Verdicts and Settlements
Sullivan Papain has recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for firefighters in a wide variety of cases. SPBMC’S lawyers are not only the leading experts in advocating for firefighters injured in the line of duty, but also in a wide variety of personal injury-related legal matters.
Here is just a sampling of the results SPBMC has achieved on behalf of New York’s Bravest. (To read more about our results across a number of practice areas visit our firm website.)
Firefighter Injury Cases
Reopened September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (2011 to present) – Over $575 Million in Awards Recovered To Date
With the passage of the James Zadroga Act in January 2011, the Victim Compensation Fund reopened and began accepting claims for compensation in November 2011. The first awards were issued in January 2013, and, to date, SPBMC has recovered over $575 Million for its clients, including the largest single award of $4.133 Million.
September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (2002-2003) — $260 Million in Awards
For 362 injured Firefighters and Fire Officers and families of deceased Firefighters and Fire Officers in claims filed with the first 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. SPBMC obtained more than $260 Million for these heroes and their families for absolutely no fee. Not taking any fees, was our way of giving back to the community of New York’s Bravest, who had lost so much on that day.
Black Sunday Fire — Nearly $183 Million in Settlements
For three Firefighters who were injured, and the families of two Firefighters who died, as a result of an apartment building fire in the Bronx. We brought suit against the building owner for building code violations, including the illegal partitioning of the fire apartment, and the City of New York for failing to provide its firefighters with personal safety ropes. After a six month trial, SPBMC won a $183 Million Verdict against both the City and the Landlord. It is the largest verdict ever obtained against the City of New York in a personal injury action.*
9/11 World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation — Over $100 Million Settlement
Following the closing of the first 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund in 2003, Firefighters and Fire Officers, who had been become sickened as a result of their exposures to toxins at the World Trade Center rescue and recovery site, continued to seek our help. In 2004, SPBMC filed the first lawsuits against the City of New York and its contractors for their failure to provide proper respiratory equipment to Rescue and Recovery Workers at the WTC Disaster Site. After a long and hard fought litigation, we succeeded in securing a settlement of more than $100 Million for our 675 First Responder clients.
Firefighters Killed in Supermarket Fire — $13.5 Million Settlement
Reached at trial for the widows of six Firefighters killed, and several Firefighters injured, at a supermarket fire when the roof on which they were fighting the fire suddenly and unexpectedly collapsed. We claimed that the building did not contain the proper fire-stopping walls in violation of the building code, causing the fire to spread much more rapidly and, in turn, for the roof to collapse prematurely.
Firefighter – Unsafe Flooring — $6 Million Settlement
For the family of a 41-year-old Fire Captain, while working at scene of a fire, fell through an improperly supported floor resulting in burns over 75% of body and ultimately in his death.
Firefighter Killed – Lack of Sprinkler System — $ 5.99 Million Settlement
For our client, a firefighter, who suffered a serious shoulder injury while fighting a fire. Reached at trial for the family of a 30-year old Firefighter, who was killed in a building fire due to the lack of a sprinkler system and other unsafe conditions.
Firefighter – Lack of Self-Closing Doors — Death $5.2 Million Settlement
Reached at trial for the family of a 27-year-old Firefighter, who succumbed to smoke in a building when the fire spread due to the improper removal of self-closing door mechanisms and because the standpipe had been turned off.
Firefighter Struck by Car — $2.3 Million Verdict
For a Firefighter who was struck by a car when he jumped off his fire truck to assist in guiding the truck into the firehouse. He sustained serious and disabling fractures of his ankle, requiring surgery. The jury found the driver of the car to be 100% at fault.
Firefighter Injured – Unsafe Premises — $2 Million Verdict
For a Firefighter who suffered a serious shoulder injury while fighting a fire. We successfully demonstrated to the jury that the vacant building was not properly secured, which allowed vandals to remove the doors, piping and structural components and which created an increased risk of harm to our firefighter.
Firefighter Killed in Floor Collapse — $2 Million Settlement
For the family of a FDNY Lieutenant, who was killed when the floor he was on collapsed as he was investigating the progress of a fire in a vacant dwelling.
Firefighter Improperly Intubated — $1.5 Million Settlement
For the family of a Fire Lieutenant, who died when he was improperly intubated by ambulance personnel after he collapsed at the scene of a fire.
Firefighter Hit by Fire Engine —$1.3 Million Settlement
For a 41-year-old Firefighter, who suffered several serious fractures to his left leg and foot which required multiple surgeries, as a result of a fire truck backing up and running over his leg.
Firefighter Hit by Taxi — $1.2 Million Settlement
For a 41-year-old Firefighter who was standing behind his double-parked fire truck when a taxi cab crashed into it, causing him to sustained permanently disabling fractures of his right leg requiring multiple surgeries.
Firefighter Fall on Debris — $1.2 Million Settlement
For a 43-year-old Firefighter, while responding to a fire at a construction site, fell on debris herniating 2 lumbar discs which required a surgical fusion.
Firefighter Killed in Illegal Occupancy Fire — $1.1 Million Settlement
Reached at trial for the family of a Fire Lieutenant, who became lost and disoriented, during a fire, in a smoke-filled 2nd-floor storage room causing him to fall out a vented large floor-to-ceiling window to his death. We proved that the landlord had illegally converted the room into a storage room, which did not have the legally required second means of egress or proper fire stopping material.
Firefighter Hit by Fire Engine — Crushed Foot $1 Million Settlement
For a 42-year old Fire Lieutenant, who sustained crush injuries to his foot requiring multiple surgeries, as a result of a fire truck running over his foot.
Firefighters — Employment Rights
We successfully challenged a recent FDNY attempt to circumvent the “merit & fitness” provisions of the State Constitution for civil service hiring by invalidating a scheme to give hiring preferences to EMS workers seeking to become firefighters. The plan to call such hiring “promotions” was struck down by the Court.
*The case thereafter settled for $73 Million, with the Landlord paying $43 Million and the City of New York $30 Million.
Product Liability Cases
Pool Accident — $5 Million Recovered
Our client, a 2-year-old girl, nearly drowned in an improperly installed above-ground pool. In addition to obtaining contributions from the pool owner, the pool seller, the pool installer and the filter manufacturer, we defeated a specific policy exclusion and recovered $1,000,000 from the insurance carrier for our client’s own parents.
Electrocution — $3 Million Recovered
Our client was left in a persistent vegetative state after electrocuting himself on a machine he had hot-wired to move under its own power, rather than push. We successfully argued that the machine had a defective safety switch which, if operating properly, would have prevented electrocution.
Maritime Accident — $1.8 Million Recovered
Our client was rendered a paraplegic after falling from the upper deck to the lower deck of a cabin cruiser. We successfully argued that the hatch, like any opening in a well-traveled floor, should have a cover or guard around it if it is left open.
Municipal Liability Cases
Woman Struck By Subway Train — $14.6 Million Verdict
Against the Transit Authority and in favor of our client, a 36-year old woman, who lost part of her hand and received serious skull fractures when she was hit while on the subway tracks. We proved that the train operator had been warned of her presence but he nevertheless failed to bring the train to a safe stop.
Police Car Strikes Pedestrian — $14.45 Million Verdict
Against the City of New York for the negligent operation of a police car that struck down a pedestrian crossing in the middle of the block resulting in permanent and disabling brain damage. The Jury found the police officer to be 100% at fault.
Defective Crosswalk – Pedestrian Falls — $3 Million Recovered
Our client was injured when she walked into a pothole that had been created as a result of defective roadway repairs. She severely injured her shoulder which required surgery. The jury agreed that the defective repairs had been negligently made.
Medical Malpractice Cases
Twin Brain Damaged at Birth — $61.66 Million Verdict
In favor of our client, an injured twin (Twin “B”), who was delivered 42 minutes after his brother, (Twin “A”) without being continually monitored for fetal distress. Twin “B” suffered asphyxia shortly prior to birth. We proved to the jury that proper monitoring would have revealed signs of oxygen deprivation, which would have warranted an earlier delivery via cesarean section. Twin “B”, now age 6 is intelligent, but requires the assistance of a walker or wheelchair and has difficulty with his speech. His brother, Twin “A”, is fine.
Failure to Diagnose Breast Cancer — $7.65 Million Verdict
In favor of our client, who had a mammogram/sonogram of her left breast. The sonogram revealed three small cysts. The doctor in the case did not follow up on that finding over the next two years. The doctor’s negligence caused the cancer to spread to the bones and then to the lungs, making the disease terminal and depriving the patient of any chance of cure or recovery.
Mishap During Heart Surgery — $3.5 Million Settlement
Reached at trial for our client, a one-month old baby, who was operated on for heart surgery. We claimed that during the surgery the hospital physicians negligently impaired the circulation in the infant’s leg and thereby caused it to be amputated.
Improper Emergency Room Treatment — $3.1 Million Recovered
Reached on eve of trial against the hospital where our 16-year-old client was taken after being hit by a motor vehicle while riding his bicycle. We asserted that he suffered from permanent brain damage as a result of the failure to timely diagnose and treat the head trauma he suffered in the accident.
General Negligence Cases
Shark Attack — $2.1 Million Recovered
For a 38-year-old banker had his left leg amputated as a result of a shark attack. An action was brought against the resort because it allowed swimming at its beach despite its proximity to a shark feeding area.
Student Injured on School Trip — $1.95 Million Verdict
For our client, a third grade student on a school trip, who was struck by a taxicab. The student’s shoelace became untied and when she reported it to the school aide, she was not permitted to stop and tie it. Rather, she was told to keep moving so that they would not lose the rest of the group. When she got to the intersection, someone stepped on her untied shoelace, causing her to fall and roll on the street where she was hit by a taxicab. The student suffered from multiple fractures to her right leg. The jury found the Board of Education 85% liable and the taxicab 15% liable.
Maritime Accident — $1.8 Million Recovered
For our client, a woman who was rendered a paraplegic after falling from the upper deck to the lower deck of a cabin cruiser. We successfully argued that the hatch, like any opening in a well-traveled floor, should have a cover or guard around it if it is left open.
Slip and Fall Accident — $1.67 Million Recovered
For our client, a 51-year-old woman, who slipped on an advertisement placed on a sidewalk. The material the advertisement was made of became slippery when it rained. The client suffered injuries to her knee.
Pedestrian Struck by Bicycle — $1 Million Recovered
For a 51-year-old pedestrian and father of two was struck by a bicycle going the wrong way on a one-way street, causing him to sustain a head injury which ultimately resulted in his death.
Beach Party Accident — $1.05 Million Recovered
For a 17-year-old high school student was at a beach party when one of the attendees threw a gas canister into a bonfire which exploded and cut the left side of her head. Injuries included a skull fracture with open reduction and internal fixation.
*These results do not guarantee a similar outcome.