News & Achievements
Yesterday, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals upheld almost $4 million in damages awarded to Elijah Turley by the United States District Court in Buffalo, as a result of his employment discrimination and harassment claims against his former employer, Arcelor-Mittal Steel.
Although the Court reduced the punitive damages portion of the judgment from $5 million to $2.6 million, it turned away almost every argument made by the defendants on appeal.
The court noted that Mr. Turley had "endured an extraordinary and steadily intensifying drumbeat of racial insults, intimidation, and degradation over a period of more than three years." The court noted that the employer's "meager investigations and nearly total lack of action failed to stop the escalating abuse; instead, managers often appeared to condone or even participate in part in the harassment."
While the court observed that few recorded cases had dealt with an "award of quite this magnitude" ($1.32 million) in damages for pain and suffering, the reason for this is that this level of harassment and mistreatment had never before been reported, and "the case before us appears to be unique."
Brown and Kelly, and trial counsel Donald B. Eppers, were honored to represent Mr. Turley in his efforts to obtain justice for what he endured.
As construction continues, this photograph shows the framing of the curved glass wall of our future large
conference room. The middle portion will be stained hardwood which will have
our logo mounted on it.
We are proud to announce that Kenneth A. Krajewski, Renata Kowalczuk, Donald B. Eppers, Jessica J. Burgasser, Andrew D. Merrick and Paul Michael Hassett were selected as Super Lawyers 2014. Inclusion in Super Lawyers is based on a rigorous, multi-step selection process, which includes background and experience as well as peer review recommendation.
We are also pleased to announce that Kathleen T Feroleto has been selected as a Rising Star to the Super Lawyers list for 2014. The selection as a Super Lawyer Rising Star is a great honor, not only because it recognizes outstanding achievement, but also because it is dependent upon the recommendation of peers. Less than 2.5% of lawyers in each state are named Rising Stars.
On June 12, 2014, in the case of Hamilton v. Miller et al., the New York State Court of Appeals addressed whether a plaintiff has to supply medical narrative reports diagnosing every condition or injury alleged in plaintiff’s bill of particulars prior to an independent medical examination. The Court answered in the negative.
In Hamilton, plaintiffs’ attorney alleged over fifty (50) injuries in the Bill of Particulars, including kidney damage, liver damage, eye damage, and neurological damage with related cognitive and behavior problems. The plaintiffs provided no medical evidence regarding most of the injuries and disclosed no medical diagnoses linking their injuries to the lead exposure. The only "evidence" they provided were their diagnoses of elevated lead levels (a lead level of 35 in one case and a lead level of 58 in the other).
Before conducting independent medical examinations under CPLR Section 3121, six defendant landlords moved pursuant to 22 N.Y.C.R.R. 202.17 to compel the plaintiffs to produce any medical reports diagnosing them with the injuries alleged in the Bill of Particulars, and causally relating those injuries to lead exposure. The Supreme Court agreed and ordered the plaintiffs to produce the disclosure to the independent medical examination as it would be fundamentally unfair and contrary to the spirit and intent of 22NYCRR202.17 to force defendants to conduct IMEs in a vacuum. The Fourth Department affirmed.
The New York State Court of Appeals reversed. The Court held that the trial level order imposed unduly burdensome obligations not contemplated by 22 N.Y.C.R.R. 202.17. The Court held the regulation requires only the disclosure of medical reports by medical providers who have previously treated or examined the party seeking recovery, whereas the disclosure sought by the defendants was akin to expert disclosure. For the plaintiff to succeed at trial, the plaintiff will likely need to retain an expert to review the medical records and render the type of causation opinion contemplated by the defendants. However, nothing in the language of 22 N.Y.C.R.R. 202.17 required a plaintiff to make such disclosure at this early stage in litigation, i.e., pre independent medical examination.
The Court of Appeals further indicated that the proper way to deal with issues regarding expert disclosure would be for defendants to ask the individual Judges to amend, or issue, scheduling orders requiring plaintiffs produce expert disclosure at an earlier date. Thus, defense counsel must request the Court order plaintiff to provide expert disclosure prior to the defense expert disclosure deadline, and in advice of 30 days before trial.
At Canisius College, the LaSalle Medal is presented periodically to outstanding alumni who have made substantial contributions to advance the interests of the college. Paul Michael Hassett Jr. from the Class of 1962 is one of two recipients to have been selected to receive the 2014 LaSalle Medal.
The Medal was presented to Paul at the college’s 148th Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 17, 2014 at the Koessler Athletic Center.
As a recipient of this honorary award, Paul joined President John J. Hurley and other key institutional leaders as a member of the platform party.
Brown & Kelly, LLP again participated in the Lawyers for Learning Bowling Tournament. The Lawyers for Learning program matches volunteers from the legal community to students in grades one through eight who are academically at risk and/or financially disadvantaged in order to improve their academic performance, build self-esteem, provide profession role-modeling and increase self-confidence. Kathleen T. Feroleto is a volunteer tutor with the program.
The combined efforts of bowlers Renata Kowalczuk, Managing Partner, and Rebecca Koenig, Litigation Paralegal and Administration and Personnel Manager, lead to them winning “The Worst Bowler” trophy for the evening. Dawn Lindner, the firm’s Litigation Medical Coordinator, coordinated our participation and school supplies donations, as well as bowling at the event. The other bowlers were: Kristen B. Degnan and Shea Kolar, Attorneys; Kristie Marshall, Paralegal; Laura Young, Bookkeeper; Teresa Cleary, Legal Assistant; and a few significant others.
Mentioned Attorney: Kathleen T. Feroleto
Mentioned Attorney: Jessica J. Burgasser
On April 10, 2014, Kristen B. Degnan was invited to speak to a senior level class at D’Youville College on Workers Compensation Law. Her presentation was geared toward including the perspectives of both employers and employees. She also offered many useful tips to the class. Thank you Kristen for your volunteer spirit as I am sure the class also appreciated your insightful tips and the time you offered out of your busy schedule.
Attorneys Jessica Burgasser and Kathleen Feroleto traveled to a paper mill with our expert witness to perform a site inspection. Both attorneys put on their safety gear to prepare for an upcoming trial regarding an asbestos related matter.
November 13, 2013: Brown & Kelly remembers Julia Roberts, our dear friend and colleague, who passed away one year ago today. Julia was an integral part of the Brown & Kelly family and we continue to mourn her loss. We will forever remember Julia and reflect on her spirit, dedication and personality. We are proud to remember that Julia loved her job, her friends at Brown & Kelly, and her many many friends in the asbestos litigation community. We take comfort in knowing that she will never be replaced nor forgotten.
On June 12, 2012, a jury in the Western District Federal Court awarded plaintiff Elijah Turley a twenty-five million dollar ($25,000,000.00) verdict. The lawsuit was commenced on behalf of Elijah Turley against ArcelorMittal in 2006 for Hostile Work Environment and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. Mr. Turley was represented by Donald B. Eppers and assisted by paralegal Rebecca E. Koenig of Brown & Kelly LLP.
The jury found a Hostile Work Environment existed along with Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. The plaintiff presented evidence of a work environment permeated by racial discrimination. Plaintiff argued the activities in question went beyond harassment and included such incidents as "KKK" graffiti repeatedly sprayed on the walls and a stuffed monkey with a noose around its neck hanging from the plaintiff’s vehicle.
Elijah Turley and his family are very pleased that justice was finally obtained. We have a tremendous amount of respect for the jury in this case.
Mentioned Attorney: Donald B. Eppers
Brown & Kelly has been awarded the Law Firm Commitment Award from the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Western New York for its strong commitment to providing pro bono legal assistance.
Donald B. Eppers, William D. Harrington, Paul Michael Hassett, Kenneth A. Krajewski, and Andrew D. Merrick have been named Super Lawyers by New York Super Lawyers Magazine, 2010 Upstate Edition. Inclusion in Super Lawyers is based on a rigorous, multi-step selection process, which includes background and experience as well as peer review recommendation. The selection as a Super Lawyer is a great honor, not only because it recognizes outstanding achievement, but also because it is dependent upon the recommendation of peers.
Jessica J. Burgasser has been appointed Co-Vice Chair of the Social Media subcommittee at the Defense Research Institute.
Kenneth A. Krajewski will serve as the Buffalo Chair for the New York State Bar Association's program "Law School for Insurance Professionals" to be held in Buffalo on September 28, 2011. He will also speak on current auto liability and coverage issues at the Program when given in Albany on September 23, 2011.
Donald B. Eppers will speak on June 9, 2011 at the Erie Institute of Law program "Secrets of Successful Advocates in Mediation".