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The Blame Game
6 minutes | Oct 1, 2021
Flood and Fury
On September 1, 2021, the remnants of Hurricane Ida, which had just pummeled Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane several days earlier, swept through New York City. In a matter of hours, more than half a foot of rain inundated the five boroughs. Easily overwhelming the City’s sewer system, Ida turned streets and subways into raging rivers and flooded homes throughout the region. When all was said and done, more than forty people lost their lives in New York and New Jersey, including eleven victims in Queens. Of the victims who lost their lives in Queens, most were tenants living in illegal basement apartments who got trapped in their flooded basement apartment and could not escape the rising waters.In this episode of The Blame Game, we try to answer the question of who, if anyone, is to Blame for the tragic loss of life caused by Hurricane Ida? Who is legally responsible for the death of tenants who got trapped in their flooded basement apartments and could not get out in time?
17 minutes | Jul 15, 2021
Champlain Towers Collapse - Part II
On the morning of June 24, 2021, Champlain Tower South, a 13-story oceanfront condominium in south Florida, collapsed. So far, rescue crews working around the clock have recovered 97 bodies from the rubble. At least a dozen residents still remain unaccounted for as recovery efforts continue.In the last episode of The Blame Game, we spoke with an architect to discuss why this unspeakable tragedy occurred and who, if anyone, was to blame, such as the structural engineer who had found major structural damage in the building following an inspection two-and-half years ago, the architect who had designed the building, and even geotechnical issues which may have compromised the foundation of the building. In this episode of The Blame Game, we turn our attention to the condominium’s board of directors which had been warned about the building’s structural issues but never got around to making the necessary repairs. And to help us better understand the role of the condominium’s board of directors and its arguable culpability in the Champlin Tower building collapse, we turn to Mark Foley of the Folson Group, financial consultants for residential condominiums and cooperatives.
20 minutes | Jul 7, 2021
Champlain Towers Collapse
In the early morning of June 24, 2021, Champlain Towers South, a 13-story condominium in Surfside Florida, collapsed without warning. For the past two weeks, rescue crews have been frantically searching through the rubble in search of survivors. As of this broadcast, 46 residents have been confirmed dead with close to 100 still being reported as missing.Significantly, years before the collapse, a structural engineer had warned the condominium's board that the building was suffering from “major structural damage” and that there was abundant cracking and crumbling of the columns, beams and walls of the parking garage underneath the building. Despite this grim assessment, the necessary repairs were never performed. It was only within the past few months, more than two-and-a-half years after the warning, that Champlain’s condo board finally secured a line of credit to pay for the multimillion dollar repair work.In this episode of The Blame Game, we’ll try to answer the question of who’s to blame for the collapse of Champlain Towers South? Who’s legally responsible for what happened and the resulting loss of life? And to help us answer these questions, we turn to our guest, Michael Shilale, an architect with Michael Shilale Architects.
9 minutes | May 25, 2021
E-Bikes v. Pedestrians on the Streets of New York
On Saturday April 17th, 2021, 71-year-old Hing Chung, manager of a Dim Sum restaurant at the corner of West 78th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan, was tragically killed after getting struck by an E-bike. Mr. Chung represented the fourth pedestrian killed by E-bikes since 2014 and is part of a troubling trend so far this year. Between January 1st and April 28th, there were 41 pedestrian deaths in New York City compared to only 26 deaths last year, an increase of almost sixty percent (60%); and significantly higher than the number of deaths reported in 2018 and 2019.In this episode of The Blame Game, we try to answer the question of Who’s to Blame? for Mr. Chung’s tragic death. Because if you read the comments that have been posted about this crash online, such as on websites for newspapers that have covered the story, you’ll quickly understand that New Yorkers have very strong opinions about bicyclists and especially crashes between bicyclists and pedestrians.
21 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
During the Covid-19 pandemic and due to social distancing restrictions imposed on indoor fitness facilities across the country, millions of Americans stopped going to the gym and began working out in their own homes. In turn, the sale of health and fitness equipment soared. One such at-home fitness company, Peloton, saw its sales surge to roughly $1.8 billion dollars in 2020, roughly double its sales from the year before. The euphoria surrounding Peloton’s success was dampened in March of this year, however, after a child in San Francisco was killed by one of its popular treadmill products, the $4,300 Tread Plus. In this episode of the Blame Game, we try to answer the question of who, if anyone, is to blame for this child’s tragic death. Does Peloton bear any legal responsibility for what happened to the child? Or was it simply an unavoidable tragedy which the company could not have anticipated, no less prevented? And to help us answer these questions, we turn to Anthony Gittens, a former marine and founder of Element Fitness, a concierge personal training company in New York City.
25 minutes | Jan 12, 2021
Carnage on Capitol Hill
January 6, 2021. A day that will go down as one of the darkest in American history. Thousands of supporters of President Trump assembled outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC to object to Congress' certification of Senator Biden's electoral college victory and stop what they view as a stolen election. What happens next is heartbreaking. Breaching security, supporters of the President storm the building and invade the Capitol itself until, outside the rotunda, they are met by armed guards. In the melee that follows, one of the protesters, 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, who had flown all the way from California to join the protests, is shot in the neck as she attempts to climb through a broken window.In this episode of The Blame Game, we will try to answer the question of who is responsible, if anyone, for Ms. Babbitt's tragic death. And to help us answer it, we turn to respected CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan. A former prosecutor and deputy chief of homicide in the Brooklyn DA's office, Mr. Callan is best known for representing the estate of Nicole Brown Simpson in the O.J. Simpson civil litigation. He now focuses his practice on civil actions involving wrongful imprisonment, wrongful convictions, and sexual abuse.
9 minutes | Nov 9, 2020
Nightmare on Third Avenue
On Saturday, October 24th, 33-year-old Leonard Shoulders experienced every New Yorker’s worst nightmare. Mr. Shoulders is walking towards the bus stop on Third Avenue near 183rd Street in the Bronx when, without any warning, the sidewalk collapses underneath him. Mr. Shoulders plummets 15’ into an underground vault, breaking his leg and arm upon impact. But that’s not the scariest part of this story. Because he falls into what appears to have been a rat colony. Hundreds of rats, crawling all around him and all over his body. He cannot even scream because he’s afraid a rat will crawl into his mouth. It’s not until New York City’s bravest arrive at the scene, half an hour later, that he’s rescued and taken to St. Barnabas Hospital. In this episode of The Blame Game, we try to answer the question of Who’s to Blame for this sidewalk collapse and the injuries which it caused to Mr. Shoulders.
9 minutes | Aug 4, 2020
On July 18, 2020, Nina Kapur, a 26-year-old news reporter for CBS, was tragically killed when the Revel scooter on which she was a passenger crashed after its driver suddenly swerved for an unknown reason Ten days later, 32-year Jeremy Malave was killed after losing control of the Revel scooter he was driving and crashing into a light pole. Under increased public pressure, Revel, which operates the electric-scooter sharing company and whose popularity had soared during the coronavirus pandemic with people seeking alternatives to public transportation and ride-share services, announced that it was shutting down its operations in New York City until further notice to “review and strengthen its rider accountability and safety measures.”In this episode of The Blame Game, we take a closer look at Revel’s decision to temporarily shutter its New York City operations and try to answer the question of Who’s to Blame for the recent tragedies involving its scooters. Can Revel be held legally accountable for not just the deaths of Ms. Kapur and Mr. Malave, but other individuals who have suffered serious injuries while using its scooters?
7 minutes | Jun 8, 2020
License to Neglect
Nursing homes have been the ground zero of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the more than thirty thousand people who have died from the virus in New York State, more than six thousand were of residents in nursing homes and adult care facilities. Saddened and angered by the loss of their loved ones, surviving family members are looking for justice and to hold nursing homes accountable. In this episode of The Blame Game, we try to answer the question of who’s to blame for the catastrophic loss of life that has taken place in nursing homes and adult care facilities during the pandemic; and whether these facilities can be held legally responsible for their failure to protect residents from the ravages of COVID-19.
12 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
No Dignity in Death
The coronavirus continues to ravage New York. Heading into the last week of April, almost 300,000 people across New York State have been diagnosed with the virus with close to 17,000 deaths being reported. In New York City alone and despite the imposition of strict social distancing measures, more than 11,000 people have died from the disease.Overwhelmed by the sheer number of fatalities, makeshift morgues have been set up outside local area hospitals. To ease the burden on hospitals, the City's Office of Chief Medical Examiner recently issued a notice that bodies which remain unclaimed after only 2 weeks would be buried in a mass grave on Hart Island, a remote island in the Long Island Sound.In this episode of The Blame Game, we explore the City's potential legal liability in burying unclaimed bodies on Hart Island and for depriving surviving family members of the possibility of holding a funeral and saying their goodbyes. We also speak with Lissett Ferreira, an elder law attorney at Meenan & Associates, LLC, who will talk about some of the things you can do to prevent getting buried in a Potter's Field.
9 minutes | Mar 23, 2020
You gave me COVID-19!
COVID-19 is crippling the United States and countries all over the world. Since being first diagnosed in the city of Wuhan, China back on December 1, 2019, the coronavirus which causes the disease has spread throughout the world. As of this podcast, more than 15,000 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in New York State alone. Over one hundred twenty deaths have been attributed to the disease.With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down in the near future, more and more states are ordering citizens to stay indoors and to practice social distancing. What happens, however, if a colleague with symptoms of the disease comes to the office and infects you? Or if your employer forces you to come to work against the advice of public health officials and you get sick?In this episode of The Blame Game, we'll try to answer the question of whether anyone can be held at fault for spreading, or causing you to become infected with, COVID-19.
11 minutes | Dec 20, 2019
The Sky is Falling
On December 17, 2019, Erica Tishman, a New York City architect, wife and mother of three, was walking through Times Square on her way to work when she was killed after being struck by a piece of masonry that had fallen off a 17-story building. Shockingly, eight months earlier, the very same building had been issued a violation by New York City's Department of Buildings for "damaged terra cotta at areas above the 15th floor in several locations” and which represented a falling hazard risk for pedestrians. In this episode of the Blame Game, we explore who's potentially responsible for this tragedy and the damages recoverable by Ms. Tishman's estate.
15 minutes | Oct 15, 2019
Cycle at your own Risk
On October 13, 2019, a 65-year-old man was struck and killed by an SUV while his bike on Cross Bay Boulevard in Queens. This marks the 25th cyclist killed in New York City in 2019, more than twice as were killed in all of 2018. With so much carnage on New York City's streets, advocacy groups are claiming that Vision Zero, the City of New York's plan to reduce the number of traffic fatalities and make City streets safer, is in a state of emergency.In this episode of The Blame Game, we explore the legal responsibility of motorists, cyclists and the City of New York and try to answer the question that is inevitably asked following each of these tragedies: Who's to Blame?
11 minutes | Jun 24, 2019
Take Me Out to the Ballgame
On May 29, 2019, a four year old girl was seriously injured after getting struck by a foul ball during a baseball game between the the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. Her story is one that is repeated hundreds of times every year at baseball stadiums across the country. And yet despite knowledge that fans are getting struck (and sometimes even killed) by foul balls, Major League Baseball only requires teams to provide protective netting to the end of the home team and visiting team dugouts. In this episode, we take a closer look at The Baseball Rule, its effect on the legal responsibility of baseball teams towards fans who get injured by foul balls and broken bats, and try to answer the question of who, if anyone, is to blame for these events.
26 minutes | Mar 27, 2019
Terror in the Skies
On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed en route to Nairobi, Kenya, killing all 157 passengers on board, including eight American citizens. The crash involved a Boeing 737 MAX jet, the same jet involved in a crash of Lion Air flight 610 from Indonesia in October 2018. Although investigators have not yet completed their investigation into the cause of the crash, the flight pattern of the jet suggests a problem with an automated anti-stall device on the plane (MCAS) which would push the nose of the jet down in certain circumstances in order to stabilize the aircraft. With two crashes of the same jet in less than six months, the public is worried that the 737 MAX jet is not safe for the skies and wondering why the FAA ever approved of the 737 MAX jet in the first place. Shares of Boeing stock have dropped more than 10% with billions of dollars in revenue from future orders of the 737 MAX jet now in jeopardy.In this episode of The Blame Game, we look at the potential civil liability of Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines and others for this tragic crash and try to answer one recurring question: who's to blame?
24 minutes | Oct 29, 2018
On October 6, 2018, Axel and Amy Steenburg of Amsterdam, New York, together with fifteen of their closest friends and family members, were traveling by limousine to a brewery in Cooperstown, New York to celebrate Amy's 30th birthday party. The limousine, owned by Prestige Limousine, was approaching the intersection of Route 30 and Route 30A in Schohaire County when it inexplicably went through the intersection, crashed into an SUV that was parked in the parking lot of the Apple Barrel Country Store, and careened off the road into a shallow ravine. In what is being reported as the worst transportation-related crash in more than twenty years, all seventeen passengers on board the limousine died, together with the driver and two pedestrians who were walking in the parking lot. With the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation still ongoing, the question on everyone's mind is why did this happen? And who, if anyone, is to blame?
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