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  Helbock, Nappa & Gallucci, LLP Attorneys at Law
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Helbock Nappa & Gallucci
Obtain Favorable Ruling For
Staten Island Architectural Firm

Helbock Nappa & Gallucci, LLP, announced a favorable ruling on behalf of one of its local architectural clients. The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York issued the ruling in the Matter of Willis Avenue Development LLC v. Block 3400 Contraction Corp et al on September 14, 2016.

This case stems from the sale of real property located in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island, in what is now known as the NYC Hillside Preservation District. The property was being sold vacant but with approved plans to build 5 townhouses. At the time the parties went into contract for the sale of the property, however, the effective date of the rezoning of the neighborhood was fast approaching. The rezoning required the reduction of the size of the development to 4 houses.

The plaintiff developer attempted to start building the houses on the plot prior to the effective date of the zoning change. The developer was not able to install the complete foundation prior to the effective date, so the NYC Building Department issued violations on the property that prevented the issuance of the certificate of occupancy for the homes. It was determined that the foundations for the houses were not completed prior to the deadline for the zoning change. When the new owners could not sell the property, they sued the prior owners, as well as the prior owner’s architect and engineer, seeking damages. The lower court dismissed the case and now the appeals court agreed.

Helbock Nappa & Gallucci, LLP, associate counsel Michael DeSantis, Esq, representing the architect, argued that the allegations of professional malpractice of the construction professionals were unfounded and should be dismissed on statute of limitations grounds. Both the lower court, and now the appellate court, adopted Mr. DeSantis’ argument. The Court also held that negligent misrepresentation cause of action against the defendants should be dismissed because the buyers of the lot were not a “known party” that could reasonably rely upon the architectural site plan. Finally, the Court also agreed with Mr. DeSantis’ argument that the fraud claims against the defendants should be dismissed because the plaintiff did not justifiable rely on any alleged misrepresentations.

Mr. DeSantis argued both the summary judgment motion before the lower court and rebutted the plaintiff’s appeal to the appellate division on behalf of the defendant architect. The matter will proceed to trial against one of the remaining defendants in January of 2017.

To Read Decision Click Here.

Recent Result in the Matter of
Mayrich Construction Corp.,
decided 8/30/2016

The Workers Compensation Board issued a favorable decision on the appeal filed by Helbock Nappa & Gallucci on behalf their client who was found to have a permanent partial disability. The 42 year old claimant was a construction worker who suffered from a work related pulmonary condition and back injury.

The trial judge previously ruled that the claimant’s benefits should be capped at 55% representing 350 weeks of benefits at $584 per week. The attorneys appealed the decision arguing that the severity of the claimant’s injury and impairments deserved a higher loss of wage earning capacity and therefore more benefits.

The appellate panel of the Workers Compensation Board agreed with Helbock Nappa & Gallucci’s argument and overturned the judge. The Panel ruled the claimant was entitled to a 90% loss of wage earning capacity finding representing 475 weeks of benefits at the maximum rate of $792.07. As a result of the favorable appeal the claimant will be paid $376,000 in benefits for his permanent disability.

Helbock Nappa & Gallucci is Successful
in Arguing for a Reduced Earnings Award
in a Concurrent Employment Case

In its decision on 8/15/2016, the NYS Workers Compensation Board upheld the ruling of the trial judge in St Jerome Health Services Corp finding that the claimant who was working at 2 jobs at the time she was injured, could be paid workers compensation benefits during the time that she was only able to return to work for one of her employers.

The claimant was a nurse who did supervisory work in one job and she physically cared for patients in the other. After her injury she was not able to return to work doing the physical duties involved in patient care in the second job. The Workers Compensation Board ruled she should be paid workers compensation benefits to make up for the wages she lost in the second job.

The case was tried by Robert J. Helbock and the appeal was answered by Robert J. Helbock.

HNG Successfully Argues To Secure
Reimbursement of Toll Expenses for
Transit Authority Employee

Helbock Nappa & Gallucci, LLP, the attorneys for a worker’s compensation claimant who was injured while working for the New York City Transit Authority, successfully argued at the NYS Workers Compensation Board that the claimant in this matter is entitled to receive reimbursement for the tolls expended going back and forth to his doctors. The Transit Authority had argued that they were only responsible to reimburse the claimant at the mileage rate specified by the state. The claimant argued since the mileage rate applied statewide, the Transit Authority policy discriminated against claimant’s in the New York City area. Workers Compensation claimants statewide are reimbursed the same mileage rate for traveling to and from their doctors. However, claimants residing and treating in upstate New York do not have to pay tolls (unless they travel via the NYS Thruway). In this case the claimant was paying at least $25.20 in tolls for each visit to his doctor in addition to his mileage expenses. The Workers Compensation Law Judge ruled that the Transit Authority is responsible for paying for the tolls in addition to the mileage.

Ironically, the Transit Authority is a subsidiary of the MTA that collects the tolls, but they stated in writing that they refused to reimburse the expense of the tolls. Robert Helbock, the claimant’s attorney, said, “I am not surprised that the MTA is willing to collect the tolls but thinks it is too much money to reimburse the claimant for the tolls he had to pay. I am happy to see the fairness prevailed in the Workers Compensation Law Judge’s decision. “

It is unknown whether the Transit Authority will appeal the decision.