New York, NY - [June 3, 2024] - In a significant victory for the construction industry, trial attorney Maggy Mazlin obtained a unanimous defense verdict on liability in favor of her client during the trial of a high-stakes New York Labor Law case. In doing so, the defense steadfastly rejected a $4 million dollar demand from plaintiff.

For Mazlin, a New York based partner of Wood Smith Henning & Berman, this case represents yet another successful trial verdict. Mazlin exclaimed “securing a defense verdict is important for the construction industry, and the fact it was in Kings County is icing on the proverbial cake. I’m thrilled the jury carefully considered the evidence and came to the right conclusion. By convincing them to do so, we continue to send a strong message to the plaintiffs’ bar.”

The case, heard in Supreme Court, Kings County, involved a non-union mechanic who claimed severe injuries after falling on a sidewalk bridge. As a result, he alleged sustaining serious injuries, with permanent, residual disabilities after undergoing left knee arthroscopy, meniscectomy, synovectomy, and chondroplasty as well as right wrist arthroscopy, leaving him with complex regional pain syndrome, along with significant economic damages. However, the jury did not need to reach the issue of damages, as the defense's strong liability arguments swayed the jury to render a unanimous liability verdict in defendants’ favor. Mazlin ultimately persuaded the jury that her client was not liable by powerfully dissecting the evidence, attacking this plaintiff’s credibility, highlighting the absence of proof supporting his outlandish claims and successfully countering his allegations against the defendants.

New York’s Labor Law has recently played out in local and national headlines based on reports of rampant fraud, something brought to the forefront by the ground-breaking complaint filed by Tradesman Insurance invoking the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act. The well-known issues underpinning that complaint played out in real time in this case, when Mazlin sought leave to amend her client’s answer to allege fraud as an affirmative defense. In this way, the defense sought to address the collusion between treating physicians and the law firms representing their “patients,” which has been exposed by the Tradesman complaint. Although that application was denied, Mazlin and her team successfully laid bare the plaintiff's incredible version of events leading the jury to see right through it.

Tracy Abatemarco, co-managing partner of the New York office, commented on the significance of this verdict considering the tremendous impact which Labor Law liability has on the construction and insurance industries. As a thought leader in the field, Abatemarco has been at the forefront of exposing the pervasive fraud in Labor Law cases, which has attracted attention from the industry and media. Abatemarco emphasized that this defense verdict is likely to have far-reaching consequences for the plaintiff’s bar, as it highlights the issues they face and may pave the way for further fallout.

"We are pleased with the jury's decision, which vindicates our client's position and exposes the inconsistencies in the plaintiff's claims,” said Mazlin. “This verdict sends a strong message about the importance of truth and integrity in Labor Law cases."

Abatemarco and partner Bolam Kim prevailed in eliminating plaintiff’s claim pursuant to Section 240(1) of the Labor Law, which would have imposed strict or absolute liability on WSHB’s general contractor client and the codefendant, property manager. That Section 240(1) claim was dismissed in response to our strong, pretrial summary judgment motion. The claims that survived dismissal were based on alleged violations of Section 241(6) (as predicated on two Industrial Code sections), Section 200 and common law negligence.

The defense team, consisting of partner Bolam Kim, associate Chloe Hassenfratz, and trial team manager Amy Curley, played instrumental roles in securing this victory. Their expertise, dedication, and strategic approach were critical in presenting a compelling case that ultimately led to the defense verdict.

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