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WINNING RESULTS: LOIS Succeeds in Arguing for Disallowance in Construction Case With a Third-Party Component

LOIS attorney, Meisha Powell successfully argued for disallowance of a claim involving two claimants who alleged injuries from a coordinated accident on a construction site. Attorney Powell was able to convince the Judge at the trial level that the claim should be disallowed because of the numerous inconsistencies of what was alleged to have happened. This accident involved two claimants who filed a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party general liability claim. Both claimants hired the same the law firm to represent them in both lawsuits. Under oath, the first claimant testified to being on a ladder, while his coworker stood on a bucket, both falling to the ground, while attempting to install sheetrock on a ceiling of a building covered by the Carrier’s wrap up policy. According to claimant number one, the sheetrock fell on their heads and knocked them both to the ground and he sustained multiple injuries. The second claimant was called as a witness to testify as to this alleged accident, but his version of events was vastly different. During cross-examination, Meisha Powell was able to elicit testimony that resulted in the disallowance of the first claimant’s workers’ compensation claim. She was able to use the claimant’s testimony against his witnesses’ version of events, to call into question the credibility of both individuals.

After several hearings and a full development of the record including testimony from the claimant, and the claimant’s co-worker, Attorney Powell made compelling arguments to the Judge, whereby the Judge found that this claim must be disallowed. She methodically went through the differing version of events in the file. She argued for disallowance based on the numerous inconsistencies, including what was reported in the hospital records, the differences in the testimony of the claimant and his witness, and most significantly, the accident history presented in the Summons and Complaint filed for the very same accident in the third-party, general liability claim. Notably, the Complaint filed in the third-party, general liability action described the accident in a vastly different way. There was no bucket involved in the third-party action and the mechanism of injury did not involve the installation of sheetrock, at the very least. In submitting this evidence, attorney Powell was able to convince the Judge that the claim must be disallowed, as he could not ignore the evidence that was before him. By presenting the evidence to the Judge in a simple, straightforward, and deliberate manner, he had no choice but to question whether an accident actually occurred, and disallowance of the claim was the proper result.

This is a significant win for our client, because not only does this disallowance in the first claimant’s case serve as precedent as we further litigate the second claimant’s case, but the results of the workers’ compensation claim, significantly diminishes the arguments in the third-party action filed by both claimants. The claimant’s attorney admitted on the record that the documents filed in the third party, general liability action were false and inaccurate. He admitted that the second claimant was not standing on a ladder, and for general liability purposes, this could mean a dismissal of the third-party suit, as well.

In issuing his decision, the Judge noted that there was no way for him to reconcile the differences in the accident history that have been presented in the claim. He specifically referenced the Summons and Complaint and refused to consider the claimant’s counsel’s argument that there was an error in the Summons and Complaint that depicted how the accident happened. His decision to disallow the claim was final!

Being aggressive, presenting the evidence in a meaningful way, and fighting for the client resulted in this significant win!

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We represent insurance carriers, self-insured employers, third party claim administrators, and employers before the New York State Workers' Compensation Board. We handle cases from cradle-to-grave. We want to be by your side, moving cases aggressively to closure from the start of litigation all the way through to settlement.

We only assign one attorney and one paralegal to each case. This means that your team members always have one contact to go to for any questions. We do not have 'hearing attorney' or a 'negotiation attorney' or 'appeal department' or anything else! All of our attorneys handle all of those roles – meaning cases are not 'passed around' as they move through the litigation process. Your risk professional or adjuster always knows who is assigned – because the attorney does not change.

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