A Hunterdon County client has agreed to settle his case for $1.05 million, according to Craig Hubert, who represents David Mummey.
Mr. Mummey suffered severe, permanent head injuries as a result of an accident in June 2007. He was hired to unload a large piece of heavy equipment, a pavement sealer, from a tractor trailer to the ground. While doing so, he lost control of the equipment, which started to fall off the trailer, ejecting Mr. Mummey. He landed head-first upon a gravel driveway, causing brain injuries and cognitive losses.
According to Craig, the lawsuit was primarily based upon the manufacturer’s failure to warn, and adequately warn, his client as to the safe operation of the pavement sealer. “The manufacturer, Neal Industries, a Georgia corporation, had inadequate warnings on the machine and delivered the owner’s manual separately from the product, violating its duty to warn the end user,” Craig said. “Since we filed suit, the manufacturer has added warnings and relocated warning labels so that they are visible to operators. This case resulted in a safer product for future end users. Our client takes great satisfaction in the fact that his misfortune will result in a safer workplace for many men and women throughout the United States.”
Information obtained during the discovery process led Craig to Atlanta, Georgia to conduct sworn statements of the product manufacturer’s employees, including the design engineer. Craig subsequently found that the manufacturing plant’s retired manager was living in a remote area of Alabama. In order to obtain testimony critical to the case, Craig again traveled south, this time to depose the ex-plant manager in rural Alabama. Craig noted, “The testimony greatly strengthened the plaintiff’s position, resulting in a million dollar plus settlement.”
January 23, 2013
A Somerset County woman, suffering from serious permanent injuries as a result of being struck by a pick up truck, has settled her claims against the driver of the vehicle and her own insurance carrier, which provided Underinsured coverage. The total amount of the settlement is $1.27 million dollars. Michael Paglione, a partner with Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader, PC, represents Plaintiff.
The accident took place in the winter of 2009, at approximately 9:30 at night, when the our client pulled her vehicle to the side of a road in a residential area. She activated the emergency flashers and exited her vehicle. She walked around the rear of her vehicle and was stepping onto the curb when she was struck by a pickup truck. The driver of the truck said he slid on ice in the roadway and lost control of his truck before impact.
The plaintiff’s right foot was crushed against the curb by the front right tire of the pickup. The truck jumped the curb and ran over her left foot as well causing additional fractures to that foot. The operator of the truck then backed the truck off the curb, and in so doing, further injured the pedestrian’s right foot, causing a large section of skin, muscle and nerves to be stripped away. She subsequently underwent multiple surgeries and now suffers from arthritis and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
The defendant, pickup truck operator, had liability insurance policy limits of only $500,000. This amount could not justly and adequately compensate the plaintiff for her serious injuries. Mr. Paglione investigated all other insurance coverage that could possibly be applicable to this case and discovered that there was underinsured coverage through another insurance company that the plaintiff’s husband had gotten through his employer.
The plaintiff and her husband were not even aware that the Underinsured policy applied until it was explained to them by Mr. Paglione. The net result, an additional $770,000 in settlement proceeds, making the total settlement $1.27 million dollars. As a plaintiff’s trial attorney, Mr. Paglione is an expert at trials, but he is also an expert at insurance policies and how they apply to accidents and injuries.
Lawsuit by Partially Blinded New Jersey Man Against Pennsylvania Fireworks Vendor Can Proceed To Trial
December 6, 2012
A New Jersey man, blinded in one eye during a neighborhood fireworks display, could have his legal claims brought to trial against the Pennsylvania store that sold those fireworks. Ocean County Superior Court Judge James Den Uyl denied defendant Sky King Fireworks’ motion to dismiss the case, brought by Steven Blader, of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader, PC, of Lawrenceville, on behalf of Thomas Eldershaw of Jackson.
According to the November 2012 decision, the company’s Morrisville, Pennsylvania, store sold $1,229.58 worth of fireworks to Michael Maibach, Mr. Eldershaw’s neighbor. Mr. Maibach asked Mr. Eldershaw to help set off the display. The decision states that while lighting the fireworks on July 4, 2010, one of the mortars ignited, striking Mr. Eldershaw in the left eye. Despite two subsequent surgeries, he lost the vision in that eye.
Mr. Eldershaw is suing Sky King Fireworks (Sky King) for negligently selling the fireworks to Mr. Maibach and failing to provide instructions on how they should safely be used. Defendant’s motion to dismiss claimed the lawsuit should be ended as, under Pennsylvania law, the sale was legal and as such, the seller owes no duty of care to Mr. Eldershaw. Judge Den Uyl disagreed, and ruled that a jury could find Sky King negligent in the sale of the fireworks and be held accountable for Mr. Eldershaw’s injuries.
According to the decision, Pennsylvania law requires its residents to produce a permit issued by a municipality prior to legally purchasing fireworks in the state. Non-residents may purchase fireworks without such a permit. Judge Den Uyl cited that under New Jersey law only those issued permits by local authorities can legally purchase or use fireworks.
According to the decision, Sky King wasn’t checking New Jersey customers to see if they had proper permits. Mr. Maibach did not have the proper permit prior to purchasing or using the fireworks, and, according to the decision, the store gave him no instructions on how they should be safely used.
The court took note of the size of the sale ($1,229.58) and determined that such a sale should have put Sky King on notice that Mr. Maibach was planning a large, sophisticated display which would make injuries foreseeable if those setting them off weren’t trained or experienced in using fireworks.
Though the sale of fireworks was legal under Pennsylvania law, Judge Den Uyl wrote that doesn’t shield Sky King from a negligence claim based on New Jersey law. “The competence or sophistication of the purchaser/operator may or may not be a concern depending on the type and quantity of fireworks purchased. In the particular circumstances of this case and sale to Michael Maibach, Sky King arguably had a duty to do something to either assess his knowledge, training or experience to stage a fireworks display and/or provide some instruction on how to do so safely,” the decision states.
Judge Den Uyl went on to write, that though not required by Pennsylvania law, Sky King could require a New Jersey purchaser to produce a permit or provide instructions and safety tips.
“The New Jersey legislature has determined that the use or possession of fireworks is ‘against the public health, safety, and welfare of the people of the State of New Jersey’ and subsequently banned consumer fireworks possession and use in the state,” Judge Den Uyl wrote, “The situation in New Jersey is serious and compounded by the fact that accessibility to purchasing fireworks by New Jersey residents is only a short ride away over the state line into Pennsylvania.”
The decision states that at least half of the Morrisville store sales come from New Jersey and the store actively markets and advertises its products to New Jersey residents. Morrisville, Pennsylvania, is located across the Delaware River from New Jersey and is linked to it by three bridges.
The judge noted the Newark Star Ledger reported that in 2010, July 4 fireworks started a fire that left 26 homeless, including 13 children. Reuters Health reports about 2,000 Americans sustain eye injuries due to fireworks each year. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 2011, about 9,600 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms due to fireworks related injuries.
Sky King, according to its website, started in South Florida and now has eighteen stores in three states, including four in Pennsylvania.
November 9, 2012
Damage done by Hurricane Sandy may reach historic levels. The economic forecasting firm Eqecat estimates total damages from the storm will range from $30 to $50 billion, with insurers being exposed to $10 to $20 billion in claims. With that much money at stake, insurance companies may be tempted to limit their losses and make it harder for policy holders to collect on valid damage claims.
The law firm of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader, PC, in Lawrenceville, NJ has extensive experience helping clients obtaining coverage due to losses from catastrophic disasters. We’ve helped clients suffering damage due to Hurricanes Andrew, Hugo and Katrina, and we can help clients with insurance claims stemming from Hurricane Sandy too.
Policy holders can take steps to protect their rights and increase the chance of a successful insurance coverage claim.
Insurance companies generally handle claims first come, first served. So take the following steps to help protect your rights:
(1) Get your claim number and write it down. You’ll reference it in future phone calls and correspondence.
(2) Is the adjuster an employee of the insurance company or an independent adjuster hired by your insurer?
- If the person is independent, get the name of the actual insurance company employee to whom the independent adjuster is sending your information.
- Get the name and contact information for the adjuster.
- Find out an expected timeframe for the report and request a copy.
(3) Who is authorized to make claim decisions and payments on behalf of your insurance company? Call and/or send correspondence to that person in the future.
(4) Avoid firms that demand up-front fees for services, regardless of the outcome they negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company. Public adjusters work purely on a contingency basis, ensuring that a homeowner does not pay anything unless he or she receives some form of settlement.
(5) Anticipate possible objections by the insurance company by creating documentation.
- When you file a claim, take notes detailing all your contacts with the insurance company. List the date, time and a brief description of who said what.
- Take photographs of the damage before any repair work starts.
- Make an itemized list of all damage sustained during the storm and its aftermath.
- Do all you can to minimize secondary damage. Your homeowner’s policy requires that you “mitigate damage,” which means taking reasonable steps to prevent further damage.
- Get a repair estimate from a contractor to help you talk with the adjuster.
- Keep receipts for any emergency repairs, and costs such as staying in a hotel. This may be reimbursable under the “additional living expense” portion of your homeowners’ policy.
(6) Don’t just file the claim, follow up. Check in regularly with your insurance agent or company on the progress of your claim.
(7) If your insurer denies your claim or offers a minor amount, don’t just accept it. Ask the company for the basis in your policy for the denial or offering so little. The company may be right, but you won’t know until you or your attorney look into it.
(8) Once the company identifies the key language in the policy, you should be able to make this determination. It could be new limitations in the policy that weren’t made clear to you. If you feel misled, consider contacting an attorney.
You can also file a complaint with the state insurance department (http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/division_insurance/index.htm). It will make an inquiry with your insurer. Contact a lawyer if you want to take it a step further.
Once the insurance company tells you the reasons for its action, it legally can’t rely on new reasons for denying payment or making a low offer at a later time. You have locked them in, a major advantage for you.
When it comes to disputed claims, courts have ruled against insurance companies when judges view the policies as ambiguously worded. Courts have reasoned that the reasonable expectation of the insured party should prevail since the consumer played no part in writing the language of the insurance policy.
Policy owners pay premiums for a reason: so their valid claims will be paid. Despite your efforts, if a policy holder’s insurance claim is rejected, Szaferman Lakind can help. Contact Ryan Marrone at (609) 275-0400 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 4, 2012
Stephen Skillman, P.J.A.D., ret., a former Presiding Judge of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, has become of counsel to the law firm of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader, PC.
- Judge Skillman became a New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division Judge in 1986 and was appointed a Presiding Judge in 1998. During his service, Judge Skillman wrote more than 3,000 opinions for the appellate court, more than 550 of which are published. He retired from the bench earlier this year,
- In 1981, Judge Skillman was appointed to the New Jersey Superior Court. For five years the Judge served as a Law Division and General Equity Judge in Middlesex County and as the specially assigned Mount Laurel Judge for northern New Jersey,
- Judge Skillman served in the New Jersey Office of Attorney General, as the Director of the Division of Law, from 1973 to 1981. In that capacity, he argued over 125 cases in the Federal Appellate Courts (including the U.S. Supreme Court), the Appellate Division and the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
While at the Attorney General’s Office, Judge Skillman was the mentor for three of the original partners in the firm (Barry Szaferman, Arnold Lakind and Jeff Blumstein) as well as partner Nate Edelstein.
“He taught many of us how to practice law, and hopefully, we passed on the lessons to the attorneys who later joined us. The Judge is a brilliant thinker who will bring depth to our firm, working in our appellate and brief writing practice and on federal cases,” says Arnold Lakind. “He will be an invaluable asset for our complex litigation practice, and help train another generation of attorneys. For us, it is rewarding and satisfying to work with the Judge again.”
That prior relationship is one reason why he came to the firm, according to Judge Skillman. That and the respect he has for the firm. Judge Skillman will be helping clients and other attorneys with litigation and appellate matters in a number of ways: he will appear in federal court matters, edit and prepare briefs, advise on oral arguments and conduct moot court training to help attorneys prepare for arguments. Judge Skillman will also offer arbitration services to attorneys and their clients.
October 1, 2012
The law firm of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader, PC, is celebrating its 35th anniversary in October. The Central Jersey based firm opened its doors in 1977 in a small office on Main Street in Lawrenceville. Barry Szaferman, Arnold Lakind and Jeffrey Blumstein, the founding partners, started the firm after serving together in the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General. They were joined five years later by Steven Blader.
The firm has long since relocated to 101 Grovers Mill Road in Lawrenceville and now has 33 lawyers and over 80 total staff, but the founding partners and Blader all remain with the firm. “The four of us are more than business partners, we are colleagues united in a common purpose, practicing quality law,” explains Barry Szaferman, Managing Partner.
According to Blumstein, “when starting a firm you have to find clients before you have the opportunity to practice law.” Back then, almost any work was welcome. Today the firm has a broad range of practice areas including Family Law, Personal Injury, Litigation, Business, Environmental, Appeals, Criminal and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Growth hasn’t changed the firm’s approach to serving clients. According to Szaferman, “In many larger firms, clients first meet with senior attorneys, but junior level lawyers do much of the work. At our firm, every lawyer’s primary role is representing clients.”
This year the firm was named to the list of The New York Area’s Top Ranked Law Firms by Nexis Lexis® Martindale Hubbell®. Arnold Lakind, a founding partner, has twice been selected as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” and many of the firm’s attorneys have been recognized as a “NJ SuperLawyer”®, several of whom have been so designated every year since the designation’s inception in 2005. The firm’s reputation for excellence has resulted in Stephen Skillman, former New Jersey Appellate Division Judge, and Linda Feinberg, retired Mercer Vicinage Assignment Judge, joining the firm upon recently retiring from the bench.
Szaferman Lakind has supported a variety of organizations including the American Cancer Society, SERV Behavioral Health Systems and Homefront. The firm also was a finalist for the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award, the US Department of Defense’s highest employer recognition for exceptional support for employees serving in the Guard and Reserve.
October 1, 2012
Lionel Frank, partner of the law firm of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader, PC, will be joining the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors effective October 1. According to the Chamber’s website, the organization’s members represent over 1,000 area businesses employing over 60,000 people.
“Lionel Frank is not only a respected member of the law profession but also of the Central New Jersey business community. We are honored to have him join our Board of Directors as he has made significant contributions to our Chamber, particularly in his work as a member of our Public Policy and Legislative Committee,” says Robert Prunetti, the Chamber’s president and CEO, “His energy and insight as a Board member will enhance our ability to serve our members with greater value and effectiveness.”
Frank, whose practice includes work on intellectual property, antitrust and land use issues, has been involved in the Chamber for five years, and says for the past two to three years has been involved in the Public Policy and Legislative Committee. He says committee members review proposed government laws and policies to determine their impact on the business community. Frank says those laws and policies, including land use policies, can “enhance or retard” business activities.
“I’d like the Chamber to play a leading role in advocating policies that advance commerce in Mercer county so we can attract new growth and create new, 21st century jobs., “ Frank says. He says the area needs to take advantage of under used assets like Mercer County Airport to help the area create jobs.
Frank says, “The Chamber of Commerce is a way to bring business interests together, along with other interests, so people of different view points can improve the community and live together.“
August 7, 2012
For Immediate Release
While the nation’s unemployment rate has increased, a Lawrenceville law firm continues to grow. Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein and Blader , P.C., is pleased to announce that Scott P. Borsack has returned to the firm to rejoin its business practice as a partner to assist in the continued growth of the practice. Borsack left the firm six years ago to join a firm in Center City, Philadelphia, where he served as the Chair of its Tax and Estates practice.
“Optimistic, forward thinking and aggressive,” is how Borsack describes Szaferman Lakind, and its plans for continued growth of its business practice. “It seems like there are limitless opportunities,” he says, “for a firm that can efficiently and effectively service clients.” “Such a firm” Borsack offered, “can thrive now and in the future.”
Borsack says he returned because Szaferman Lakind can handle a wide range of legal issues with enhanced client services and competitive rates as compared to larger law firms located in major metropolitan areas or their outposts in Mercer County. Most of these firms are burdened with high overhead costs which affect the cost of legal services. A business, especially one impacted by the sluggish economy, will have a hard time justifying the higher legal fees charged by a larger firm, given the quality of Szaferman Lakind’s legal services and the skills of its attorneys.
Borsack brings 25 years of experience advising clients on tax efficient means to structure business transactions, passing wealth between generations and defending clients before federal and state taxing authorities. He also represents decedents’ estates in administration and controversies involving wills and trusts.
Borsack says he’s weathered the economy well. Traditionally, he says his tax practice advising on mergers and acquisitions grows in a good economy, while gift and estate planning engagements increase in a slower economy. “Right now we’re busy doing both, so its seems to me that we have many positive elements at work in our current economy.”
Szaferman Lakind is gearing up for a bright future. “In the past several years we have concentrated our efforts on expanding our corporate and business law capabilities,” says Szaferman Lakind managing partner, Barry Szaferman, “We have added several key players, such as Ryan Marrone, who has extensive corporate experience, Richard Catalina, who is a skilled intellectual property lawyer and Daniel Sweetser, who practices in the labor and employment area.”
“With these talented additions to the business practice,” Borsack says, “the decision to return was an easy one. My former colleagues and long time friends demonstrated a dedication to servicing emerging growth and start up companies and I look forward to joining them in that work.”
Szaferman suggested that “(w)ith Scott’s tax background and experience, particularly that gained in Philadelphia over the past six years, and those who joined the firm recently, we have a solid product to offer to sophisticated technology and bio-pharma clients and now have a piece to the puzzle that we were missing without him.”
Szaferman Lakind has been serving the legal needs of individual and business clients for 35 years. Those interested in benefitting from the firm’s expertise and exceptional client service can reach the firm at (609) 275-0400.
September 27, 2011
For Immediate Release
The law firm of Szaferman Lakind announced today that Arnold Lakind has been presented with the Nizolek Award by The Mercer County Bar Association. The Nizolek Award is the Mercer County Bar Association’s most prestigious award, recognizing exceptional contribution to the field of law as well as the highest level of personal and professional ethics and conduct. The award was presented to Mr. Lakind at a black tie event at the Trenton Country Club this past Saturday.
“Arnie is an incredibly accomplished attorney and is truly deserving of this recognition from the Mercer County Bar Association. We all feel privileged to work with him”, said the firm’s managing partner Barry Szaferman.
Mr. Lakind, a founding shareholder of Szaferman Lakind, represents clients in commercial, environmental and land use litigation. He has over thirty reported judicial decisions and has argued several landmark cases before the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Mr. Lakind was instrumental in obtaining damages in Ayers v. Jackson Township, the Supreme Court’s seminal case on the types of compensable damages recoverable by individuals exposed to toxic chemicals. He has been selected as one of “The Best Lawyers in America, 2009 and for 2011″ in the area of Land Use and Zoning Law. He was named a “NJ SuperLawyer” in the field of General Litigation every year from 2005 through 2011.
In response to receiving the award, Mr. Lakind said, “I am very honored to receive this award from the Mercer County Bar Association. I have been extremely fortunate to work with terrific colleagues at our firm, in Mercer County and throughout the state.”
Szaferman Lakind is a Mercer County based law firm with a broad range of practice areas that include Matrimonial, Litigation, Business and Personal Injury. The firm has offered its clients exceptional legal guidance and representation for over 30 years.
For more information, please contact Nancy Street at email@example.com or call 609-275-0400, ext. 230.
September 21, 2011
For Immediate Release
The law firm of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein and Blader has announced that Ryan Marrone has been named a Partner. Mr. Marrone specializes in solar development and renewable energy, corporate law and project financing. According to Barry Szaferman, managing partner of Szaferman Lakind, “Ryan brings a strong entrepreneurial approach to representing business clients. His expertise in solar development and renewable energy uniquely positions our firm to participate in a developing sector of the economy”.
As part of his deep involvement with the solar industry, Mr. Marrone developed and implemented a business model for the design, build, operation, and maintenance of solar installations in industrial buildings. The model includes revenue generation from power purchase agreements with tenants and the sale of Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). “My goal at Szaferman Lakind is to make our firm the “go to” choice for businesses in New Jersey, particularly emerging business in emerging industries” said Mr Marrone.
Mr. Marrone has represented several Fortune 100 companies and is admitted to the bars of New Jersey, the United States District Court – District of New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. He serves on several community organizations and sits on the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – Hamilton, Professional Affairs Committee and Compliance Committee. Mr. Marrone received his B.A. in English from Seton Hall University and earned his J.D. from Widener University School of Law.
Szafermand Lakind is a Mercer County based law firm with a broad range of practice areas that include Matrimonial, Litigation, Business and Personal Injury. The firm has offered its clients exceptional legal guidance and representation for over 30 years.
For more information, please contact Nancy Street at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-275-0400, ext. 230.
September 14, 2011
For Immediate Release
Nathan M. Edelstein has joined the law firm of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein and Blader as a partner. Mr. Edelstein has had a distinguished career handling complex litigation in both State and Federal courts, with a specific focus on environmental law. According to Barry Szaferman, managing partner of Szaferman Lakind, “Nate is an exceptional attorney and a tremendous addition to our practice. His experience as a litigator, and in particular with environmental law, really bolsters our strength in these areas”.
Mr. Edelstein, who served as Deputy Attorney General in the State of New Jersey and has been in private practice since 1979, said “I am thrilled to be part of Szaferman Lakind and confident that I can make a significant contribution to the great success the firm has enjoyed for many years”. Mr. Edelstein has been Chairman of the Mercer County Bench-Bar Committee on Chancery practice and serves as a Master in the Mercer County American Inns of Court. Mr. Edelstein received his Juris Doctorate from Rutgers Law School and a Master Degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University.
Szafermand Lakind is a Mercer County based law firm with a broad range of practice areas that include, Litigation, Business Matrimonial and Personal Injury. For more information, please contact Nancy Street at email@example.com or call 609-275-0400, ext. 230.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Lawrence, NJ Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense agency, announced Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein and Blader, P.C. of Lawrenceville, New Jersey is a finalist for the 2011 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award. The Freedom Award is the DoD’s highest recognition given to employers for exceptional support of their employees serving in the Guard and Reserve. Szaferman Lakind is one of only 30 finalists selected from 4,049 nominations received earlier this year from Guard and Reserve service members or their families.
Szaferman Lakind was nominated by Robert Stevens, an employee in the Army National Guard. Szaferman Lakind pledged its full support when Mr. Stevens was deployed to Iraq just two months after they hired him as an attorney. The firm kept in close contact with his wife and two young children and provided him a computer with a video camera so he could communicate with his family. “This is truly a great example of a small business that has supported the military in every way possible,” Stevens said.
Barry Szaferman, the firm’s managing partner, said, “Our firm is honored to be selected by the DoD as a Freedom Award finalist, and we are honored to have an employee who serves our country as Bob Stevens does. Bob does the hard part, we just do what we believe is right”.
A national selection board comprised of senior defense officials, business leaders and prior awardees will select 15 recipients for the 2011 Freedom Award. The DoD is expected to announce the award recipients in early summer. Since 1996, only 145 companies have been presented the Freedom Award.
About Szaferman Lakind: Founded in 1977, the Law Office of Szaferman, Lakind, Blumstein & Blader, P.C. serves individuals, small businesses, institutions and other organizations throughout New Jersey For more information about Szaferman Lakind visit www.szaferman.com, or contact Nancy Street, at 609-275-0400, ext.230 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Freedom Award:
For more information about the Freedom Award, please visit www.FreedomAward.mil.