Chrisomallides
  • Dylan Braverman
  • Kenneth J. Burford
  • Charles K. Faillace
  • Anna I. Hock
  • Guy A. Lawrence
  • Neil Mascolo, Jr.
  • Adonaid C. Medina

The following attorneys were recognized as Rising Stars:

  • Lindsey Brown
  • Danielle Hansen
  • Ruth L. Tisdale
  • Nicole Wittman

Tammy Trees Wins Summary Judgment Motion in Medical Malpractice Case

By | VBPNP In the News

Tammy A. Trees secured a summary judgment dismissal in a matter venued in Suffolk County Supreme Court involving a medical malpractice lawsuit against a radiologist.  This dismissal was granted prior to any depositions having been conducted.

Plaintiff’s decedent was a then 39-year-old married female with children who went to her primary medical physician with complaints of headaches for which she was referred for an MRI of the brain without contrast.  The MRI of the brain was read by our client, a radiologist, as unremarkable aside from sinusitis.  Seven months later, plaintiff’s decedent was diagnosed with metastatic brain cancer, which ultimately led to her death.  Plaintiff claimed that our client negligently failed to use contrast in performing the MRI of the brain and failed to diagnose abnormal growths/tumors, leading to metastasis and death.

Ms. Trees argued that our client made the correct diagnosis and that the images did not reveal evidence of malignancy.  She further argued that it was not the duty of the radiologist to determine whether an MRI should be performed with or without contrast, citing case law directly on point.  An expert affirmation was submitted in support, opining that the role of the radiologist is limited to interpreting the study as ordered by the referring physician and correctly documenting the findings.

In an order dated March 23, 2021, Justice George Nolan granted Ms. Trees’ motion for summary judgment.  The Judge found that although physicians owe a general duty of care to their patients, that duty may be limited to those medical functions undertaken by the physician and relied on by the patient.  The question of whether a physician owed a duty to the plaintiff is a question for the court and is not an appropriate subject for expert opinion.  Judge Nolan found that the radiologist assumed the limited role of taking images, interpreting the images, and documenting their findings pursuant to the direction of the plaintiff’s decedent’s primary care physician.  The radiologist did not assume a general duty of care to schedule or urge further testing or diagnose plaintiff’s brain cancer.  As such, Judge Nolan dismissed the Complaint against the radiologist.

Nicole Salerno Wins Summary Judgment Motion in a Professional Negligence Case

By | VBPNP In the News

Associate Nicole C. Salerno wins summary judgment dismissal of a plaintiff’s Complaint in a professional negligence matter venued in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, in Hudson County. Plaintiffs, beneficiaries of an estate, were seeking the equitable relief of unwinding two bona fide conveyances of title. She handled the matter under the supervision of partner Gregg Weinstock.

Plaintiffs asserted the improper sale of certain property contrary to the Last Will and Testament of a certain decedent by the Executrix, as well as the professional negligence of title insurers and attorneys. Plaintiff specifically alleged that the title company involved in the second transfer of the property failed to exercise reasonable care in searching title and reviewing the Will prior to issuing a title commitment and policy.

 Judge Jeffrey Jablonski granted Mrs. Salerno’s motion for summary judgment dismissal of plaintiffs’ Complaint against the title company involved in the second conveyance of the property. The judge dismissed the plaintiffs’ Complaint based on that fact that the title company involved in the second conveyance of the property owed no duty to the beneficiaries of the estate. The judge further found that a title company’s liability is limited to the policy with its insured-buyer and that the company is not liable in tort for negligence in searching records, unless the title company agrees to conduct a search and provide the insured with an abstract of title, which was not alleged here. The judge further reasoned that the plaintiffs’ Complaint should be dismissed as a matter of law, because it  failed to allege any contractual argument against the title company involved in the second transfer of the property. Because plaintiffs were not an insured or intended third-party beneficiary under its contract with the underwriter, any contractual argument asserted lacked merit. 

Nicole Salerno Wins Summary Judgment Motion in Labor Law Case

By | VBPNP In the News

Nicole C. Salerno secured a summary judgment dismissal in a matter venued in the New York County Supreme Court involving New York Labor Law governing a construction accident. The case was complicated by the fact that plaintiff’s complaint was voluntarily dismissed and the New York State Insurance Fund (“SIF”) intervened to prosecute plaintiff’s claims in order to recover monies expended in connection with workers’ compensation benefits paid to plaintiff.

Plaintiff, a maintenance engineer and operator, sustained injuries while walking on a pier in New York, New York. He claimed that on the pier, a wooden plank failed beneath his feet, causing him to fall and sustain injuries. The accident occurred as the plaintiff was attempting to board a barge after it had been demobilized. Plaintiff asserted claims of negligence and violations of Labor Law §§200, 240 and 241(6) against multiple defendants, including a defendant subcontracted to install lighting into the existing railings located on the pier.

Judge Lynn R. Kotler granted Mrs. Salerno’s motion for summary judgment dismissal of plaintiff’s Complaint against said defendant subcontractor.  The Judge found that based on 33 USC § 933[b] and Pallas Shipping Agency, Ltd. v. Duris, 461 U.S.529 (1983), SIF lacked standing to maintain an action on behalf of the plaintiff. Honorable Kotler further concluded that SIF’s claims also lacked merit as a matter of law. The Judge dismissed the Labor 240 claim based on the fact that plaintiff did not fall from a height and his accident was not caused by a height differential. The Labor Law 241(6) claim was dismissed as plaintiff’s cited Industrial Code sections were determined to be either inapplicable or insufficient to sustain a 241(6) claim.  As for the negligence and the Labor Law 200 claims, Judge Kotler concluded that there was no testimony that defendant subcontractor exercised supervision and control over plaintiff nor advised him to access the barge in the manner he attempted. The Judge further found that there was no proof in the record demonstrating that defendant subcontractor had notice of the condition which caused plaintiff’s accident or that they caused it.

As such, Judge Kotler dismissed the negligence and Labor Law 200 claims against the defendant subcontractor. Additionally, defendant subcontractor’s motion to dismiss the cross-claims against them was also granted, as the Judge held that there was no basis to find that they contributed to plaintiff’s injuries or that they were otherwise contractually liable to any other defendant to defend or indemnify arising from plaintiff’s accident.

Adam Covitt Secures Defense Verdict

By | VBPNP In the News

After an extensive delay due to the ongoing global pandemic, Adam Covitt, with the assistance of Vasilios Lolis, secured a defense verdict on January 14, 2021. This followed a two-week medical malpractice trial in Suffolk County Supreme Court last spring. The case was a wrongful death matter of significant exposure.

The plaintiff had alleged a failure to diagnose colon cancer in a 51-year-old ulcerative colitis patient during several screening colonoscopies. Through successful cross-examination of the plaintiff’s experts, Mr. Covitt was able to establish that the alleged colonoscopy guidelines did not apply to this patient and that his client used appropriate clinical judgment in performance of the procedures. Moreover, he was able to establish flaws in the plaintiff’s expert’s calculation of the alleged tumor size and that the growth rate relied upon by the expert was completely speculative.

Rani Kulkarni joins VBPNP, LLP

By | VBPNP In the News

Vigorito, Barker, Patterson, Nichols & Porter, LLP is proud to announce that Rani Kulkarni  has joined the firm as an associate in the New York City office.  Prior to joining VBPNP Ms. Kulkarni was employed as a fourth year medical malpractice defense attorney at a reputable U.S. law firm in Melbourne, Australia. Ms. Kulkarni managed a high-volume practice representing hospitals, health care providers and insurers in the defense of medical malpractice claims. We are delighted to welcome Rani aboard.

VBPNP Again Rated As The Top Law Firm To Work For In New York State

By | VBPNP In the News

We are very proud to announce that VBPNP was named as the fourth best medium sized company to work for in the State of New York.  In addition, VBPNP once again finished as the highest ranked law firm of any size in New York State.  

Due to the ongoing COVID epidemic, this year’s announcement of The Best Companies to Work for in New York by the New York State Society for Human Resource Management and Best Companies Group was made during a virtual ceremony on August 5, 2020.  This program celebrates the state’s top employers, which have proven that they know what it takes to create an environment where people love to come to work.  

NYSSHRM/BCG uses a two-part process to determine New York’s best employers.  Part one of the assessment, which represents 25% of each company’s total score, consists of an analysis of each company’s benefits, policies, practices and other general data.  Part two of the assessment, representing 75% of each company’s total score, consists of a detailed anonymous survey of all company employees that evaluates the entirety of the employees’ workplace experience.  

Our commitment to providing a collaborative and rewarding work environment has served as the bedrock of the firm’s remarkable growth and success since we opened in January of 2015.  We could not have maintained this level of success without the hard work and dedication of each and every member of the VBPNP team.  While the firm has had many accomplishments over the years, to be recognized as the best law firm to work for in New York State remains our most gratifying honor.

VBPNP  Secures Summary Judgment Win on Behalf of Subcontractor Client

By | VBPNP In the News

On June 23, 2020, Thomas Jaffa, with the help of Neil Mascolo, secured summary judgment in favor of a subcontractor client in Supreme Court, Kings County.  Plaintiff alleged that he was caused to fall into an unprotected 3’ by 3’ opening at a jobsite.  Plaintiff claimed that the subcontractor client had created the opening and/or failed to properly cover the opening.  Mr. Jaffa argued that the evidence was clear in that the client did not create the opening in question, nor was it responsible for covering said opening.  In fact, another subcontractor was working in the opening at the time of the alleged accident.  Honorable Robin K. Sheares determined that Mr. Jaffa established entitlement to summary judgment.  The Court found that the client did not perform any work at or near the location of the alleged accident.  as such, the complaint and all cross-claims alleged were dismissed.  The Court’s dismissal averted the need for the client to continue with litigation and court appearance and prevented a costly trial from taking place.