Spring 2005 Edition

Vol.9 – No.4

Ranzenhofer’s Verdicts and Settlements

Veteran trial attorney, Michael H. Ranzenhofer, won the following personal injury verdicts during the first quarter of 2005: In a defective products case, a 58-year-old East Aurora aerospace worker won $185,000 from Great American Insurance Company, which insured a company which designed and manufactured loading ramps. As he was driving his tractor up the loading ramps into his pickup truck, the cable securing the ramps broke and he fell from the ramp and injured his lower back (January 2005)… A 53-year-old heavy equipment operator from Akron won a $165,000 settlement from Harleysville Insurance Company for a fractured ankle and torn ankle tendon that he sustained in a two car intersection accident in Clarence (February 2005)… A 14-year-old Lockport girl received $58,000 from Tops Supermarkets when her hand was sucked under the conveyor belt at the checkout counter. She sustained burns and scarring to the top of her hand (March 2005)… A Genesee County jury returned a $25,000 verdict against State Farm Insurance Company in favor of a 23-year-old nursing assistant from Bergen who injured her back in a two car accident on the New York State Thruway. State Farm, prior to trial, had offered only $3,000 to settle the case (February 2005)… A 48-year-old Alden homemaker accepted $25,000 from a local hospital for a broken ankle she sustained when she stepped on broken concrete which was covered with snow (March 2005)… An 84-year-old West Seneca woman accepted $15,000 from New York Central Mutual Insurance Company after she injured her wrist when she was T-boned by another motorist on Sheridan Drive in Amherst… A 19-year-old Buffalo pedestrian won $10,000 from Erie Insurance Company when she sustained cuts and bruises to her knees and hands after she was struck by a car.

Attorney Michael H. Ranzenhofer limits his practice to automobile accident, slip and fall, dog bite and defective product cases. He is a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, New York Trial Lawyers Association, New York State Trial Lawyers Association and Erie County Bar Association Negligence Committee.

Wills & Estates Seminar

“Working Closely With Your Lawyer Can Preserve Your Assets and Peace of Mind” will be presented by attorney/author Robert Friedman on Wednesday, May 4, 2005 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Hamburg High School, Room 121, 4111 Legion Drive, Hamburg, New York. Preparing a will or becoming an executor can be complex. Learn about the techniques to minimize the cost and delays of probate, how to qualify for Medicaid for nursing home care, financial management and medical decision-making in the event of disability, how to provide for your dependents and favorite charities and asset protection strategies. The legal tools for retirement, financial and estate planning to be discussed include: wills, trusts, life estate deeds, limited liability companies, guardianships and health care proxies. The registration fee is $5. To register, call (716) 646-6384.

A Half Century of Public Service

Public and community service is a tradition at Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. The attorneys at Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. have been active in service organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions. During his 50 years of private law practice, Fred Friedman has been deeply involved in public and community service. As a SCORE counselor since 1992, he has counseled many small businesses and non-profits. He served as SCORE Buffalo Chapter Chair and Assistant District Manager for New York. As Austrian Consul for New York since 2002, he provides basic information about visas, passports, pensions and other governmental benefits to both Austrian citizens and non-citizens; serves as Austrian interpreter and speaks to groups in both the U.S. and Austria. Mr. Friedman was Clarence Chamber of Commerce President, Akron Village Attorney, Genesee County Family Court Hearing Officer and Chairman of the Committee on Law & Public Safety of the Erie County Charter Review Commission. He was active in the American Bar Association International Law Commission.

Michael H. Ranzenhofer has been an Erie County Legislator since 1989, Erie County Legislature minority leader (1993 to 1995, 2004 and 2005) and majority leader (2003), Meals-on-Wheels Task Force member, Erie County Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors (2002 – 2004) and S.U.N.Y. Buffalo Health Services Institutional Review Board of Directors (1998 – 2002).

Robert Friedman is Clarence IDA Attorney, Akron Village Prosecutor and former hearing officer for Supreme Court Small Claims Assessment Review, Clarence Town Attorney and Clarence Town Prosecutor.

Elizabeth M. DiPirro has served as a judicial hearing officer for the Buffalo City Court Small Claims Arbitration Program. She is a former Consumer Aide for the Division of Consumer Frauds of the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

Verdicts for Tenants

  • $3,712,452 – Apartment building that went up in flames had no fire extinguishers or working smoke detectors. Plaintiff sustained third-degree burns. (Los Angeles County, California, Superior Court).
  • $924,615 – Elderly man was scalded while washing dishes and lost three fingers. He claimed the landlord failed to inspect the water heater. (Broward County, Florida, Circuit Court).
  • $250,000 – Deck user who fell through railing after leaning back on a chair claimed that screws used in pickets were too small. (Laurens County, Georgia, Superior Court).
  • $193,000 – Tenant was afraid to sleep in her apartment after the manager assaulted her and placed a listening device in her wall. (Los Angeles County, California, Superior Court).
  • $80,000 – Tenant claimed constructive eviction after landlord $25,000 – While refurbishing after tenant moved out, landlord destroyed murals painted by the tenant’s girlfriend, who claimed she was a de facto tenant. (San Francisco County, California, Superior Court).
  • $17,000 – Summer renter tripped over a 17-inch-high picket fence on her way to a clothesline, fracturing her elbow. (Morris County, New Jersey, Superior Court).
  • $6,000 – Couple claimed landlord allowed an unbonded repairman into their home without notice, resulting in loss of jewels and cash.. (Alameda County, California, Superior Court).
  • $88,609 – Tenant who sustained a severe knee injury after falling in elevator claimed that the janitor mopped but did not post any warnings about the slippery floor. (Broward County, Florida, Circuit Court).
  • $10,000 – Website allowed landlords to list preferred race of prospective tenants. (New Jersey).
  • $35,000 – Eight hours after tenant complained about the elevator door to landlord, and 30 minutes after repairman’s arrival, it closed hard on another tenant, injuring her shoulder. (New York County, New York, Civil Court).
  • $99,500 – Debt collection company told credit agency that man owed rent to an apartment complex, even though the lease was in his wife’s name only. (Taylor County, Texas).

Verdicts Against Nursing Homes

    • $45,500,000 – A 26-year-old disabled woman drowned in a bathtub after her caregiver left her unattended for at least five minutes. (Maricopa County, Arizona, Superior Court).
    • $12,322,920 – An elderly woman died of bed sores and sepsis after staying in an unlicensed group home run by an individual with no medical training. (Miami-Dade County, Florida, Circuit Court).
    • $10,000,000 – A nursing home allowed a 69-year-old stroke victim to lay in her own waste for days. She developed bed sores that ultimately required leg amputation. (Hinds County, Mississippi, Circuit Court).
    • $4,500,000 – Estate blamed the nursing home for how it handled an elderly resident with palsy who fell and broke his hip. He was put in bed, delaying treatment for hours. (Ector County, Texas, District Court).
    • $1,500,000 – A patient, who was escorted to the bathroom and then left there for three hours, fell while trying to get back into her wheelchair by herself. (Erie County, New York, Supreme Court).
    • $1,200,000 – Fire ants entered the room of a 90-year-old resident through the air conditioner and stung her hundreds of times as she slept. She claimed that the home was understaffed, delaying rescue.

(Manatee County, Florida, Circuit Court).

  • $1,000,000 – Elderly resident with dementia who wandered out of the nursing home with a deactivated door alarm was hit by a car. (Jackson County, Montana, Circuit Court).


Verdicts Against Bars

  • $135,000,000 – A beer concession at Giants Stadium was found liable when a drunken football fan caused a car crash that paralyzed a 2-year-old girl. She is paralyzed from the neck down, unable to move her arms or legs or breathe on her own. (Superior Court of Bergen, County, New Jersey)
  • $75, 684,000 – Bar manager drank at his workplace before running into a road worker. He then raced home and crashed through his garage. (Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, Court).
  • $3,850,000 – A bar regular was given free drinks before broad-siding a car. (Travis County, Texas, District Court)
  • $3,200,000 – Drunk driver struck a golf cart on the way out of a country club, killing a 9-year-old girl and injuring her mother. (Broward County, Florida, Circuit Court)
  • $1,700,000 – Teens died in collision with a barricade after buying liquor at a bar and then engaging in an off-road car chase. (Palmer County, Alaska, Superior Court)
  • $1,241,600 – Estate of a man killed by a drunk driver and his injured wife claimed that even if driver did not appear drunk when buying his last beer, bar had a duty to prevent him from leaving after observing that the alcohol had kicked in. (Durham County, North Carolina, Superior Court)
  • $820,000 – A bar patron sped through a stop sign, killing a young couple, after imbibing beers and free jello shots. (Plymouth County, Massachusetts, Superior Court)
  • $752,000 – Man claimed that his co-worker, visibly drunk when served, pushed him through the glass door of a bar. (New York County, New York, Superior Court)
  • $675,000 – After leaving the bar, a driver with .254 BAC passed out at the wheel and ran head-on into another driver and his wife who suffered broken bones. (Mercer County, New Jersey, Superior Court)
  • $70,000 – Children sued the bar that served their father for six hours and let him leave with a six-pack before he killed himself in a head-on collision. (Baldwin County, Alabama, Circuit Court)

Legalsurvival.com Marks Ninth Year Online

Online since 1996, LegalSurvival.com is a comprehensive source of legal information, tools and news. Consumers, small businesses, lawyers and law students are offered a wealth of free services such as forms, newsletters, FAQs and legal checklists. Also featured are a bookstore, discount legal plans and marketing tools for attorneys. New books available at the bookstore are “NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law”, “NYS Justice Court Directory” and “Legal Survival Marketing System”. The LegalSurvival.com website and newsletter have been highly recommended for the free information provided on twenty-nine legal topics: “For a wide range of free information – from how to find a lawyer to how to start a business, with a minimum of legalese. The Legal Survival site also offers to e-mail its newsletter to you.” USA Today. “This site from Friedman & Ranzanhofer provides excellent information on estate planning. It presents information and articles on tax law and recent court cases, and you can download, for free, forms for making lists for wills and a health care proxy. The estate-planning checklists are very complete, and there is even one for the trustees’ duties. The FAQs on executors and wills are worth the visit too” FORTUNE MAGAZINE. “Legal Survival is a very active Web site…where the law is presented in easy-to-understand lay terms for consumers and small business owner: NEW YORK STATE BAR NEWS. “…very interesting free…electronic newsletters…include…the Legal Survival newsletter, from attorney Robert Friedman, author of several law books and a columnist for the Buffalo News, dealing with developments in such areas as consumer protection, debtor/creditor relations, divorce, estate planning, health, landlord/tenant, personal injury, real estate and small business. Mr. Friedman’s site even includes instructions on how to seek permission to private label the newsletter or reprint its contents…” The American Law Institute America Bar Association.

Sisters Fight Over Father’s Burial

In an unusual lawsuit between two sisters, involving a dispute over where their father should be buried, Michael H. Ranzenhofer won a favorable decision for one of the sisters. One sister wanted their father buried next to his brothers and sisters in Erie County.


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