Legislation Introduced to Rename Portion of Route 45 After Heroic Spring Valley Firefighter Jared Lloyd

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Premises Liability

The New York State Legislature plans to rename a portion of Route 45 after volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd. He died fighting a fire at an assisted living home in Rockland County in March 2021. This tragedy underscores the importance of upholding integrity in local building inspections to keep citizens and first responders safe.

Jared Lloyd Gave His Life in Service of Others

Press conference to announce proposed renaming of Route 45

Jared Lloyd, a 35-year-old father of two boys, lost his life in a fire at the Evergreen Court Home for Adults in Spring Valley on March 23, 2021. He had rescued one resident and went back in to save another when the smoke and flames overcame him– prompting a mayday call just before the second floor of the building collapsed. His body was recovered in the rubble 24 hours later. Lloyd had been a member of Columbian Fire Engine Co. No. 1 in Spring Valley for more than 15 years.

One other resident, 77-year-old resident Oliver Huested, also perished in the blaze. Twenty of the 112 residents were taken to area hospitals– some with serious injuries. Twenty-three fire companies responded to put out the fire. Two firefighters were injured, with one treated for smoke inhalation.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day said at a news conference. “Jared Lloyd gave his life in service to others. He searched as the building burned, determined to rescue anyone who may have been trapped; his loss is devastating. There is no other way to put it. But I will tell you this– his loss and his heroism will never be forgotten.” His mother, Sabrail Davenport, said, “Jared has been a good son, always loved putting his life before others. He had a passion for service since high school.”

Criminal and Civil Lawsuits Filed in the Fire’s Aftermath

The building was deemed a total loss. Rockland County Department of Health officials reported that smoke detector and sprinkler reports were found in compliance when last checked in December 2019. Denise Kerr, Director of Evergreen Court Home, issued a statement that the center had been inspected multiple times by local authorities in 2020, with no fire safety citations or violations found.

Three months later however, these reports were called into question when authorities arrested four men— including two village building inspectors, a rabbi, and his son. Rabbi Nathaniel Sommer and his son, Aaron Sommer, are alleged to have started the fire by using torches to burn the ovens out– part of a kosher cleansing of kitchens ritual for Passover. The Sommers are charged with multiple felonies, including manslaughter, assault in the second degree, and arson in the fourth degree, as well as misdemeanors of assault and second-degree reckless endangerment.

In addition, village building inspectors Wayne Ballard and Raymond Canario stand accused of filing false reports with the state. Offering a false instrument for filing is a felony, while second-degree falsifying business records count as a misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor arrest warrants were also issued for Evergreen Court employees Denise Kerr and Manuel Lema of Pomona for their actions before the start of the fire. These actions included shutting off the connection to the county fire communications center before the Passover preparations.

Kerr faces second-degree reckless endangerment. Lema faces second-degree criminal impersonation and second-degree obstructing governmental administration. Investigators are also examining whether a lack of water pressure interfered with the firefighter response effort. Attorneys at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green are handling numerous civil claims on behalf of the family of the fallen firefighter Jared Lloyd against all those alleged to have caused this preventable tragedy.

New York Legislature Proposes Renaming a Portion of Route 45 After Jared Lloyd

Lawsuits and arrests are a positive step forward in demanding accountability. Though nothing can bring back Jared Lloyd, local officials wanted to recognize the bravery and sacrifice of the local hero. State assembly members Michael Lawyer and Kenneth Zebrowski introduced a bill in the lower chamber to rename a portion of Route 45 after Jared Lloyd, which will be carried through the Senate by Elijah Reichlin-Melnick. It is expected to pass and be signed into law by the governor in early June.

Legislators met with family members outside the Hillcrest Fire Department on Route 45 on February 10. New York State Representative Ken Zebrowski said, “The most important thing we can do is change the culture of noncompliance, and make sure everyone realizes that enforcement– fire code, zoning code– is not just words on a page, but it is the mechanism that keeps our firefighters safe and our citizens safe.”

Hurt in a Fire? We Can Help You Seek Justice.

Contact the experienced lawyers at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green to pursue a premises liability claim. We handle cases from New York City, including Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Long Island. Our team has the resources and track record to win. Call now for a free case review.

More Fatalities and Injuries Reported in Bronx Fire

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Premises Liability

Fire truck driving with speed blur

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. is deeply saddened by the Bronx Fire that killed at least 17 people as of today. News like this is especially devastating when it happens right here in our own city, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families. Any preventable loss of life is unacceptable, and we call on public officials to fully investigate the causes and put preventative measures in place to make sure tragedies like this don’t happen again. Our leading personal injury and premises liability lawyers investigate cases where lapses in product safety and landlord negligence have unnecessarily put tenants at risk. Contact us now to report a claim and discuss your case for free with an experienced and compassionate attorney.

Deadliest NYC Fire in Decades

New Mayor Eric Adams called the numbers “horrific.” Though originally reported at 19 deaths, the death toll has been revised to 17, including eight children. More than 60 people were hurt in total, with 13 people hospitalized in critical condition – some are intubated and “clinging to life.” Ten children are among those still hospitalized, in various conditions.

The catastrophic event represents the city’s largest loss of life in a fire since 1990, when a deliberately set fire at a Bronx nightclub killed 87 people.

What Caused the Bronx Fire Injuries and Deaths?

The official cause of death and injury in the Bronx fire was “severe smoke inhalation,” according to Fire Department commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. Most fire deaths occur when smoke deprives people of oxygen and suffocates the lungs. Within minutes, oxygen deprivation is enough to disorient a person and cause permanent brain damage. More sustained smoke inhalation causes fluid to collect in the lungs, leading to death.  

Victims arriving at the ER for severe smoke inhalation can be treated with an antidote for cyanide poisoning and flooded with oxygen in hopes of reversing hypoxia. Patients with brain damage may require intubation or pressurized hyperbaric chamber oxygen. Children and babies are especially sensitive to hypoxia and often do not make it.

For those who do survive the ordeal, determining the extent of recovery requires testing and time. Even if maximum medical prognosis has not been reached, you can still contact a New York personal injury lawyer to start investigating your claim. This is important, as the statute of limitations starts ticking on the date of the fire and generally expires after three years.  

How Did the Bronx Fire Start?

The fire in the 19-story building that housed 120 units at East 181st Street started with a malfunctioning space heater that had been left on for days in a lower-level duplex apartment. The U.S. Product Consumer Safety Commission is investigating whether the space heater had been defective. Portable heaters are not a leading cause of the 1.2 million+ residential fires that occur nationwide, say safety experts, though they were linked to 1,700 fires, 80 deaths, and 160 injuries from 2016 to 2018.

Fire alarms went off, but residents said false alarms were “frequent.” Newer apartment complexes are outfitted with automatic sprinkler systems, but this building built in the 1970s had none. A city lawmaker had proposed requiring automatic fire sprinklers in all residential buildings 40 feet or taller by the end of 2029, but the measure failed to pass.  

The door to the apartment failed to swing close after residents fled. Smoke traveled up through the stairwell to the 15th floor, where another self-closing door malfunctioned, allowing smoke to spread throughout the structure and making escape impossible. A family of five died of smoke inhalation on the 19th floor. The city housing department had issued violations for problems with self-closing doors in five apartments and one stairwell from 2014-2021, which had all been resolved. An ongoing investigation will look into whether maintenance issues played a role in causing unnecessary destruction and loss of life.

Congressman Ritchie Torres said that, even though the heat was turned on, there were multiple complaints of inadequate heat and hot water in the building, leading many tenants to resort to multiple space heaters to stay warm. A new task force will explore fire safety standards nationwide. “We owe it to the lives lost to ensure that their death is not in vain,” Torres added.

If You Were Hurt or Lost a Loved One in a Fire, Call Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green in NYC

The aftermath of a deadly fire often leaves many unanswered questions, but we can help. Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. has served New York for over 50 years, representing victims of burn injuries, wrongful death, and other damages resulting from negligence. We have the resources and skills to get results. Contact a New York City premises liability lawyer for a free consultation to explore your legal rights.

How Much Is My Slip and Fall Case Worth?

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Premises Liability, Slip And Fall Injuries

gavel and money: personal injury settlementThe rules for premises liability accidents in New York State are well established. If you suffer an injury when you are lawfully on another person’s property, the property owner is liable if his or her negligence caused the injury. Negligence and liability can be established, for example, by showing that the owner was aware of a defect or dangerous condition on the property and did nothing about it. The more critical element of a slip and fall lawsuit is determining the monetary damages that are owed to the injured party.

The slip and fall accident attorneys at Manhattan’s Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green rely on our many years of experience to recover the largest possible damages awards for our clients who are injured on another person’s property in Manhattan and throughout New York City and Long Island. We have negotiated with countless insurance companies to force them to consider all of the financial losses suffered by an injured party. When those insurance companies persist with unreasonable settlement offers, we take our client’s cases to trial to fight for the full amount of compensation that they are owed to help them recover from their injuries.

Common Financial Damages in a Slip and Fall Accident Case

Your slip and fall accident can lead to injuries and financial losses that go well beyond your immediate medical expenses.

Those losses might include:

  • Past, present, and future medical bills. You might need physical therapy or multiple surgeries to remediate injuries you suffered in your slip and fall accident, or your injuries might flare up after you thought you were recovered. Our experienced slip and fall accident attorneys have a thorough understanding of the entire scope and ramifications of slip and fall injuries and the future medical costs you are likely to incur.
  • Lost wages and earning power. If you are unable to work for an extended period of time because of your injuries, you can lose substantial amounts of regular income and be passed over for promotions and greater income opportunities.
  • Extra expenses. Your transportation expenses might go up as you shuttle back and forth to doctors and therapists. You might have higher medication and other costs that you would not have incurred but for your injuries. We factor all of these costs and expenses and more into your case.
  • Non-economic “pain and suffering” damages. New York State does not place a cap on these damages, but the State’s laws will reduce damages awards in proportion to an injured party’s own responsibility for the accident and injuries. The pain and suffering damages that you are entitled to will depend upon the specific facts of your case.
  • Other lost value. Beyond your immediate pain and suffering, your slip and fall injuries can interfere with your relationship with your spouse and family, and your social life and the physical activities you enjoy. This lost value should also factor in to the slip and fall accident compensation that you are entitled to.

Calculation of Slip and Fall Compensation in New York

Once premises liability is established, the calculation of your compensation for your slip and fall injuries will be a fact-specific exercise. You will improve your chances of receiving a larger damages award if you have objective proof of the relevant facts.

  • Your actual medical expenses are easily verified with bills from doctors and hospitals. Keep receipts for prescription medications and medical devices that you need to help you recover. Compensation for anticipated future medical expenses will be determined by your general health and the nature of your injuries. Damages for some types of injuries, such as broken bones, are easier to prove than for soft tissue injuries.
  • You should retain all of your pay stubs, employment records, and tax returns to show a pattern of the wages and wage increases that you received.
  • If possible, keep a diary of your interactions with your spouse, family, and friends. That diary may show how your social and physical life has been adversely affected by your slip and fall injuries. Carefully record your real-time observations of pain and discomfort that you nay be experiencing.
  • Pay close attention to how your life has changed from before you suffered your slip and fall accident. Your testimony regarding the reduction of your activities as a result of your injuries may be beneficial in proving your pain and suffering.

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C.: Attorneys for Slip and Fall Accident Victims

The Manhattan-based lawyers at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. understand how your life can change in an instant when you suffer a slip and fall accident injury. For more than fifty years, we have helped slip and fall accident victims in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Long Island to collect compensation that can help them to recover their lifestyles and abilities.

Please see our website for more information about premises liability, damages for slip and fall injuries and other information about our legal services, or call us to speak with one of our experienced slip and fall accident lawyers about how we can help you to recover damages for your injuries. Do not hesitate to contact us, as delays in beginning the process of recovering your damages may hurt your opportunity for a larger damages award.

Additional Resources:

  1. United HealthCare, Cost Estimator, https://www.uhc.com/individual-and-family/member-resources/health-care-tools/cost-estimator
  2. wikihow.com: How to Calculate Bodily Injury Settlements. https://www.wikihow.com/Calculate-Bodily-Injury-Settlements

Get Hurt in the Gym? Sure you can Sue!

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Premises Liability

A man with a knee Injury at the gym sitting on a workout bench holding his knee which is wrapped in bandages.

Working out at a gym is usually good for your health, but not always. Perhaps you lifted more weight than you could handle. Or a piece of strength training equipment malfunctioned. Or the gym staff failed to instruct or spot you properly. Can you hold the gym owners or others liable for damages?

There have been many cases in which plaintiffs have successfully sued gyms, sports clubs, Pilates studios and other exercise facilities for their injuries. Even if the gym owners were not aware of an unsafe condition, they may be liable if proper inspection would have uncovered it. Sometimes you may also be able to bring a product liability lawsuit against companies and individuals responsible for the design, manufacture, sale or distribution of a potentially dangerous exercise machine or its components.

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Equipment malfunctions are not the only basis for gym liability. You may be able to sue a gym for poor instruction or supervision. If an unqualified staff member imposed excessive demands, provided improper instruction or did not warn of potential risks, the gym itself could be liable for muscle injuries or other harm.

One hurdle to overcome is the liability waiver that most gym members must sign when they join, promising not to sue if they are injured at the gym. Fortunately, in New York, these waivers are unenforceable in many instances.

No fee unless we win. Call today for a free no obligation consultation!

New York General Obligations Law Section 5-326 makes waivers of liability for gym related injuries void if three conditions are met:

1) The gym membership agreement is entered into between you and the owner or operator of the gym; and

2) The liability waiver in question attempts to exempt the owner and operator from liability for their own negligence (or that of their agents or employees); and
3) The owner and operator of the gym receives a fee in connection with your use of the facilities (i.e. membership or use fees).

If these three conditions are met, your gym, be it New York Sports, Equinox, Crunch, or any other gym of which you are a paying member, cannot avoid liability if you are injured as a result of their negligence. These waivers are included in the membership agreements the gym has you sign, even though the gym knows full well the waiver is likely not enforceable, in hopes that you will refrain from suing believing that the waiver is valid.

Call now for a FREE consultation!

If you are injured, you should immediately report the incident to the gym and ask for a copy of any report prepared by the gym staff. You can show that document, along with any photographs you may have of any equipment involved, to a lawyer. Contacting an experienced personal injury attorney can help you decide if you have a case to pursue.