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Richard Gurfein speaks with Q 104.3’s Maria Milito

Top New York personal injury lawyer Richard Gurfein speaks with Q 104.3’s Maria Milito about the rights of accident victims in New York State.  Click on links below to listen to the interviews.  Mr. Gurfein can be heard live with Maria Milito every Monday at 12:00 noon.

Jury Awards $6.78 Million in Pedestrian Accident

On Thursday evening March 3, 2011, a New York County jury reached a verdict in the case of Ernest Lewis, an infant, by his mother, Brenda Lewis against the New York City Transit Authority, MABSTOA and Courtney Thompson, Index no. 101833/07. The four man, two woman jury awarded the 13 year old (now 18) plaintiff $6,783,202.90 for being run over by the BX19 bus at 145th Street and Convent Avenue on November 19, 2005.

After a church service at the First Calvary Baptist Church on 148th Street, Mrs. Lewis and her son Ernest were on their way home. They were trying to catch the BX19 bus at the 145th Street at Convent Ave. bus stop. As Ernest was running alongside the bus he began hitting the side of the bus, which was not moving, to alert the driver of their presence. As he got in front of the middle wheels of this 60-foot long articulating bus, he tripped and his legs fell under the bus. An eyewitness, Alphonza Elliott, testified at the trial, that it was just about the time the child fell that the driver started the bus. The middle tire rode over his legs. Police officers called to the scene noted a tire tread impression in his leg

The driver claimed that he was aware the child was running for the bus, but didn’t see him when he was near the middle of the bus and pulled into the intersection. He glanced at his right side mirror and saw a shadow on the ground and stopped the bus in the middle of the intersection to investigate. He found Ernest behind the middle tire. There was a lot of blood. He called the TA from the phone on his bus, while the eye witness called 911 on his cell phone.

The trial, which started on February 22, 2011 before Justice Geoffrey Wright in Supreme Court, New York County, ended this evening with the jury verdict. The jury awarded Ernest $2,500,000.00 for past pain and suffering, $283,202.09 for past medical expenses and $4,000,000 over 10 years for future pain and suffering.

Ernest sustained a major degloving injury to his right lower leg tearing off skin, muscle and tendons and exposing the bones, fracture of the distal fibula, avulsion of the distal tibia and a fracture of the left calcaneus. Ernest was taken to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital where skilled trauma specialists treated him for 3 1/2 weeks, saving his leg. He was taken to the OR on 8 separate occasions for placement of pins and an external fixator to hold the fractured fibula in place, placement of a rod in the fibula (permanent) to align the bone fragments, a syndesmotic screw to realign the spacing between the tibia and fibula and an 8 1/2 hour surgery to harvest muscle from his abdomen to transplant into his leg and to harvest skin from hi s thigh to graft over the transplanted muscle. He also had a cast on his left foot. After 3 1/ 2 weeks at Children’s hospital he was transferred to St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Ossining, New York on December 15, 2005. He remained there until February 24, 2006 making periodic visits to his doctors at Presbyterian. The cast on the left leg was removed on January 5, 2006 and the external fixator was removed on February 14, 2006.

He continued to receive nursing care and physical therapy at home until May, 2006 when he finally returned to his 8th grade class at St. Dominic’s School. Ernest is presently in his freshman year at Berkley College in Manhattan expecting to earn a degree in business in four years. Ernest and Mrs. Lewis were represented by Richard A. Gurfein, Esq. of Gurfein Douglas LLP in Manhattan. The Transit Authority and the other defendants were represented by Lynne Troy Henderson, Esq. of Wallace Gossett’s office.

Comment: The Bus Operator knew the child was alongside his bus. He should never have moved the bus until the child was out of the danger zone.

Gurfein Captains NY’s Ryder Cup Team to Victory

Richard Gurfein, as Captain of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association’s Ryder Cup team, led his golfers to their first victory over New Jersey in four years.

Each year members of the New York Trial Lawyers and New Jersey Trial Lawyers (New Jersey Association for Justice) compete in a Ryder Cup style golf tournament.  It is a friendly competition between colleagues who come together for an enjoyable day on the golf course.

This friendly competition has a loving cup as its prize.  The team from New Jersey has won or held the cup for the first three years of the tournament.  But the fourth year was the charm.  On August 19, 2010 at the Tuxedo Club in Tuxedo, NY,  Gurfein’s New York squad took the cup away from New Jersey for the first time with a score of 13 1/2 to 10 1/2.  The cup will reside at the NYSTLA headquarters for the next twelve months to commemorate the win.

Richard Gurfein is past president of the NYS Trial Lawyers

Almost 40 years ago, Richard Gurfein made a career jump from teacher to lawyer, but he still hopes he can teach people a few things. Gurfein became president of theNew York State Trial Lawyers Associationin 1995 with hopes of improving the public’s image of lawyers.

But he also had hoped lawyers would do some things themselves to better their image, such as volunteering to help community organizations. “In part, what lawyers do is protect an important part of American democracy – our system of civil justice. We deal with people’s rights and how to protect them,” Gurfein said. “I think that it’s important to understand when advertisements and news stories talk about unusual lawsuits and verdicts, [they] are the exceptions that prove the rule.”

NYSTLA has a web site on the Internet for the public to learn about the civil justice system. The Web site address ishttp://www.nystla.org. “I think lawyers should be active members of the community,” he says. “We owe a debt to the community.”

BIOGRAPHY

Originally from Queens, Gurfein has lived with his wife, Erica, and their children on Long Island for 30 years. Gurfein got his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from New York University and taught math at the Jane Addams Vocation High School for Girls in the South Bronx for four years. At the same time he went to Brooklyn Law School at night, and received a Juris Doctor degree in 1971. His law practice focuses on people seriouslyinjured through negligence, accidents, such as on construction sites and in automobiles, medical malpractice and defective products.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Gurfein is Board Certified by theNational Board of Trial Advocacyin Civil Trial Advocacy, he has chaired numerous committees of theNew York State Trial Lawyers Associationand theNassau County Bar Association.

INTERESTS

Gurfein enjoys astronomy, astrophotography, amateur radio, photography, videography, golf and sailing.

11 Year Old Accident Victim Turns to Life of Crime

A State Supreme Court jury accepted the contention that injuries suffered in a roadway accident led an 11-year-old Bronx boy into a life of crime and yesterday awarded him $950,000 in an injury suit.

“Perhaps this kid would never have gone bad,” said attorney Richard Gurfein.

In the 10 years since the 1973 accident, Kevin Alleyne, now 21, amassed a record of seven convictions including armed robbery. In fact, he is currently being held on Rikers Island on another armed robbery charge. Alleyne was allowed to go to court yesterday, accompanied by two armed guards, to hear the jury announce the huge award against Con Ed and two contractors, Interboro Surface Co. And Abbott Breaking Corp.

Elated, he turned to his lawyer and said, “Now at least, I can get the therapy they’ve been saying I need.” According to his lawyers, the physical injuries and scar Alleyne suffered as a child were only part of the damage. He was also scarred psychologically, they said.

“Perhaps this kid would never have gone bad,” said attorney Richard Gurfein.

-David Seifman – NEW YORK POST

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