Spring 2007 Edition

Vol.11 – No.3

Ranzenhofer’s Verdicts and Settlements

Veteran trial attorney, Michael H. Ranzenhofer, recently obtained the following personal injury awards and settlements:

  1. A $2.8 million settlement for a five-year-old Niagara Falls girl who sustained back and head injuries when she was a front seat passenger in a car driven by her father. The girl’s father was driving around an improperly parked car when he suddenly noticed another car coming towards him and turned back into his own lane, striking the parked car. After the minimum $25,000 insurance coverage was obtained from the father, Mr. Ranzenhofer successfully negotiated a $2.8 million settlement with the insurance company for the owner of the parked car. Although the girl sustained serious back and head injuries, she made an excellent recovery and returned to school a few months after the accident.
  2. A $200,000 settlement for a 92-year-old Blasdell women who injured her knee when she fell walking down a staircase leading into a local fire hall. Mr. Ranzenhofer was able to prove that the woman fell due to a loose stairway railing. The $200,000 settlement was paid by the insurance company for the fire company.
  3. A $250,000 settlement paid by Preferred Mutual Insurance Company for a concrete worker who was seriously injured when his car was rear ended by a drunk driver.
  4. In a slip and fall case, a 78-year-old retired chiropractor from the Town of Tonawanda accepted a $45,000 settlement from Selective Insurance Company for a knee injury he sustained when he stepped off a broken concrete curb that was covered with snow.
  5. A 48-year-old Akron cafeteria supervisor, who injured her shoulder when she was struck from behind while a passenger on her husband’s motorcycle, accepted a combined $92,000 settlement from the insurance companies for her husband and the negligent driver.
  6. $25,000 from GEICO Insurance Company for a 35-year-old Buffalo corrections officer who sustained a low back injury when she was rear ended on the Kensington Expressway.
  7. $75,000 was awarded for a Corfu woman who sustained a scar on her scalp, and exacerbation of her multiple sclerosis symptoms, as the result of a two-car accident in Batavia. The award was paid by Progressive Insurance Company.
  8. A 38-year-old Genesee County man accepted $25,000 from Allstate Insurance Company for a low back injury he sustained in a two-car accident in Batavia.
  9. A Buffalo man accepted $12,000 from Six Flags Darien Lake for a scar on his forehead that he sustained when the Superman ride stopped short.
  10. A Holland car salesman injured his wrist when he slipped on parking lot ice after buying his morning coffee. Merremack Insurance Company paid $15,000 to settle the case.
  11. An Amherst carpenter injured his shoulder when he was rear ended. He accepted a $47,500 settlement from Farmers New Century Insurance.
  12. An 83-year-old Cheektowaga retiree was a front seat passenger in her own car driven by her son. He pulled into traffic leaving a Wegman’s parking lot and was broadsided by another car. She accepted $52,000 from her own insurance company, New York Central Mutual, for knee and chest injuries.
  13. A 31-year-old Orleans County man accepted $25,000 from Allstate Insurance Company for a neck injury he suffered in a two car accident.

Michael H. Ranzenhofer fights for victims and their families who have serious losses due to personal injury. He takes on the large insurance companies and gets results for his clients. We wish to thank our clients, friends and referring attorneys for the confidence they have shown by selecting our law firm.

Attorney Michael H. Ranzenhofer of Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. 716-542-5444 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.

Landlord Not Liable for Radiator Burns

A three-year-old sustained serious burns when he climbed on to a radiator in his parent’s New York City apartment. The landlord and the management company were sued for his injuries. Several times during the months preceding the accident, the tenants had asked the landlord and management company to provide radiator covers, but they had refused on the ground of expense. The New York Court of Appeals held that the landlord had no legal duty to supply radiator covers. When neither the common law, nor a statute or lease imposes such a responsibility on a landlord, the obligation to protect infants is that of the tenants. The court distinguished the landlord’s duty to remove paint from premises inhaled by children because the lead paint obligation was imposed by a New York City local law. The tenants insisted that there was a local law which applied to radiators. However, the court found that the code provision addresses pipes, not radiators. The tenants also argued that the landlord’s statutory duty to keep the premises in good repair was violated, making an injury actionable on that ground.

However, there was no showing of bad repair in this case. The radiator was in good repair, doing what radiators do: getting hot and warming the premises. The court ruled that the decision whether radiator covers must be supplied by landlords is left to the legislature and regulators, who are in the best position to balance the harm prevented by this safety measure against its cost.

Smoking Makes Apartment Uninhabitable

The tenants vacated their apartment in the middle of a two-year lease because of incessant second-hand smoke which penetrated into their apartment as a result of new neighbors who had moved into an apartment next door. The neighbors constantly smoked in the apartment and in the common hallway. The tenant notified the landlord in writing that the smoking was an ongoing health hazard for his wife who was recovering from her second cancer surgery and who was extremely allergic to tobacco smoke. Despite sealing their apartment door with weather stripping and a draft barrier and operating air filters around the clock, the tenants could still smell the smoke in their apartment. The landlord took no action to curtail the neighbor’s smoking. The landlord sued the tenants to collect rent and late charges. The tenants counterclaimed for breach of the warranty of habitability and constructive eviction. In every written or oral lease for residential premises there is an implied warranty of habitability that the premises and all common areas are fit for human habitation and that the tenants shall not be subject to any conditions which would be dangerous, hazardous or detrimental to their life, health or safety. Conditions caused by ordinary deterioration, work stoppages by employees, acts of third parties or natural disasters are all within the scope of the warrant. The courts have continually held that the implied warranty of habitability can apply to conditions beyond the landlord’s control. The New York County Civil Court held that second-hand smoke qualified as a condition covered by the implied warranty of habitability. The court listed the more common conditions that give rise to claims of breach of the warranty of habitability, such as, noxious odors, chemical fumes, excessive noise, water leaks and extreme dust penetration. Referring to government declarations that there is a substantial body of scientific research that breathing second-hand smoke poses a significant health hazard, the judge found that second-hand smoke is just as insidious and invasive as these conditions.

What’s New in 2007 at Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C.

wny-lawyers.com Launched

Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C., launched a second website, www.wny-lawyers.com. The new site complements the Legal Survival.com website which was launched in 1996. Nine practice areas handled by Friedman & Ranzenhofer, P.C. are featured, including legal resources such as forms, checklists and articles.

Laura Fees Named An Associate

Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC has named Laura Fees an associate attorney. Laura, a 2006 graduate of SUNY Buffalo Law School, was admitted to the New York Bar on February 22, 2007. She will concentrate her practice in real estate, probate and estate planning.

New Clarence/Williamsville Office

Our Clarence/Williamsville office is now located at 8203 Main Street, Suite 4 in the Stonegate Office Park. It is .3 miles east of the intersection of Main & Transit Roads. The office park entrance is between Towne BMW and Mercedes Benz of Buffalo. The office is handicap accessible.

New Batavia Office

Our Batavia office is now located at 113 Main Street in the City of Batavia between Jackson and Center Streets. The office is handicap accessible.

New Buffalo Office

Our downtown Buffalo Office is no located at 70 Niagara Street between Franklin Street and Niagara Square.

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