House Fire Case

House Fire Case

Past Cases & Results

HOUSE FIRE CASE

DATE OF OCCURRENCE: 9/20/1998

Clients:

P. O'D. - 35 year-old. male

P. O'S. - 27 year-old male

H.S. - 25 year-old female

J. O'L. - 25 year-old male

DESCRIPTION OF OCCURRENCE:

Fire in one-family house in Woodside, Queens. Client P.O'S. asleep on ground floor. Three other clients asleep upstairs. The fire started on the ground floor, for reasons unknown. Front door of building kept locked. P. O'S. was burned, and ran upstairs. All clients jumped out of second-story windows.

INJURIES:

P. O'D. - vertebrae (spine) fracture;

P. O'S. - second degree burns to face, arms, shoulders; skin grafts; (3 weeks in hospital burn unit);

H.S. - comminuted non-displaced fracture of right tibia (leg)(no surgery);

J. O'L. - cut feet (on glass); post-traumatic stress disorder.

THEORY OF CASE: The N.Y.C. Fire Marshal could not determine the cause of the fire. The landlord was not sued for causing the fire but, rather, for running an illegal boarding house with several non-related people living there, in violation of N.Y.C. Building Code. Missing were sprinklers, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, etc. Our clients called as an expert trial witness a retired N.Y.C. Fire Chief.

RESULT: On March 1, 2002 a Queens County jury
awarded money damage as follows:

P. O'D. - $176,760

P. O'S. - $501,125

H.S. - $106,354

J. O'L. - $30,744

Defendants appealed.

RESULT: Our clients prevailed in a decision by the
Appellate Division on December 15, 2002. With the accrual
of statutory interest, the gross amounts to each
client (before attorney's fees and expenses) were:

P. O'D. - $211,391.47

P. O'S. - $598,704.38

H.S. - $127,322.12

J. O'L. - $37,038.86

OF PARTICULAR INTEREST HERE:

1. The building was a veritable fire trap; a disaster waiting to happen. The owner ran it as a boarding house for profit, taking in young Irish immigrants who came and went and came and went.

2. The clients, young and strong, made fabulous recoveries from their injuries and had little or no treatment after their initial treatments/hospitalizations. Otherwise, the verdicts would have been higher.

ATTACHED: Photos showing: (1) burns to P. O'S.'s arms; (2) H.S.'s casted leg.

Gary E. Rosenberg, P.C.

61-43 186th Street, Suite 524
Fresh Meadows, NY 11365

(718) 520-8787

Serving: New York City, including the Boroughs of Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Bronx, and the Counties of Kings, Richmond, Queens, New York, Bronx, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland and Dutchess.

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