The attorneys of ICRH have many years of experience and documented success in representing both plaintiffs and defendants in substantial personal injury and product liability claims.
We have won millions of dollars in awards in wrongful death actions and for seriously injured plaintiffs in a broad array of cases, including motor vehicle accidents, defective highway design and maintenance, premises liability, construction accidents, equipment failures, professional liability, defective products, sexual misconduct and harassment, and reputational injuries.
We also have successfully defended such claims, many of which have involved complex, catastrophic injury claims and multiple plaintiffs. Examples include bridge collapses, building failures, propane explosions, and major equipment failures.
Our experience in representing both plaintiffs and defendants provides us with a unique perspective that adds immeasurable value for our clients. Of course, in representing both plaintiffs and defendants, we scrupulously adhere to the highest ethical standards and accept no engagement that conflicts with the interests of other clients.
We simplify the complex.
We believe that effective trial preparation requires the hands-on participation of counsel from the start. All aspects of the engagement are handled by experienced attorneys. Accident reconstruction evidence is promptly gathered, assessed and preserved. Top-notch experts assist in the preparation and presentation of the case.
We put technology to work for our clients. Cutting-edge techniques are used to explain the case to the jury through visual/graphic presentations and realistic courtroom demonstrations. Various visual devices are used, such as computer-assisted analysis and video simulation.
While the assistance of qualified experts is both helpful and essential, it cannot substitute for the trial attorney's mastery of technical issues. Counsel must thoroughly understand the information being presented in order to effectively convey legal and factual arguments. Our technical experience ranges from handling an engagement involving a small and seemingly simple bottle cap "explosion" to highly complex events such as the failure of a post-tensioned concrete roof system, a faulty cofferdam, a catastrophic bridge collapse, the failure of a hydraulic crane boom, a munitions plant explosion, compressed gas explosions, and accidents caused by defective acetylene cylinders, defective household appliances, flammable fabrics, and alleged automotive defects.
We accept a select number of claims for individuals who have suffered serious personal injuries and for the estates of wrongful death victims. These cases involve injuries or death resulting from traumatic brain injury, amputations, multiple trauma, burns, and serious fractures.
We are committed to achieving a full measure of justice for our clients. Our clients' rights are vigorously protected and aggressively pursued.
Examples of our personal injury and products liability plaintiff cases are listed below:
We obtained a federal court jury verdict of $1.5 million for a 25-year-old pressman whose hand was crushed in a printing press. It was conceded that the injury occurred when the pressman attempted to manually remove a "hickey" from the printing plate while the press was in motion. We presented testimony by professional pressmen and a machine-guard expert to establish that "chasing a hickey on the fly" is a widespread practice in the printing industry well known to the manufacturer. Large-scale photos and videotape demonstrated that the press lacked an interlocked guard at the in-running nip point where the plaintiff's hand was crushed, although such guards were present at other locations on the machine. The jury assigned all negligence to the manufacturer and the employer and fully exonerated the plaintiff from any contributory negligence.
We have handled clothing fire cases involving both occupational and household incidents. We secured a favorable jury verdict for a machine shop worker whose shop coat ignited while he was cutting steel with a torch. We also negotiated a favorable settlement for a 23-year-old man who sustained concealed burn and graft scars at the age of four when his cotton pajamas ignited while he was playing with matches. Although the victim did not seek counsel until 14 years after the occurrence, we were able to prove that the highly flammable garment was supplied by a national retailer who had begun offering flame-retardant children's sleepwear prior to this occurrence, which predated the adoption of national flame-retardant sleepwear standards. A substantial settlement was received by our client.
We provide legal defense for a select clientele of specialty insurers and self-insured businesses in a broad array of personal injury and product liability cases. Our personal injury defense engagements include serving as counsel to:
Our attorneys also have tried several cases on behalf of the Big Three automobile manufacturers. These cases presented technical issues concerning steering column dismount, clutch linkage fracture, power steering gear malfunction and engine mount failure. We employed photogrammetric accident reconstruction methods in some of these cases.
Other product liability defense cases involved battery explosions, wheel/wheel cover design and alleged defects in the air brake system of a heavy-duty dump truck, and catastrophic losses resulting from bridge and building collapses and major equipment failures.
Examples of our personal injury and product liability defense cases are listed below:
We were engaged to defend a major defense contractor in a case arising from accidental firing of several hundred military detonators during x-ray inspection at a supplier's factory in Ulster County, New York. Our client purchased detonators from the firm for use as components in bomb fuses manufactured for the Army and Navy. A severely injured worker charged that the accident was triggered by an electrostatic discharge resulting from unsafe handling procedures at the plant. Deposition testimony revealed that the supplier knew that manufacturing defects could enhance the static sensitivity of its detonators. One of its engineers had proposed a design change (never adopted) intended to alleviate the hazard of accidental detonation by routing static electricity away from the explosive charge. The case presented technical issues with regard to static sensitivity of explosive devices and forensic reconstruction of the incident. Legal issues included the "government contractor defense," interpretation of Federal Acquisition Regulations and contractor liability for unsafe practices at a subcontractor's manufacturing facility. The case was settled on terms very favorable to our client, with the supplier bearing most of the cost.
A uniquely designed pedestrian bridge failed during installation of the concrete deck, causing serious injuries and one fatality. The design called for a 52-meter (170-foot) single-span composite girder consisting of a steel box beam with an integrated, poured-in-place concrete deck. A forensic engineering investigation commissioned by the Department of Transportation concluded that the open-top box girder ("tub girder") buckled during concrete pouring operations. The failure mode was characterized as "global torsional buckling." The resulting litigation focused on structural design, constructability and erection procedures, particularly failure to support the structure with temporary shoring until the concrete deck had attained full strength. We were engaged to defend the international engineering firm which had served as the state's consultant. Although our client's sub-consultant had prepared the structural plans for the bridge, neither firm had any role in the construction phase. Our defense established that the design fully conformed to standards of the New York State Department of Transportation and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). We also developed evidence that erection procedures did not provide for temporary shoring of the girder. Our discovery efforts also revealed anomalies in a "haunch survey" of the erected steel girder which portended failure under the load of uncured concrete in the absence of temporary shoring. Legal issues in the case included sovereign immunity, learned intermediaries, contribution and indemnity rights, and coordination of suits in separate courts with mutually exclusive jurisdiction of state and non-state actors. The complex of lawsuits was resolved by a global settlement, a substantial portion of which was funded by the State of New York, its contractor and the steel fabricator.
We defended the supplier of a Grove 55-ton hydraulic crane, which failed when the boom fractured while lifting a 37-ton electric transmission tower. Our adversary's expert witness concluded that the failure was caused by an improper weld of steel channel on top of the boom. We established that the channel was designed to guide cables and was not a structural component. We also proved that the operator's technique overloaded the boom in a manner that would fracture the boom, rather than tip the crane. The jury found that the failure of the boom was caused by operator error and not by any defect in the crane.
The designer/manufacturer of a bottle capping machine engaged us to defend a claim for injuries resulting from an "exploding" bottle cap. We showed that the machine's owner (a bottling company) had failed to adjust the capping machine as required to assure that bottle cap threads were shaped to vent pressure before permitting release of the cap. The case was settled, with the local bottler paying the bulk of the settlement.