With Push From Cuomo, NY Legislature Expected To Finally Pass Child Victims Act In 2019

image

The New York State Legislature appears finally ready to give new hope to the victims of child sexual abuse and their families. The Child Victims Act, if approved this year, is expected to extend the statute of limitations for sexual crimes against children, allowing more victims to sue their attackers and the institutions they represented.

In 2019, with the Democrats leading the Senate and Assembly under Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the long-debated Child Victims Act may finally be approved by state lawmakers. The Republican-controlled Senate in the past had blocked the legislation after the Democrat-controlled Assembly passed it.

The legislation may give past abuse victims a one-year window to file civil claims, regardless of when the abuse happened. The one-time measure has powerful opponents in Albany, including the insurance industry and the Catholic Church.

Cuomo is expected to highlight the legislation in his executive budget proposal, which will be introduced Tuesday, Jan. 15, in Albany.

To summarize, according to recent news reports, the proposed legislation does the following:

  • Extends or eliminates the statute of limitations for future criminal sexual cases involving a child under the age of 18, which would give victims more time to come forward after they become adults.
  • Extends the time limit for victims to sue in civil court to the time they turn 50.
  • Opens a one-year window for all past victims of child sexual abuse to file civil claims, regardless of when it happened.

The most serious felony sexual crimes against children already have no statute of limitations, so prosecutors can’t be restricted from bringing charges because of how much time has passed.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

But there is a five year statute of limitations for other lower-level felonies that begin when the victim turns 18. A 2018 bill proposed by Cuomo called for dropping any time limit but the Legislature’s bill would start the five-year statute of limitations when the victim turns 23.

The bill’s sponsors call the so-called “look-back period” the key part of the legislation. If approved, the one-year period would begin six months after the bill is signed. In that next year only, victims would be able to seek civil relief from people or institutions, regardless of the victim’s age or when the abuse occurred.

News reports said insurance groups have strongly lobbied against the look-back period for obvious reasons: They would likely face pressure to pay out damages to victims of institutions the insurers count as clients for claims that had been previously barred by the statute of limitations.

The state Catholic Conference, which represents the state’s Catholic dioceses, has also targeted the look-back period, saying it appears it would only apply to private institutions — like the Catholic Church — and not schools and governments, according to news reports. The bill sponsors said it applies to both.

The dispute is over what’s known as a “notice of claim,” which has to be filed within 90 days of an act and serves as an extra layer of protection that public institutions have against being sued.

But last week, news reports said Cuomo’s office announced the Child Victims Act in his budget would eliminate the need for a notice of claim when a sex crime is committed against a child.

Cuomo also wants judges to attend required training on how to handle cases involving children who are sexually abused. The legislation would also let the state Office of Court Administration establish rules for adjudicating revived claims against abusers in the past.

Thank you for reading,

Adam M. Gee
[email protected]
(607) 733-8866

 

 


Warning to Homeowners: Protect Bikers and Obey the Law By Keeping Grass Clippings and Leaves out of the Road

5983ddf764932.image_

Most people think distracted drivers and bad roads are the biggest dangers facing motorcyclists and bicyclists.

Those are the most obvious dangers.

What many homeowners don’t realize is that they could be responsible for one of the most overlooked types of dangers to motorcyclists: blowing yard waste like grass clippings and leaves into city streets and rural roads.

Grass clippings are slippery when dry and feel like you’re riding on ice or grease when they get wet.

Leaves are slippery, wet or dry, but they hide other dangers, too, by disguising potholes and other hazards in the road that can shred tires and worse. Large leaf piles raked into streets and roads send bicyclists into the path of cars. The leaf piles also clog the storm drains, leaving more water on streets and roads – another danger.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANew York has two different statutes that prohibit the blowing or placing of grass clippings and leaves on roads.  Vehicle and Traffic Law Sec. 1219(b) requires that any person who drops, or permits to be dropped or thrown, upon any highway any material which interferes with the safe use of the highway shall immediately remove the same or cause it to be removed.  Vehicle and Traffic Law Sec. 1220(a) provides that “no person shall throw, dump, deposit or place, or cause to be thrown, dumped, deposited or placed upon any highway, or within the limits of the right of way of such highway, or upon private lands adjacent thereto, any refuse, trash, garbage, rubbish, litter or any nauseous or offensive matter.”

Homeowners, if you blow your grass into the street or road, blow it back onto the curbing or into your yard. It won’t hurt your grass – its actually good for it. If you fail to do so, you are in violation of the statutes listed above and could be sentenced to a fine, community service of both.

Slippery-When-Wet-Sign-X-W8-10aMore importantly, if your yard waste is responsible for a biker losing control and crashing, you will be personally responsible for the biker’s medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering associated with his injuries. These damages could easily reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a serious injury.

No responsible homeowner would ever intentionally place bikers at risk of harm. By following the laws requiring you to keep yard waste out of the street, you’re doing your part to ensure motorcyclists and bicyclists can safely pass your property.

Many landfill operators no longer accept bagged leaves or grass, so mulch or compost your grass and keep your leaf piles out of the street or road for easy pickup by your municipality.

Those are great ways to share the road with motorcyclists and bicyclists.

Thank you for reading,

Adam Gee
[email protected]
(607) 733-8866


Pedestrian Collisions In Chemung, Ithaca A Reminder About Walking Safely At Night, Says NY and PA Accident Lawyer

Police Captain Speaks on Elmira Shooting- Neighbor Reaction_14723095_ver1.0_640_360

WETM-TV.

Two Twin Tiers pedestrians were struck by vehicles at night this week, leaving a 15-year-old girl dead in the town of Chemung and seriously injuring a second person in Ithaca.

New York State Police said 15-year-old Xanadu Rumsey was walking along County Route 60 near Tomasso’s golf course and restaurant in the Town of Chemung at about 9:30 Tuesday night when she was struck from behind by a vehicle. She was transported to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, where she was pronounced dead.

State Police in Horseheads said the girl was walking in the same direction as traffic when she was struck. The investigation continues and troopers have not released any information about the driver of the vehicle.

reflective-pedestrian-crossing-signs-watch-for-pedestrians-l7534-lgState Police are asking anyone who saw two people walking along County Route 60 at about 9:30 Tuesday night to call State Police at 607-739-8797. They did not say who the second person was with Xanadu.

At 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, a tractor-trailer hit a pedestrian at the intersection of State Route 13 and Willow Avenue in Ithaca.

The pedestrian, who has not been identified, is in stable condition Thursday at an unidentified regional trauma center with serious injuries that are not considered life-threatening, according to the Ithaca Police Department.

Police said the injured pedestrian suffered a severe head injury. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured.

Anyone who witnessed the crash is asked to call the Ithaca Police Department at 607-272-9973 or its tip line at 607-330-0000. Email tips can be sent by going here: www.cityofithaca.org/ipdtips.

If you are going to walk at night along a street, road or highway, here are some safety tips to remember:

  1. Always walk facing traffic. Do it because it’s the law, but also so you can see what is approaching and maximize your time to avoid the car if it is potentially endangering you.
  1. Get as far to the right as you can – don’t walk on the fog line. Give cars as much room as possible, not because they don’t have to go around you, but because you want to do everything in your power to avoid a collision.
  1. Wear light-colored clothes and consider wearing something reflective to maximize your chances of being seen. Also consider carrying at flashlight that you can shine so an oncoming driver has a better chance of seeing you.
  1. Recognize that perhaps the most dangerous time for a pedestrian is when two oncoming cars are meeting near your location. The operators of the cars will be focused on each other, and the oncoming headlights will impede the vision of both drivers, making it harder for them to see you. They are likely to move toward, or even onto, their shoulders to give each other as much room as possible.
  1. Walk in well-lit areas. Avoid poorly-lit areas if at all possible.
  1. Obey traffic signals and devices unless a police officer directs otherwise, including pedestrian signals.
  1. Assume drivers do not see you. While you should do whatever you can to increase your visibility, do not walk into a crosswalk assuming that the oncoming vehicle can see you. It’s better to wait to be sure the vehicle stops than to make a wrong assumption.
  1. Do not wear headphones and turn off your phone. Be alert at all times while walking.

Thank you for reading,

Adam Gee
[email protected]
(607) 733-8866


Police Investigate After Pedestrian Struck By Vehicle In Town Of Chemung, Says NY and PA Accident Lawyer

emergency

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle Tuesday evening in the town of Chemung, and the New York State Police are investigating, according to Twin Tiers news reports.

Emergency responders were called to county Route 60 near Tomasso’s at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday for reports of an injured pedestrian. Tomasso’s is a restaurant and golf course.

According to one news report, the person struck by the vehicle received CPR on the scene. It was not clear if the pedestrian was transported to a hospital.

State police declined to release any other information at midday Wednesday.

We will update this post as more information becomes available.  Our thoughts are with the pedestrian, and we hope to hear good news concerning his or her condition soon.

UPDATE – local media is now reporting that the collision occurred at approximately 9:15 PM on July 17, 2018.  It is also reported that the pedestrian involved in this collision is a 15 year old girl who was walking home with her father, and that emergency crews were performing CPR on the girl at the scene.  More information is expected to be released later today.

UPDATE #2 – We are very sad to report that pedestrian has died.  15 year old Xanadu Rumsey was pronounced dead at the Robert Packer Hospital after being struck from behind by a vehicle.  It is reported that this was a hit and run collision, and the police continue to investigate and search for the driver involved.  If you have any information concerning this collision, please contact the NY State Police at 607-739-8797.

Thank you for reading,

Adam Gee
[email protected]
(607) 733-8866

 

 

 


Three Partners At Ziff Law Named 2018 Super Lawyers

Adam Gee, Jim Reed, and Christina Sonsire.

Adam Gee, Jim Reed, and Christina Sonsire.

Jim Reed, Adam Gee, and Christina Sonsire of the Ziff Law Firm have been named 2018 Super Lawyers in Upstate New York following a rigorous nomination process.

Super Lawyers, a rating service of lawyers working in more than 70 practice areas, selects the top lawyers based on nominations by their peers and an evaluation of 12 indicators of professional recognition and achievements. Those selected are grouped by practice area and size of the law firm. Ziff Law is a personal injury and medical malpractice law firm.

“We are so proud to be the only firm in Upstate New York where all the partners have been selected as Super Lawyers because it speaks to our excellent reputation among our fellow lawyers who selected us during the peer review process,” Jim said. “For our clients, that reputation is a huge factor in ensuring that we achieve the very best possible results for their cases.”

Jim, the managing partner of the law firm, was selected for Super Lawyers for the 11th year in a row. Jim has been with the Ziff Law Firm since 1986 and has been managing partner since 2001.

Adam, a partner in the law firm, was selected for Super Lawyers for the seventh time. Adam has been with Ziff Law since 2004.

Christina, a partner in the law firm, was selected for Super Lawyers for the second time. Christina was selected as a Super Lawyers Rising Star, for outstanding lawyers 40 years old and younger, from 2013-2016. Christina has been with Ziff Law since 2008.

To learn more about the Ziff Law Firm, go to www.zifflaw.com. To learn more about Super Lawyers, go to www.superlawyers.com/new-york-upstate.


Upstate NY Law Firm Selected Among Best Law Firms In U.S. For Sixth Straight Year

Ziff Law attorneys, from left, Mike Brown, Christina Sonsire, Jim Reed, and Adam Gee.

Ziff Law attorneys, from left, Mike Brown, Christina Sonsire, Managing Partner Jim Reed, and Adam Gee.

For the sixth year in a row, the Ziff Law Firm is the only law firm in the Elmira, Corning, and Ithaca area named to a nationally recognized directory of top personal injury law firms in the United States.

Ziff Law was named a National Best Law Firm for 2017 in the practice area of Personal Injury Law for Plaintiffs by U.S. News – Best Lawyers.

I am so proud of the team we have assembled and the incredible results we have achieved. We have always believed that working hard and caring deeply about our clients would create good results, and it is so gratifying to see that we were correct. Winning this award once was great. Winning it six years in a row is amazing, and we could not be any happier.

Law firms were evaluated using client and peer reviews, and additional information provided by the firms, according to U.S. News – Best Lawyers, which ranked more than 10,000 law firms in more than 100 practice areas.

The rankings were announced this month by U.S. News & World Report, the parent company of U.S. News, and Best Lawyers, a national directory of top-rated attorneys that included Reed in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

To learn more about the Best Law Firms rankings, go to bestlawfirms.usnews.com.

Thanks for reading!

Jim

___________________________________

James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

Ziff Law’s Adam Gee Rated Among The Top Trial Lawyers In The Country!

Adam Gee Smaller File size PhotoAttorney Adam Gee of the Ziff Law Firm is among the top trial lawyers in the country, as determined by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel (NADC).

Adam, was recently named a member of the Nation’s Top One Percent for 2015 by the NADC. He was selected by an independent panel of attorneys and approved by an NADC review board because of his high legal standards.

Once candidates are nominated, NADC researchers study their background and performance and pass on their recommendations to the panel for review. The panel makes its selections for a board of former judges to review and approve.

Adam devotes his practice to representing people injured through the actions of others and medical malpractice. A motorcycle rider himself, Adam represents many bikers injured by careless drivers. Adam has been an attorney for 18 years and has been with Ziff Law since 2004.

“As one of the hardest-working and most fearless trial lawyers I know, it came as no surprise to me that the NADC honored Adam as being among the top 1 percent of trial lawyers in the country!” said Ziff Law managing partner Jim Reed.

NADC_logo_200“I am humbled to be recognized by such a prestigious organization as the NADC,” Adam said. “I work as hard as I can for every client because I know that their ability to put their life back together may depend on successful I am in obtaining a recovery for them. To have my effort and results recognized by a national review board of my peers is extremely gratifying.

To learn more about NADC, go here.


Woman, Child In Stroller Struck By Truck In Corning Crosswalk, Says NY and PA Personal Injury Lawyer

Police car image

A 29-year-old woman and a 3-year-old child she was pushing in a stroller were injured Thursday when they were struck by a pickup truck while crossing East Denison Parkway in Corning, police said.

The driver of the pickup truck told police he did not see the woman and the stroller with the child as he was turning left.

It is inexcusable that a driver could be so inattentive as to miss a woman walking a stroller through the crosswalk on Denison Parkway. I have personally handled almost the exact same case in the past with a pedestrian struck in the crosswalk at Cohocton Street crossing Denison. In my investigation, I determined that Denison is very well lit and even on a cloudy, overcast and rainy night, a pedestrian is visible from hundreds of yards away. The only way a driver could not see a pedestrian in the crosswalk is if they have their eyes off the road for many, many seconds or simply aren’t paying attention to what is going on around them. 

According to news reports here and here:

Brittany Neu was crossing East Denison Parkway at about 3 p.m. Thursday at the intersection with Cohocton Street, in front of Dunkin Donuts, while pushing a stroller with a 3-year-old when she was struck by the truck. The driver was was turning left from Cohocton Street onto East Denison Parkway.

crosswalk signNeu was thrown about 10 feet by the impact of the truck, police said.

City firefighters and a Rural/Metro Ambulance crew treated Neu and the child at the scene, then transported them to the Corning Fire Department. Neu was airlifted by a Guthrie helicopter to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa. The child was also transported to Robert Packer.

Their injuries were not considered life-threatening, police said.

Witnesses said Neu was within the markings of the crosswalk when she was struck. The stroller was not struck but toppled over during the accident, police said.

The driver was cooperative and went to the police department for questioning, police said.

The intersection was closed for about an hour during the start of the investigation, which is continuing. No tickets have been issued yet, police said.

Thanks for reading,

Adam
__________________________________________

Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: [email protected]


Careless Avoca School Bus Driver Drags Girl Almost A Half-Mile, Says NY and PA Injury Lawyer

 

Bus stop signA careless school bus driver dragged a Steuben County girl for almost a half-mile Tuesday, Fortunately, the little girl was not seriously injured.

According to local news reports here and here:

The girl’s book bag got hung up on the bus door as she was leaving the Avoca Central School bus at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday on County Route 55 in the Town of Fremont, north of Hornellsville.

The girl, who was not identified by police, was dragged four-tenths of a mile before the driver noticed her!

Bus drivers are required to watch the students to make sure they are clear of the bus before even shutting off the flashing lights, much less starting down the road. At this point, no one knows what this bus driver was doing but he or she certainly wasn’t paying any attention to the student  – which is the driver’s primary responsibility.

The girl was treated at St. James Mercy Hospital in Hornell for foot injuries and released.

Police are still investigating the incident.  Anyone with information concerning this incident is urged to call the local authorities.

Thanks for reading,

Adam
__________________________________________

Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: [email protected]


Government Recalls Millions Of Vehicles With Dangerous Takata Airbags, Says NY and PA Accident Lawyer

Takata 1

Federal safety regulators this week called for all automakers to recall any vehicle equipped with driver’s-side airbags made by the Japanese supplier Takata.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contacted Takata and the vehicle manufacturers this week to call for the recall of millions of vehicles after evaluating a recent incident that involved a failure in a driver’s side air bag inflator.

Takata 2Based on this new information, unless Takata and the manufacturers quickly agree to this recall, NHTSA will use the full extent of its statutory powers to ensure vehicles that use the same or similar air bag inflator are recalled.

“We now know that millions of vehicles must be recalled to address defective Takata air bags and our aggressive investigation is far from over,” said NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman. “We’re pushing Takata and all affected manufacturers to issue the recall and to ensure the recalls capture the full scope of the problems.”

According to news reports, the agency said it had yet to make a detailed list of the models or model years affected. But the recall will affect millions of vehicles made by Ford, Honda, Chrysler, Mazda and BMW, mostly from model years 2008 or earlier, Friedman told the news media in a conference call.

More than 14 million vehicles made by 11 automakers have been recalled worldwide since 2008 over concerns about Tanaka airbags, news reports said. At least five people have died in accidents linked to the airbags.

There is a propellant in the airbags that can lead them to explode when they activate in an accident, spraying metal debris into the car and possibly injuring the driver or passengers.

The agency did not expand a limited recall that was already in place for some Takata passenger-side airbags in some vehicles in humid regions of the country. The agency said they had a different design than the driver’s-side airbags and tests did not suggest a need to include them in the recall.

Residents of the Twin Tiers, if you believe you have been injured by a Takata airbag, contact me today for a free consultation.

Thanks for

Adam
__________________________________________

Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: [email protected]