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Javerbaum Wurgaft Attorneys Successful on Appeals

Gregg Wisotsky, with the assistance of David Wikstrom, was recently successful before the Appellate Division in having a case that was previously dismissed by a trial judge restored! Gregg represents a client who fell and was seriously injured while walking across a poorly maintained driveway after stepping off of the sidewalk. The trial judge dismissed the case, finding that the defendants were immune to a lawsuit, relying on the longstanding proposition that residential homeowners are not liable for poorly maintained sidewalks that abut their property. The Judge dismissed the lawsuit, essentially treating this matter as a just another “sidewalk” case.

On Appeal, we argued that the trial judge failed to consider where our client fell, and misapplied the residential sidewalk immunity law since the fall did not in fact occur on a public sidewalk. The Appellate Division agreed, and reversed the dismissal of the case, and remanded it back to the trial court for trial.

In another matter, Eric Kahn, with the assistance of Annabelle Steinhacker, successfully argued an Appeal on behalf of an injured plaintiff whose case was dismissed, when she was represented by another attorney, after the case was mistakenly dismissed by a trial judge. Eric Kahn said that “cases must be decided on their merits, rather than procedural technicalities, and every person deserves an opportunity to have his or her day in Court”. The Appellate Division reversed the trial court’s procedural dismissal, and remanded the case for trial.

midtown Manhattan law firmJaverbaum Wurgaft is known for having many fine trial lawyers, but also has significant experience and success before the Appellate Division and the Supreme Court

Eric G. Kahn - Partner

Eric Kahn Installed as President of the North Jersey Chapter of ABOTA

On Tuesday, December 11, Eric G. Kahn, Managing Shareholder of our firm, was installed as President of the North Jersey Chapter of The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). The preservation of our civil justice system and the protection of the rights of our clients is at the core of the work we do at Javerbaum Wurgaft each and every day. ABOTA shares these core values, and works on a state and national level to protect our 7th Amendment right to a trial by jury, and the preservation of integrity in the legal field. The ABOTA Foundation uses it’s resources to teach lawyers and students the importance of our system of justice, and to increase the advocacy skills of attorneys.

Eric is a Certified Civil Trial Attorney who has been in practice for 25 years and has tried to verdict about 100 cases. He handles a broad spectrum of cases including sexual assault and abuse, auto and trucking accidents, medical malpractice and construction site accident cases, Eric uses his vast experience to be an effective advocate for his clients.

Eric is the immediate Past-President of the New Jersey Association for Justice, is a member of the New Jersey State Bar, is a certified member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and has received multiple awards for his Pro Bono work. Eric lectures and moderates legal seminars frequently, both in the State and nationally. He also has obtained two jury verdicts in excess of $15,000,000.00

The Installation ceremony took place at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park, N.J

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Women’s History Month – Women in the Law

March is Women’s History Month; a month federally designated to celebrate historical and contemporaneous contributions made by women. This month and every day, we at Javerbaum Wurgaft honor the myriad accomplishments achieved by women in the law.

While the national average for the last twenty years has seen women graduating law school at roughly the same rate as men, the advancement of women in the field has stagnated. A recent large firm survey found that women only comprise 21.46% of partners. When breaking that figure down between equity and non-equity partners, female equity partnership drops to an abysmal 17.4%.1 At Javerbaum Wurgaft, we confront inequities like this by seeking solutions internally and through active participation in the legal community.

Javerbaum Wurgaft is committed to supporting the promotion of women. Over the past several years, the women of Javerbaum Wurgaft have created opportunities for women to come together to network and engage in meaningful dialogues to address continued inequities in the profession. Every year, Diane Cardoso organizes a Ladies’ Networking spa day at the New Jersey Association of Justice’s Boardwalk Convention in Atlantic City. She also initiated an annual Ladies’ Networking Dinner at the New Jersey Association of Justice’s Meadowlands Convention. In July of 2016, Annabelle Steinhacker hosted a Women’s Networking Event addressing systemic sexism in the law and facilitating an open discussion aimed at practical solutions. These events provide unique opportunities for women to make professional connections and to organize and confront obstacles impairing the progress of women within the legal community.

To advance gender parity, the women at Javerbaum Wurgaft occupy leadership positions in New Jersey and national legal organizations. Diane Cardoso is a state revitalization delegate to the American Association of Justice. She also is a board member of the New Jersey Association of Justice, the Treasurer for the Hudson County Bar Association and a fellow of the New Jersey State Bar Association Leadership Academy for 2017-18. Judge Marguerite Simon serves as the Commissioner of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission and was selected as a member of the National Association of Distinguished Neutrals. Annabelle Steinhacker is a trustee for the Trial Attorneys of New Jersey. She also serves as a Director on the Board of Directors, at her alma mater, for the Maine Law Alumni Association. Laura Nicolette is the Young Lawyers Trustee to the Union County Bar Association. Jessica Bland is an adjunct professor at Seton Hall Law, and mentors second and third-year members of SHU’s Interscholastic Moot Court Board. By assuming leadership roles, the women of Javerbaum Wurgaft seek to include a broader perspective and greater access in New Jersey’s leading legal organizations.

All the women of Javerbaum Wurgaft maintain memberships among New Jersey’s many legal organizations including the New Jersey Association of Justice, the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Trial Attorneys of New Jersey, the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, Brennan-Vanderbilt Inn of Court, and many of the county bar associations. In addition to active participation within organizations, the women of Javerbaum Wurgaft regularly lecture at legal symposiums ranging from NJICLE and NJAJ to the Women and the Law annual seminar hosted by the New Jersey Defense Association.

Backed by a consistently supportive roster of attorneys, both male and female, Javerbaum Wurgaft continues to be a change-maker in gender inequity in the State of New Jersey. Actively advocating for women by providing networking opportunities and a leading voice among the many legal organizations in our State ensures a stronger legal community accessible to all. A more diverse profession benefits not only the legal community but our clients as well. We are proud of our commitment to promoting women, to our continued fight against unconscious bias and systemic sexism, and to our promise to pursue greater accessibility and parity in the legal profession.

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Self-Driving Uber Car Kills Arizona Pedestrian

With technology ever changing, many have predicted the days of the space aged cartoon of the 70’s, The Jetsons are finally here.  The world in 2018 is not a cartoon and having a car that drives itself carries inherent danger.  Rideshare vehicles with an actual driver are dangerous enough, particularly when a company such as Uber or Lyft fails to adequately screen or train its drivers.  Rideshare giants like Uber need to understand that while autonomous vehicles may the future, as today’s fatal accident demonstrates, they are not the present.

http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/19/technology/uber-autonomous-car-fatal-crash/index.html

Uber has put in place self driving cars so they can eliminate their one key chief expense, drivers.  Profits over people is dangerous in any business, but experimenting with driverless cars on actual roads and highways used by motorists and pedestrians had deadly consequences.  Last night a woman simply walking across the road in the crosswalk was struck and killed by an self driving Uber car. Although Uber is allegedly cooperating with the Tempe, Arizona police, the question still exists why would a self driving car be on the road if such accidents can happen relatively early in their use? The only logical answer is Uber’s desire to maximize their profits at the expense of the public’s safety.  The public knows that GPS devices and mapping applications are not fully reliable.  Autonomous vehicles essentially rely on the same technology, and when you consider this fact,  the dangers of self driving vehicles are clear.

https://www.nytimes.com/?emc=na&eml_hdr=1&module=homepage&nlid=17273350

Ride-share companies and applications have been a wonderful concept that allows many travelers and people in need of rides to have a car at their fingertips. However accidents are bound to follow the use of a motor vehicle and initially Uber was not prepared for the insurance and the need that would follow. Early in it’s inception, class-action lawsuits were filed and many disputes erupted across the country as to what insurance coverage, if any, Uber would supply to their drivers and protect the innocent paying passengers. Although in many states, the laws have changed to mandate Uber produce certain insurance, it is essential that if anyone is injured in an accident, they immediately speak with an attorney who understands the complexities of ride-share vehicles and how the claims must be handled.

The Ride-Share Group of Javerbaum Wurgaft is dedicated to understand the complexities of ride share litigation and is on the cutting edge of handling Uber cases. Partners Lawrence Simon and Jeffrey Rizika handle these matters is New York and New Jersey respectively. Larry is not only the co chair of the ride share litigation group of the American Association for Justice, a national lawyers organization, (of which Jeff is also a group member), he is also a founding member of the Ride-Share Law Group, a collection of prominent personal injury attorneys throughout the country who have dedicated their profession to protecting those who are injured at the hands of others. Now, more than ever, the stakes are even higher due to self driving Uber cars as well as the tragic death of a pedestrian.

https://www.ridesharelawgroup.com/arizona-woman-killed-self-driving-uber-car/

Now is the time to reach out to Javerbaum Wurgaft, so that you and your family are protected. When life begins to resemble a cartoon, it is time to get serious and get protection.

David Wikstrom’s $2.7 million settlement for a man who lost his arm in a sausage manufacturing plant accident was highlighted in the “Ten More Awards Worth Noting” sub-section

David L. Wikstrom joins NJ State Bar Association Board of Trustees

Javerbaum Wurgaft is proud to announce the addition of David Wickstrom to the New Jersey State Bar Association Board of Trustees. David joins other NJSBA leaders in the Association’s commitment in  advancing the practice of law, providing education to both the public and to other attorneys,  and promoting access to the civil justice system to all New Jersey residents. David will fill the Union County seat vacated when Marc Brown moved to the Superior Court. David further serves the Union County community by teaching Constitutional Law as an adjunct professor at Union County College, and a past President of the Union County Bar Association.  David is a Certified Civil Trial Attorney and a  shareholder with the firm.

Sexual Abuse of Students Continues in the News

Today we see yet another news report concerning alleged sexual abuse of students by teachers. At Javerbaum Wurgaft, we are dedicated to fighting for the victims of abuse and ending these unforgivable violations. Students are entitled to special protections from those who stand in the place of parents. Those who breach that sacred trust must be called to account. Partners Eric Kahn and Rubin Sinins fight for students’ rights. www.lawjw.com

Overcoming Gender Bias in the Legal Profession

I was a third year student at the University of Virginia Law School and was at my third interview for an associate position at a prominent Wall Street firm. The earlier interviews had been successful but the final decision was with this senior partner who smiled and said: “Dear, we hired a 55 year old spinster and she left to get married in nine months. You are young and attractive and you will get married and raise a family and never practice law”. Of course none of my similarly situated male colleagues ever had their ambitions so directly challenged. This was the 1960s and many lawyers still believed that a career and a family were mutually exclusive.

I did eventually obtain employment in a large New York City firm where I was kept quietly in the back office and might even “pass” as clerical while I spent hours reviewing deposition transcripts. One of my UVA alumni friends soon directed me to a smaller firm where I was given much more responsibility and even occasionally sent to court. That firm dissolved and I returned to New Jersey with my husband and my baby.

Opening a sole practice in Oradell, New Jersey in the 1970s was challenging, my success in building that practice required lots of hard work greatly assisted by my colleagues. Colleagues, both male and female, were supportive as we covered for each other and discussed our problem issues. My friends at Women Lawyers in Bergen were important and the encouragement I received invaluable. Participation in County and State Bar Associations helped my self confidence.

Although working conditions are greatly improved, there are still particular issues more often confronted by female attorneys. Of course, be strong and continue forward but never be afraid to seek advice. Reaching out to more experienced practitioners is a sign of strength not weakness.

Soon after opening my solo practice, I had a trial call in Hackensack. After I said “Ready plaintiff” the judge asked “Are you a lawyer?’ and when I replied “Yes your honor” one of the regulars chimed “Next time wear a pin striped suit” to much laughter. Fast forward about fifteen years and I was sitting on that same bench calling the calendar. It was an extraordinary moment as I felt physically carried back to that earlier time.

I will always be thankful for having had the opportunity to serve on the Superior Court bench. Each assignment presented special challenges and I especially enjoyed my years in Chancery. During my tenure the number of women judges expanded from a token number to a more significant minority that will hopefully before long amount to equality. The collegiality and warmth among my colleagues both male and female has given me the blessing of many lifelong friendships.

Enough reminiscing. I am now fortunate to be working with the excellent lawyers at Javerbaum Wurgaft where I can still make a contribution though my mediation practice. The attorneys here practice with the kind of professionalism that I found to be most important quality in the attorneys who appeared before me during my twenty years on the bench. Indeed, the most important closing advice I can give to a young lawyer is to make certain that your word is always good.

Serving the Client by Ignoring Him?

By: Rubin M. Sinins, Esq.

Recently the New York Times reported on a troubling case where a Criminal Defense Attorney, in an effort to save a capital defendant’s life, ignored the client’s instruction and admitted his guilt before the jury. Lawyers on both sides argued whether this was permissible. The short answer is: No.

Attorneys are ethically obligated to comply with legal instructions from the client on fundamental questions such as guilt or innocence. If the client asserts his innocence, an attorney cannot state that he is guilty. This is notwithstanding the client’s poor choices. Indeed, the attorney in the Times article was attempting to save his client from the death penalty by acknowledging responsibility of the murder. The lawyer may believe that denying guilt would ensure a death sentence. But that is the client’s decision. So long as he is not asking the lawyer to do anything illegal, and the client is competent, decisions as to admissions of guilt are in the hands of the client.

Attorneys often feel that they know best, and oftentimes they probably do. But when knowing best and abiding by a client’s lawful wishes diverge, the latter must control. Lawyers’ effectiveness and role in the justice system are served by following the client’s instructions.

Samuel J. Perez Joins Javerbaum Wurgaft as an Associate in the Springfield Office

By JW Law

Samuel J. Perez attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey as a recipient of the James Dickson Carr scholarship and focused his studies on Political Science and Communications. After graduating from Rutgers in 2004, Sam attended Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey where he graduated in 2007. While at Seton Hall Law, Sam interned at the Union County Public Defender’s Office where he represented individuals that did not have the financial means to hire private counsel after being charged with a crime.
After receiving his Juris Doctorate degree from Seton Hall Law, Sam clerked for the Honorable Dennis V. Nieves, J.S.C. in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Criminal Part, Middlesex County. Since clerking, Sam spent many years working on cases from a variety of practice areas including municipal, criminal, family, workers’ compensation and personal injury. His efforts were recognized in 2017 when he was named as one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2017” in the area of personal injury.

As an attorney, Sam’s driving passion has always been making the law accessible to his clients. From the initial client consultation all the way through trial, Sam takes pride in dealing with all aspects of his cases as well as making himself available to his clients. Sam is conversational in Spanish and is an active member of the Middlesex County Bar Association as well as the New Jersey Association for Justice.

Javerbaum Wurgaft Welcomes New Attorney to our NYC Office

By JW Law

Javerbaum Wurgaft proudly welcomes Michael E. Morley Of Council to the firm.  His practice area has primarily included investigation and analysis of complex reinsurance issues involving a variety of long tail toxic tort claims, such as asbestos, silica, breast implant, pharmaceutical, and environmental pollution related cases. These claims typically involve multiple years and layers of reinsurance coverage and a variety of issues including interpretation of exclusionary language, allocation and aggregation issues, and reserving methodology. His clients have included both international and domestic clients who have sought cost effective expert analysis of claim presentations.

In addition to the investigation and contract analysis, Michael has negotiated settlements of numerous multi-million dollar reinsurance claims and has also participated as coverage counsel in numerous dispute resolution proceedings including reinsurance arbitrations and litigation.

Michael’s practice has expanded to include providing analysis, coverage opinions and dispute resolution regarding a variety of property and casualty insurance claims including construction defect, contractor liability, landlord/tenant claims, sexual harassment/discrimination claims, trademark infringement, false imprisonment, and a variety of first party property and casualty insurance claims.

Michael graduated from East Carolina University and received his J.D. from  Syracuse University College of Law and is admitted to practice law in Connecticut and New York.