General Liability Defense
Since the firm’s founding, Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. has handled a wide variety of general liability defense matters for businesses, individuals and insurance clients, including personal injury, wrongful death, toxic torts, commercial products, civil rights, lead paint poisoning, construction, negligent supervision, property damage, negligent security and landlord-tenant claims. We also handle a significant number of general liability cases for self-insured clients, including companies engaged in manufacturing, construction, retailing, and trucking. Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. attorneys take a proactive, aggressive approach to the defense of general liability lawsuits. We carefully assess each suit and conduct a thorough investigation of the facts surrounding the alleged loss or injury. The firm has also successfully handled many of these cases on appeal.
Our extensive experience in medical malpractice defense and full time on-staff nurse paralegal provide invaluable insight into the evaluation and minimization of potential damages awards to plaintiffs. Similarly, our active insurance practice enables us to handle any coverage issues that might arise in the defense of general liability claims including the direct defense of insurance companies in coverage disputes, declaratory judgment actions and bad faith suits. The firm works closely with not only its clients but their insurers in achieving a satisfying and successful resolution to these types of cases to achieve well-considered and cost-effective outcomes.
NYS Labor Law (Scaffold Law) & Construction Defect
Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. attorneys regularly handle the representation of defendants in bodily injury claims brought under New York Labor Law 200, 240 and 241 and handle the investigation and defense of construction site accidents and injury claims. Firm attorneys are active in the defense and prosecution of contractual and common law defense and indemnity rights. We regularly handle construction accident claims against owners of premises during original construction or renovation work, and claims alleging improper design, construction, or maintenance of plazas, buildings, parking lots, and apartments. We are also fully familiar with the processes necessary for investigation, initiation and prosecution of indemnity and third party actions.
Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. has extensive experience representing distributors, retailers, and manufacturers of diverse products, ranging from intricate medical devices to complex industrial equipment, in the full range of product liability matters. Representative clients have included manufacturers of computer keyboards, motorcycles, tires, chemicals, fertilizers, kitchen equipment, cosmetics, industrial machinery, toxic substances, chemical containers, explosives, paints, clothing, escalators, elevators, alarm systems, fire-protection systems, electrical equipment, small appliances, abrasives, commercial batteries, industrial heating/air conditioning units, snowmobiles, and sporting goods. This array of products has provided a challenge and an education as well as lasting expertise.
Manufacturers of some of these products and services have included Bandit Industries, Inc., BMW North America, Inc., Carrier Corporation, Cybex, FMC Corp., Graphite Sales, Inc., Harley-Davidson, Hobart Manufacturing Company, Honda Inc., Ingersoll Rand, Inc., International Comfort Products, New Castle Battery, Otis Elevator Company, Park Corporation, Peerless Heater Company, Polaris Industries, Inc., Pratt & Whitney, Inc., United Technologies, Valco Cincinnati, Inc., White Consolidated Industries, Inc., and Yamaha Corp.
Our attorneys are fully familiar with the steps necessary for carriers, and their insureds, to prepare a proper investigation, assemble experts as necessary, assure containment, and to mount the best defense available.
Medical Device & Drug Product Liability
The firm has defended various manufacturers of ethical drugs and medical devices including Ciba-Geigy (contact lens cases for Cibavision); Synthes USA (orthopedic plates, screws, etc.); Johnson & Johnson/Ethicon (sutures); Clinipad (surgical prep kits); Baxter Healthcare, Corp. (TISSEEL); Warner Lambert (DPT vaccine); Zimmer (formerly Centerpulse, pedicle screw lawsuit); Upjohn (Provera, Depo-Provera); and American Home Products and Wyeth-Ayerst (Penicillin G, Premarin). We have also been involved in latex glove litigation. Respresentation has been direct as well as through their insurance carriers.
The firm represents numerous physicians and other health care providers such as nurses, nursing homes, infant homes, MRI facilities, Physical Therapy facilities, etc. and is regularly retained for medical malpractice defense matters. In our corporate department we have close to 30 years of extensive experience representing the medical community in our Health Law practice. A thorough knowledge of the responsibilities, governance, and licensing requirements of medical personnel and a clear understanding of the terminology associated with these professions is key. The firm’s experience in insurance defense, and the representation of professional medical corporations in its business and corporate practice ensures a successful representation of these matters.
For decades, our firm has represented several major automobile liability insurers and the people and businesses that they insure, and our attorneys are well-skilled in this area of practice.
Our attorneys routinely appear in front of various arbitrators in the American Arbitration system on No-Fault and SUM matters. We review arbitration demands that clients receive and prepare the client’s evidence submission and position statement for the arbitration. This can entail obtaining statements and affidavits from individuals as well as drafting legal memoranda. We argue the client’s position at the arbitration by pointing out pertinent information in the documents submitted, pointing out flaws in the applicant’s evidence, vigorously cross-examining the applicant, subpoenaing witnesses to provide testimony, and subpoenaing the requisite documents for the arbitration to support the client’s position. We handle arbitrations across the state for clients via live appearance, telephone, or video teleconference.
We also have a reputation in the community where we can contact an applicant’s counsel to have a frank discussion with them on their arbitration demand. We discuss with them fatal flaws in their arbitration demand to the extent that the applicant has withdrawn either with prejudice or without prejudice pending providing additional information to the client the arbitration demand.
We also represent clients in arbitrations with Arbitration Forums, Inc. For many self insurers or insurers, particularly in the trucking industry, we have provided sound advice on how to proceed with mandatory loss transfer arbitrations in this forum. We have also represented many insurers in special arbitrations in Arbitration Forums regarding complex insurance coverage issues. We have also represented insurers on substantial property damage arbitrations in this forum.
Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. represents building owners, property owners, restaurants and retail establishments in actions alleging personal injuries due to defective and dangerous conditions located on the premises. The firm regularly defends clients in a wide variety of premises liability matters from slip and fall claims, both inside and outside establishments, to falling merchandise and product related injury claims. In this context, we also handle tenders of indemnification to the outside vendors, landlords or developers responsible for maintenance activities on the premises including interior issues such as cleaning services or repair work, to exterior issues such as snow removal and parking lot repairs.
The firm also handles claims against owners of premises involving allegations of improper design, construction or maintenance of buildings, stores, plazas, malls, parking lots and apartment complexes.
In addition to handling the defense of premises liability claims, the firm also partners with its clients to assist in identifying and implementing appropriate risk prevention and management protocols, such as formulation of periodic inspection and maintenance procedures, identification and implementation of appropriate and effective security systems and personnel, accident response and investigative protocols, document retention guidelines for such vital information as inspection and maintenance records, spill response records, security video retention, cataloging and storage issues involving preservation of evidence.
The firm also has a 24 Hour Emergency Response Team which has developed a protocol for handling emergency situations and has 24 hour contact information for a carefully selected and vetted panel of experts to respond in serious accidents to preserve evidence, contain damages and help mount the best possible defense.
Toxic Tort/Environmental Law
Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. has been active in the practice of environmental law dating back to the Love Canal litigation in 1979 in which we represented one of the prime defendants. The firm currently handles a wide range of environmental and toxic tort matters, including claims involving exposure to asbestos, lead, mold and silica.
Asbestos exposure continues to be a major source of litigation and we have successfully defended hundreds of asbestos exposure claims in upstate New York, up to and including trial and appeal. With the number of viable non-bankrupt defendants in asbestos litigation dwindling, plaintiffs’ firms are constantly seeking new avenues and novel theories to prosecute their claims. We represent defendants throughout the supply chain, including product manufacturers, suppliers, installers, end-users, and premises owners.
Our firm offers significant experience in defending lead paint poisoning claims across New York State. This unique complex litigation, with non-standard theories of liability, continues to be active, as plaintiffs claim permanent, irreversible brain damage, behavioral changes, and other neurological, and physiological injuries as a result of lead-poisoning. We defend property owners, landlords, property managers, and agents throughout the state, who are alleged to have provided deficient housing. We also have experience defending employers and contractors in suits arising out of occupational exposure to lead.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. is committed to the disposition of claims in a prompt, efficient and cost effective manner. Wherever possible, we consider the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution. Among our attorneys are court appointed and certified arbitrators and mediators who, even in traditional matters and transactions, utilize the key negotiation skills acquired through decades of arbitration and mediation experience. A hallmark of mediation is its capacity to go beyond traditional settlement discussions and explore creative outcomes responsive to the participants' needs and interests.
Firm President Ann E. Evanko, underwent an extensive Court-sponsored mediator training program through the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution and serve on the United States District Court for the Western District of New York’s approved mediation panel. Ms. Evanko is also a trained commercial mediator through the New York State Court. Firm coverage team leader, Dan D. Kohane, has extensive experience mediating complex casualty and insurance coverage disputes, serves on the American Arbitration Association Complex Coverage Neutral Evaluation Panel and has completed American Arbitration Association Commercial Arbitration training. In addition, litigation chair, Michael F. Perley, has been asked to serve as a neutral, both as mediator and arbitrator, in numerous cases and, recently, has been appointed and certified to the panel of Federal Mediators in the Western District of New York.
Our Appellate Practice attorneys practice before the New York State Appellate Divisions, New York Court of Appeals and the Second Circuit on a frequent basis. This practice involves motion practice, perfection of appeals and requests for emergency relief. The firm has consistently succeeded in preserving lower court decisions in favor of our clients, as well as reversing less favorable decisions.
Professional Errors & Omissions
Since its founding in 1977, Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. has successfully defended the full range of professional malpractice claims. In addition to defending errors and omissions matters, a significant portion of the firm’s practice involves the comprehensive representation of professionals in their business and transactional matters including physicians, corporate directors and officers, accountants, investment brokers, insurance agents and brokers, real estate brokers, dentists, architects and engineers, and the medical and dental schools at our local university. We also had the unique experience of creating a medical malpractice insurance carrier which included corporate structure, tax issues, regulatory approvals and negotiations with state authorities and agencies.
As Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. regularly advises professionals on risk management strategy, practice group formation, pension plan establishment, and the full gamut of issues that a professional practitioner would face, we bring a well-grounded knowledge of the responsibilities, governance, ethical standards, licensing requirements, and terminology associated with the professions which enhances our ability to defend claims of professional negligence and malfeasance.
We are fully experienced in defending Errors and Omissions claims in:
- Accounting Malpractice
- Architects & Engineers Errors & Omissions
- Director & Officers Errors & Omissions
- Employment Practices Liability
- Healthcare Liability
- Legal Malpractice
- Real Estate Agents & Brokers Errors & Omissions
- Insurance Agents & Brokers Errors & Omissions
- Investment/Financial Institution Agents & Brokers Errors & Omissions
Our firm enjoys a national reputation as a leader in the area of insurance coverage and extra contractual liability and professional liability insurance companies often come to us for coverage analysis and opinions in relation to professional liability claims. Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. has extensive experience representing these professionals in actions by private parties and governmental entities, including addressing allegations of violations of the Martin Act.
Retail & Hospitality Liability
Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. has extensive experience aggressively defending national and regional retail and hospitality clients against all types of general liability claims, including premises liability, product liability, negligent construction and display, food contamination, liquor law liability, false arrest, negligent security claims and other tort actions, as well as handling employment matters. We have represented retailers (including shopping malls, department stores, chain stores, discount retailers, pharmacies, grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stations), hotels, restaurants, restaurant suppliers, bars, health clubs and theme parks. We also provide risk mitigation counseling to these clients, helping to establish policies and procedures to assist in protecting the business in its operation while improving litigated outcomes.
Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. regularly counsels clients on this evolving area of litigation as businesses seek to manage risk regarding data breaches in which personal information such as credit card or Social Security numbers are exposed or stolen. We also advise clients on the nuances of coverage of cyber liability matters.
Medical Malpractice & Nursing Home Liability
Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. has extensive experience defending malpractice claims against health care professionals and practice groups, rehabilitation centers, long term and short term adult care facilities, having taken a leading position in Western New York in both health care law and professional malpractice defense. We vigorously protect and defend physicians, clinicians, dentists, nurses and other health care providers in the full range of litigated matters. As a firm that also has the beneficial insight of decades of experience in the full range of medical professional matters ranging from licensing, disciplinary matters, business formation, to credentialing and compliance, our long standing relationship representing the medical community affords us a truly unique perspective. We have an on-staff nurse consultant to conduct medical record review and analysis, as well as a multitude of carefully vetted and developed medical experts to help mount the best possible defense. Hurwitz & Fine, P.C. has considerable experience with the complex interrelations among private practice, third party payers, drug product manufacturers, hospital affiliation and insurance defense and are able to successfully navigate those areas.