July 27, 2011

Weitz & Luxenberg Wins $1.5 Million for Injured Construction Worker

Source:, March 6, 2007

Construction is a high-hazard occupation, accounting for the third-highest rate of death by injury, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. By law, employers are bound to mitigate the dangers inherent to the job wherever possible. This includes ensuring that the surrounding areas to the work site are safe for the construction team.

Unfortunately, this was not the case for a 47-year-old construction worker who fell off elevated train tracks on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in New York City. Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. filed a case (index no. 1752/03) in the County of Queens and in the Court of Claims against various defendants that were responsible for the construction project. This yielded a $1.5 million settlement the worker will now use to recover from the tragic and physically debilitating experience.…

July 18, 2011

$2.5 million awarded in asbestos case verdict

Source:, July 15, 2011

A laboratory chemist exposed to dust containing asbestos won a$2.5 million verdict after a two-week trial, his lawyer said.

James Ginter was diagnosed with mesothelioma in March 2010. Keith R. Vona, an attorney at Lipsitz&Ponterio who represented Ginter, called the verdict “a great victory for workers exposed to asbestos-containing dust.”

Ginter worked at Durez Plastics, a North Tonawanda manufacturer of industrial resins and phenolic molding compounds. He worked with a ma-chine manufactured by Ford Motor Co. that required him to file and grind experimental asbestos-containing friction products ultimately used as brakes on automobiles.

Ford was the only defendant in the trial and the jury assigned 15 percent of the responsibility for damages to the auto company, according to the law firm. Other defendants settled before the trial in State Supreme Court.…

March 9, 2011

Win for Asbestos Insurers

Source:, May 18, 2007
By: Nathan Koppel

A ruling issued today in a New Jersey state court marked a win for insurers who challenged an asbestos “pre-packaged” bankruptcy.

The case, which concerns the 2003 bankruptcy of Congoleum Corporation, has been followed closely by combatants in the asbestos prepackaged arena. Some companies that have faced asbestos liability have tried to control their exposure by filing prepackaged bankruptcies, which are negotiated ahead of time, potentially allowing a company to reorganize in an expedited fashion.

Critics have argued that asbestos prepacks” let plaintiffs lawyers collect damages for dubious asbestos claims at the expense of insurers.

Congoleum was a manufacturer of flooring products, some of which once contained asbestos. From 1981 to 2002, over 70,000 claimants filed asbestos-related injury suits against the company, prompting the company to negotiate a prepackaged bankruptcy plan under which it later agreed to pay more than $465 million to resolve asbestos claims, the ruling said.

Congoleum’s insurers filed suit in New Jersey claiming Congoleum, as part of its prepackaged plan, agreed to pay claims that would not be paid in the tort system.

Judge Nicholas Stroumstos Jr. concluded that the prepackaged plan was the result of collusion between Congoleum’s former bankruptcy lawyers and lawyers representing asbestos claimants. The plan “contains no meaningful provisions to ferret out fraudulent claims,” he wrote.

We’re delighted by the decision, said John Gerstein, who represents one of the insurers. We think it will become a watershed decision, because it should lead to intensified scruitiny of asbestos prepacks in the future. Lawyers who negotiated the plan were not immediately available for comment.…

December 28, 2010

Tevis Oil found responsible for MTBE leak: Jury awards four families nearly $400k worth of damages

Source: Baltimore Sun, April 22, 2010

A Carroll County jury found a local oil company responsible for polluting water wells with a hazardous gasoline additive and awarded four Finksburg families $395,000 worth of damages, according to court records and lawyers for the case.

The six-person jury in the class-action civil lawsuit reached the verdict yesterday after three days of deliberations. Clifford Keffer, the named-plaintiff whose house was closest to a Tevis Oil-owned Jiffy Mart gas station that emitted methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE, was awarded $230,000. Three other families will split the rest of the money.

Keffer filed the suit five years ago and testified during the trial that he has had to use bottled water at his residence since 2003 after MTBE was discovered in his well.

MTBE is a suspected carcinogen whose effects on drinking water have not been determined. The chemical makes gasoline burn more cleanly, but several studies have shown it to cause cancer in lab rats.

The Maryland Department of the Environment identified the Jiffy station, at the corner of Suffolk Road and Route 140, as the source of pollution. Lawyers for Tevis argued during the three-week trial that there was no spill or leak discovered, and that the additive originated from a neighboring junkyard.

Bruce Hill, a lawyer for the plaintiff, had asked the jury for a minimum of $1.5 million during his closing arguments last week. The jury, however, declined to award money to any of the plaintiffs for costs of future medical expenses.…

December 20, 2010

Plaintiffs added to $3.75 billion water contamination suit

Publication Date 04/26/2010
Source: Frederick News-Post (MD)

The number of plaintiffs involved in a multibillion water contamination lawsuit appears to be growing, according to documents filed at the Frederick County Courthouse.

In addition, lawyers for the plaintiffs have filed a fifth cause of action seeking damages.

In March, lawyers for 20 Frederick County families filed suit seeking $40 million in damages for each of 60 plaintiffs over gasoline leaks from the Green Valley Citgo station in Monrovia .

The $2.4 billion suit sought $10 million for each of the 60 plaintiffs on four causes of action: negligence, strict liability of an abnormally dangerous activity, private nuisance and trespass to land.

This month, lawyers amended their complaint to add 15 plaintiffs from the area as well as an additional cause of action — public nuisance.

The damages in the suit now seeks $50 million in compensatory and punitive damages for each of 75 plaintiffs for a total of $3.75 billion in damages.

Furthermore, the suit also seeks $300 million on each cause of action to restore the water supply, according to court documents.…