Winter 2007-2008 Edition

Vol.12 – No.2

Michael Ranzenhofer, Personal Injury Attorney

Dear Friends and Clients:

You may not know me as a personal injury attorney because I prepared your Will or handled your traffic ticket. However, I have been a personal injury litigator for more than 27 years.

You won’t see me advertising for accident clients on TV or on billboards for a number of reasons. I depend on referrals from satisfied clients; relatives, neighbors, and co-workers of injured people; other attorneys; and other professionals such as doctors, chiropractors and physical therapists. I don’t accept all cases. I limit the number of cases to those that I have time to personally handle. I carefully screen-out all cases. I don’t settle all cases. I will take your case to trial if necessary to get you the most money that you are entitled to receive for your pain and suffering, loss of income and medical expenses. I won’t refer your case out to another attorney. My “Ten Point Pledge” is to:

  1. Communicate with you in plain language that is easy to understand.
  2. Promptly return your telephone calls.
  3. Quickly and thoroughly investigate and analyze your case.
  4. Personally handle your case.
  5. Keep you informed of the progress of your case at all times.
  6. Show you the personal care, concern and attention which has been the hallmark of our law firm since 1955.
  7. Not handle your case in an “assembly line” fashion.
  8. Accommodate the needs of you and your family during the handling of your case.
  9. Vigorously protect your legal rights.
  10. Never release your name to the media, except with your written permission.

Ranzenhofer’s Settlements

Michael H. Ranzenhofer, Attorney successfully obtained the following settlements for his clients:

  • When a motorist struck a dog on the New York State Thruway, his bumper fell off, blocking the right lane. He pulled on to the shoulder of the road. Ten minutes later, our client stopped to assist the first motorist. A third motorist tried to avoid the bumper, struck our client’s car and pinned him against the guard rail, severely injuring his legs. Our client eventually succumbed to his injuries. The first motorist denied any liability for the accident. Through a thorough investigation, attorney Michael H. Ranzenhofer discovered that the first motorist’s version of the accident was not true. Furthermore, Mr. Ranzenhofer learned that he did not call for assistance because he feared being arrested for driving with a suspended license. After initially offering nothing, Progressive Insurance paid $50,000, for a total recovery of $145,000.
  • A $100,000 settlement was paid by the insurance company for Sears to a 55-year-old Blasdell man who injured his bicep. A Sears employee dropped a weed whacker on the man’s arm resulting in a torn bicep which required surgery and caused him to loose six months from work. The Sears employees lied about how the accident happened and falsified documents saying that the accident never occurred. A thorough investigation by Mr. Ranzenhofer uncovered photographic and documentary evidence which established that the accident had occurred in the store. Sears paid $100,000 on the eve of trial, more than 20 times their original offer of $4,500.
  • An elderly driver failed to stop at a stop sign in Genesee County crashing into a 40-year-old driver and her 65-year-old mother. Glass in the driver’s ankle had to be surgically removed. Her mother aggravated a 20-year-old prior back injury. The day before a jury was to be selected, State Farm Insurance Company settled the case for $72,500
  • A Genesee County woman accepted $17,500 for back injuries sustained when she was rear-ended by a FedEx truck.


    Animal Verdicts

    • $4,275,000 A man and a woman riding on a motorcycle were injured when hit by a car that was swerving to avoid a horse in the roadway. (Middlesex Co, NJ, Super. Ct.)
    • $1,607,666 Two alpaca farms, where animals became fatally ill, joined forces in a products liability case to sue the firms that supplied their feed. (Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, Dist. Ct.)
    • $1,000,000 A U.S. Postal Service worker was returning home when he was gored by a bull that had wandered into his front yard from a neighboring ranch.
    • $215,000 A man walking on a neighborhood street was mauled by a pit bull which escaped its yard, either by digging beneath or jumping over its fence. (Middlesex Co., N.J., Super. Ct)
    • $200,000 A 4-year old was walking with her mother when a pit bull bit her on the leg. The dog’s owner left his gate open. (Putnam Co., Fla., Cir. Ct., 7th)
    • $175,000 A gorilla, which escaped from the zoo, hit a three-year-old girl with his claws and dragged her. She received permanent scars and still has nightmares over the attack. The gorilla had escaped once before, about one month before he attacked the girl. (Mass.)
    • $122,400 A handyman was bitten on the hand by his sister’s Siamese cat. His hand became infected, requiring a hospital stay. He sued for medicals and lost earnings. (Genesee Co., Mich., Cir. Ct.,)
    • $31,000 An insurance adjuster was attacked by a goose as she went to her car. It was known that there was a goose attacking people in the parking lot. (Passaic Co., N.J., Super. Ct.)
    • $15,611 A woman was bit on the face and nose by a Rottweiler while shopping at a yard sale. (Los Angeles Co., Calif., Super. Ct.)

    Learn About the New Medicaid Laws

    “Fourteen Ways to Preserve Your Assets with the New Medicaid Laws” will be presented at Hospice Buffalo, 225 Como Park Boulevard, Cheektowaga on Tuesday, March 4, 2008 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Speakers are Attorney Robert Friedman of Friedman & Ranzenhofer, PC; Bill Strunk of M&T Bank; Gina Fedele of Hospice Buffalo; and Colleen Fitzhenry of New England Financial. The Medicaid eligibility requirements for long term care were drastically changed. However, you can preserve your assets, while accessing long term care services through the Medicaid program with the following: (a) Powers of Attorney; (b) Health Care Proxies and Living Wills; (c)Wills; (d) Irrevocable Living Trusts; (e) transferring your home to family members; (f)reverse mortgages; (g) Long Term Care Insurance; (h) Prepaid Funeral Accounts; (i) IRAs and Pensions; (j) properly documented gifts; (k)spousal allowances and transfers; (l) Caregiver Agreements; and (m)annuities. To register, call (716) 542-5444. For further information on Medicaid planning, send a stamped (.58), 4″x 91/2″ self-addressed envelope to PO Box 31-M, Akron, NY 14001-0031 or visit ” Free Legal Resources” at www.WNY-Lawyers.com.


    Landlord Survival Workshop

    HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY MANAGE AND INVEST IN RENTAL REAL ESTATE.

    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    9:00 am to 3:00 pm (registration @8:30 am)

    Millennium Airport Hotel

    2040 Walden Avenue, Cheektowaga, NY

    Speakers:

    Robert Friedman, Attorney

    Russell Gullo, CCIM, CEA

    Landlords and property managers will obtain up-to-date, practical information on how to:

    • Pay no capital gains tax when selling investment real estate.
    • Quickly evict bad tenants and be prepared for tenants’ defenses.
    • Win in Small Claims Court and collect money judgments.
    • Minimize and prevent personal injury, discrimination, toxic mold and lead paint lawsuits.
    • Deal with elderly tenants, drug dealers, terrorists and Section Eight Tenants.
    • Save legal and insurance costs.
    • Increase your rental income.
    • Draft fool-proof leases, tenant applications, and move-in/move-out checklists.
    • Properly screen-out bad tenants without discriminating.
    • Buy foreclosure properties.

    Registration Fee: $29 per person. Save $10 by preregistering by 4/4/08: only $19 per person.

    To register: call (716) 542-5444 or mail check payable to Victoria Square Publishing Co., Inc. to PO Box 31, Akron, NY 14001.


    Sister Names Herself Beneficiary with Power of Attorney

    A woman executed a durable power of attorney making her sister her agent. The sister used the power of attorney to make herself the beneficiary of the woman’s $50,000 life insurance policy, revoking the beneficiary status of the woman’s children and grandchildren. When the woman died, the children and grandchildren argued that the terms of the power of attorney did not authorize the sister to change beneficiaries. The court ruled that the power of attorney was sufficiently explicit stating that the sister had the authority to “transact all insurance business” and “to take any other action in this regard”. However, the court’s ruling did not preclude the original beneficiaries from suing on the grounds that the woman originally lacked the mental capacity to execute the power of attorney or that the sister violated a fiduciary duty. (Tennessee Supreme Court)


    Housing Discrimination Cases

    A landlord violated the Fair Housing Act by maintaining a policy of requiring prospective tenants to divulge mental health information and, on occasion, to make their mental health records available as part of the tenancy application process. Pursuant to the consent decree, the landlord paid a $40,000 settlement.

    A black tenant and her family were repeatedly harassed from the first day they moved in. Their neighbor spewed racial epithets and banged on the walls. This forced them to move elsewhere. Although they complained to their landlord, he did nothing to alleviate the situation. The landlord appeared sympathetic to their plight, but failed to take any action. He suggested that the tenant call the police (which she did numerous times) and the NAACP, but specifically told the tenants that he did not want to get in the middle or “take sides.” A $15,500 judgment was rendered against the landlord.

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