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28 Second Street
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Latham, NY


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Capital District Trial Lawyers Association Names New Officers for 2018

The Capital District Trial Lawyers Association in Albany, New York, named its new officers for 2018.

The association elected Meghan Keenholts, Esq. as its president.  Mrs. Keenholts is a partner with E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy, LLP a personal injury and criminal defense law firm with offices in Albany, Troy, Saratoga and Latham.

Also elected were:  Laura Jordan, Esq., Powers & Santola, LLP, vice president; Kathleen Barclay, Esq., Maguire Cardona, PC, treasurer; and William Little, Esq., Teresi & Little, PLLC, secretary.

Each will serve a one-year term through 2018.

The Capital District Trial Lawyers Association has more than 500 attorney members.  The organization is an accredited provider of continuing legal education seminars and hosts an annual dinner to honor Capital District judges and trial attorneys who exemplify the standards of excellence demonstrated by the organization’s founding members. More information is available at www.cdtlany.com.

Who Is Liable for an Icy Parking Lot Slip and Fall?

New York State Slip and Fall Injury Attorneys

slip and fall in parking lotNew York winters can be especially long and brutal. If you’re injured in a slip-and-fall caused by icy, snowy conditions in a parking lot that hasn’t been properly maintained during winter weather, you need to know your rights.

It’s not unusual for New York residents, tourists, and visitors to slip and fall on icy, snowy parking lots during the winter. If you slip and fall while walking to or from your car in a parking lot, or on a sidewalk at a shopping center or mall, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Reasonable Duty of Care and Liability in Latham

Property owners and property maintenance staff in New York have a reasonable duty of care to make sure that premises are safe, especially when those premises are open to the public. In the harsh New York winter, this means that property owners and maintenance staff have an obligation to keep parking lots and sidewalks clear of ice and snow so that members of the public can traverse them safely. If the property owner or maintenance staff fails to keep sidewalks and parking lots clear and safe, they can be considered negligent in their duty of care.

While property owners aren’t obligated to remove every trace of ice and snow, they are required to put in enough effort that reasonable care can be said to have been exercised. This means they’re required to keep their property clear of snow and ice to the extent that a reasonable person would feel that all efforts have been made to keep the property safe. Even if snow and ice have been removed or treated, the owner still has a responsibility to make sure that these efforts have resulted in safe conditions.

The bottom line is that liability can result if the property is in an unsafe condition, even if the owner has made efforts to clear snow and ice.

Liability When Duty of Care Is Neglected

If it snows and a property owner doesn’t clear away the snow and ice from his or her parking lot, he or she could be held liable for your injuries if you slip and fall in the unmaintained parking lot. But that’s not the only way that property owners can be negligent in fulfilling their duty of care.

Let’s say, for example, that snow on an awning melts in the sun and drips onto the parking lot or sidewalk below, where it freezes, the owner of the property could be found to be negligent if someone slips on that ice, falls, and sustains an injury. This is true even if the owner of that property has made previous efforts to clear snow and ice.

Under New York state laws, a property owner doesn’t necessarily need to have been made aware of a dangerous condition on the property in order to be held liable. In Figueroa v. Lazarus Burman Associates, the plaintiff sustained injuries due to a slip-and-fall in an icy parking lot, and the defendant was found to have made insufficient efforts to clear snow from the property in question. While the defendant had made some efforts to clear snow and ice, the court found that the lot was still negligently cleared, because the defendant allowed unsafe conditions to remain.

The court further ruled that it wasn’t necessary for the defendant to have received notice of the dangerous conditions beforehand in order to be held liable, since the defendant had contributed to the creation of those dangerous conditions when they failed to exercise their reasonable duty of care in clearing the lot.

However, in order for a property owner to be held liable for dangerous conditions in an icy, snowy parking lot, he must be able to reasonably foresee that the dangerous conditions represent a threat to the public. For example, if you were to enter an icy, snowy commercial parking lot very late at night or very early in the morning, outside of business hours, you may not be able to hold the property owners liable for a slip-and-fall injury. The court might find that those owners could not have reasonably foreseen your presence on the property at such a time, and therefore, they didn’t have a reasonable duty of care to create safe conditions on the property.

Another circumstance under which a property owner might not be held liable for slip-and-fall injuries in a parking lot or other property would be when the snow is actually still falling. New York property liability laws typically use the storm in progress doctrine, which holds that property owners are not liable for unsafe conditions that occur while a storm is still in progress. Any unsafe or slippery conditions that come about due to a storm in progress are not the property owner’s responsibility; she has a reasonable duty of care to restore the property to a safe condition within a reasonable amount of time after the storm has come to an end.

How long does the property owner have to clear the snow and ice away after the storm has ended? That’s usually up to a jury, although previous court decisions have found that property owners are not liable for injuries that occur on their properties during lulls in a storm, or within 45 minutes after the end of a storm.

Experienced New York Personal Injury Attorneys

If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall in New York due to ice and snow in a parking lot, you may be entitled to damages. Our personal injury attorneys can tell you whether or not you have a case, and if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.

To request a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm, call us at (518) 274-5820, or fill out our online contact form to get started.

What Is a Fiduciary Relationship in an Embezzlement Case?

gavel and money embezzlementIn order for embezzlement to happen, there has to be a financial relationship between the victim and the embezzler. This relationship is commonly known as a fiduciary relationship.

Understanding Fiduciary Relationships in Latham

When two parties are in a fiduciary relationship, it means that one of them has an obligation or duty to act for the benefit of the other, at least when acting or advising on matters that fall under the scope of the fiduciary relationship. As a result, one party has influence and a level of superiority over the other, and there is a certain level of trust that is shared between them. One party trusts another to handle property, money, or other valuable assets in a reliable way.

However, simply handling someone’s money isn’t enough to establish a fiduciary relationship between two parties. A grocery store cashier, for example, handles customers’ money all day, yet he or she does not have a fiduciary relationship with those customers.

A financial advisor who manages a client’s retirement or other savings may also be said to have a fiduciary relationship with those individuals, as might a corporate officer who makes business decisions on behalf of a company. This is why embezzlement cases typically require the services of white-collar criminal defense attorneys. Usually, these crimes involve white-collar criminals and large sums of money.

Fiduciary Duty

Legally speaking, a fiduciary duty has the highest standard of care. Someone who has a fiduciary duty is called a fiduciary, and the person or organization to which the duty is owed is called a principal or beneficiary. Fiduciary duties are meant to encourage specialization and to give people incentives for entering into fiduciary relationships.

By imposing a high standard of care, the law seeks to minimize the risk of abuse of beneficiaries or principals by their fiduciaries. When an individual violates or breaches their fiduciary duties, his or her beneficiaries are entitled to damages even if the breach of duty caused them no harm.

Fiduciary Duties and Corporations

The primary fiduciary duties of corporate officers and directors include duty of loyalty and duty of care. Duty of loyalty means that corporate directors and officers can’t use their position of fiduciary trust to further their own private interests or make money for themselves. They must instead protect the interests of the corporation, and refrain from doing anything that would harm the corporation’s interests.

Duty of care in the context of fiduciary duty means that corporate directors and officers have an obligation to avail themselves of all available knowledge before making a business decision that affects the interests of the corporation. He or she must protect the interests of the corporation and its stockholders by assessing this information critically.

Corporate directors and officers have further duties when acting on behalf of their corporations. These include:

  • Duty of good faith. They must act to advance the corporate interests, to obey the law, and to fulfill their duties.
  • Duty of prudence. This duty requires a trustee to act with a prudent degree of care, caution, and skill when administering a trust.
  • Duty of confidentiality. This requires corporate directors and officers to keep corporate information private and not disclose it for their own benefit.
  • Duty of disclosure. The duty of disclosure requires corporate officers and directors to disclose information to stockholders under certain circumstances.

Fiduciary Relationships and Embezzlement

In order for embezzlement to occur, a fiduciary relationship must exist between the parties involved. The perpetrator must actually acquire property illicitly as a result of this fiduciary relationship. He or she must then transfer its possession to him or herself or to the possession of a third party. It’s not sufficient for the perpetrator to have access to the property – he or she must actually have used that access to convert ownership of the property for his or her own personal benefit or the benefit of a third party.

If, for example, a financial advisor transfers a client’s retirement funds into his or her own name and uses them to buy a new boat, that’s an example of embezzlement as the financial advisor has taken advantage of his or her fiduciary relationship with the client to illegally access and then take ownership of the client’s assets. The level of trust inherent in a fiduciary relationship can allow an unscrupulous person to take advantage of that relationship for his or her own benefit.

In order for embezzlement to be said to have occurred, this transfer of assets from the beneficiary or principal to the fiduciary must be intentional. This requirement is necessary to show fraudulent intent. If the financial advisor were to transfer the client’s funds into his or her own name by mistake, or because he or she believed the client had authorized them to transfer funds – when in fact, no such authorization was given – this wouldn’t constitute a breach of fiduciary duty or embezzlement.

In fact, a common legal defense against embezzlement is to argue that the fiduciary reasonably believed that the allegedly stolen property had actually been given to him or her by the principal or beneficiary.

When a person takes advantage of a fiduciary relationship to commit embezzlement, the punishment can involve fines, jail time, and restitution. The breach of fiduciary duty means that the beneficiary is owed damages regardless of the level of harm he or she might have sustained.

Trust is an essential component of a fiduciary relationship. That’s why some jurisdictions apply aggravating factors to embezzlement charges that involve individuals who can be said to hold a position of public trust. This would include public servants or bank employees – or when the perpetrator has targeted vulnerable populations, like the elderly.

Experienced Attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy Law

Embezzlement is a serious crime. To understand why, it’s important to know what fiduciary relationships are and why these relationships involve a high degree of trust. If you’ve been accused of breach of fiduciary duty, you need to contact our white collar criminal defense attorneys right away.

To request a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm, call us at (518) 274-5820, or fill out our online contact form to get started.

How Your Injuries Are Paid for After a Hit-and-Run in New York

gavel on top of moneyDealing with injuries after a car accident can be difficult enough. However, it can become even more complicated and stressful if your accident involves a hit and run. If you’ve been in an accident caused by someone who fled the scene, how are your injuries paid for afterward? Fortunately, you might have more options than you think.

Paying for Your Injuries After an Accident in Albany

After an accident, you could end up with numerous visits to the emergency room, doctors, physical therapists, and other medical expenses. These costs add up quickly, and you shouldn’t have to manage them by yourself if someone else was responsible for your car accident.

In some cases, there is hope. You may be able to get compensation for your injuries, which can help you pay for some of these expenses.

Proving Liability

In order to get compensation after an accident, you’ll need to prove liability, which can become a challenge if you can’t find the driver who caused the accident. This is one of the most important reasons to contact the police immediately. In many cases, the police can help track down the driver, so that you can file a claim against him or her for your injuries.

If the driver cannot be located, you may also be able to file a claim with your insurance company. However, this sometimes requires having Supplementary Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage on your policy.

In either event, it’s crucial that you consult a qualified accident attorney who can examine the details of your accident, possibly help you locate the responsible driver, prove liability, and get you the compensation you need and deserve.

Statute of Limitations on Claims and Injuries

If you aren’t able to identify the hit and run driver, and you have to file the claim with your insurance company, you should know that your time to do so might be limited. You may need to prove that you have been injured in order to get compensation within a certain amount of time. Further, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against the other driver in New York is typically three years, so it’s important to get started right away.

Types of Damages

It isn’t just injuries that you might get paid for after a hit and run accident. The other driver could also be held accountable for damage to your vehicle, lost time from work, and loss of affection or companionship.

Experienced Injury Attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy Law

At the E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm, our attorneys have years of experience navigating a variety of different types of accidents, including hit and runs. If you or someone you love has been injured because of another driver’s negligence, we can help. To request a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call us at (518) 274-5820, or fill out our online contact form to get started.

Who Is Liable for a Nursing Home Slip and Fall Accident?

Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Fighting for Victims and their Families

Serving the Areas of Troy, Sarasota, Albany and all of Upstate New York

elderly woman in a nursing facility


Accidents can happen nearly anywhere, especially slip and fall accidents. Unfortunately, that also means it can happen to our loved ones in nursing homes. The biggest issue with slip and fall accidents in nursing homes and other types of care facilities is that we don’t always find out about the accident right away. Still, if the nursing home or someone in the nursing home was responsible for your family member’s slip and fall injury, you could be entitled to financial compensation.

Types of Injuries from Nursing Home Accidents

When you think of nursing home slip and fall accidents, you probably imagine common injuries like a sprained ankle or broken hip. However, sometimes the injuries aren’t always visible right away, which increases the potential for the accident to become even more serious. Because our loved ones aren’t always able to let us know when they’ve been hurt, injuries can become even worse. Some of the types of injuries that can happen in a nursing home slip and fall include:

  •      Head or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  •      Neck injury
  •      Broken or fractured bones
  •      Tendon or ligament tears
  •      Spinal cord injuries

If you suspect your loved one has fallen, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Who is Responsible for Nursing Home Injuries?

In order to get justice for your loved one, you will need to prove that the nursing home or its personnel were somehow responsible for the accident. Proving negligence can be overwhelming, so it’s crucial that you have an experienced legal team on your side throughout the process.

Nursing homes have a responsibility to provide an environment that is safe and free of hazards. If there is failure or negligence in this regard, the facility could be held responsible for injuries. For example, there have to be clear procedures in place for making sure areas that are slippery are marked and that residents aren’t in danger of slipping and hurting themselves in those areas. The nursing home can also be held accountable in situations where employees are not properly trained or do not provide proper supervision of residents.

The nursing home can also be held responsible if the resident doesn’t receive adequate medical treatment after the slip and fall. Depending on the circumstances, the nursing home facility, the medical professionals who were responsible for treating the resident, and even other residents might be held accountable for your loved one’s injuries.

Nursing Home Injury Lawyers with Experience

Any injury involving our loved ones in nursing homes can be devastating. The attorneys atE. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy understand how difficult it can be to trust nursing home professionals with our loved ones’ care and then find out they were neglected or abused. If you suspect that your loved one has been injured because of a slip and fall accident in a nursing home, we can help you get justice. To request a free and confidential consultation with your family member, call us at (518) 380-2597 fill out our online contact form.

Geico Faces Deceptive Trade Practices Over Use Biased Medical Opinions

false or true deceptive trade

In a 5-0 decision issued on December 14, 2017, the New York State Appellate Division, Third Department, re-instated claims against GEICO Insurance Company for deceptive business practices related to its use of so-called “independent” medical doctors.

The precedent setting case of Brown v. Government Employees Insurance Company (available at http://decisions.courts.state.ny.us/ad3/Decisions/2017/524696.pdf ) now makes clear that insurance companies cannot simply deny claims based upon biased medical reports.  The case alleges that GEICO’s “independent” medical examiners have a strong financial motive to systematically issue reports that deny benefits whenever an argument can be made that the injuries are pre-existing or degenerative in nature.  It is further alleged that GEICO hires only experts who will go along with its scheme to defraud applicants out of benefits. It is alleged that the “independent” experts have a financial incentive to give GEICO what it wants: medical opinions that support denial of benefits.

Ryan M. Finn, a Partner with E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy, LLP (https://joneshacker.com/), represents Brown in the action, and stated as follows “this Decision should be a wake-up call for the insurance industry.  Attorneys representing injured victims have been referring to these exams as defense medical exams for a long time and for good reason:  there is nothing independent about the process and many of these doctors make millions of dollars issuing reports to deny lost wages and medical expenses to injured victims who most need the help.”  For more information please contact Ryan Finn, Esq.  at [email protected] or 518-274-5820.

Will a Nursing Home Arbitration Prevent You from Suing?

Nursing Home Abuse and Arbitration Attorneys Serving Upstate New York Families

Experienced Legal Representation for all of Upstate New York Including Troy, Albany, and Sarasota

nursing home arbitration
When we leave our loved ones in the care of a nursing home, we trust the caregivers to provide their needs and care for them in the best way possible. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Far too often, our elderly and disabled family members end up being neglected or injured. And, in some cases, the treatment can be fatal. When this happens, family members are often forced to sue the nursing home facility and the personnel responsible for the abuse, in order to get justice for their loved ones.

Unfortunately, even if you can prove that someone else caused your loved one harm, you could still be prevented from suing. Here’s what you should know regarding arbitration if you are considering a lawsuit against a nursing home.

What is Arbitration?

Sometimes, nursing homes include an arbitration clause in their contracts, stating that even if you pursue a wrongful death claim for your loved one, you might have to go through arbitration first. If you sign a contract when you admit your family member into the nursing home that includes a binding arbitration agreement, it typically means that you must resolve any conflict through arbitration rather than court.

The arbitration process is usually where an argument is heard, and judgment is passed by arbitrators. It is intended to solved issues at a lower cost while avoiding a lawsuit in a court of law. While it might seem like a better process for everyone involved, the biggest issue with arbitration is that in nursing home neglect and abuse cases, it usually favors corporations rather than family members or the loved one who was neglected.

Your Options if You Face Arbitration

Before you sign any contract, it’s important to examine the details carefully to ensure the details are in your loved one’s best interests. When you agree to arbitration, you agree to resolve issues without a public record of the dispute and without a trial or opportunity to appeal.

However, even if you aren’t sure whether or not you agreed to a binding arbitration clause, you might still have other options. If your loved one was injured or harmed in a nursing home, it’s in your best interests — and your family member’s best interests — to make sure the right person is held accountable. At the very least, you could help prevent the neglect and abuse from happening to someone else.

Contact Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

The lawyers at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have a hundred-year reputation for making sure our personal injury clients get justice for their injuries. We know how frustrating and devastating it can be to trust a nursing home only to find out they weren’t doing their jobs or caring for our loved ones properly. If you believe your family member has been hurt or neglected by a nursing home, let us help you get justice for them. We offer a free and confidential consultation with you and your family. Request a consultation with one of our injury lawyers by calling (518) 380-2597 or fill out our online contact form to get started immediately.