Spotlight on New York personal injury attorney John Blyth.
What inspired you to become an attorney?
The real reason? It was to hang out with the woman who later became my wife! I graduated college and we had just started dating while she was studying for the LSAT. I wanted to spend more time with her, but of course she had to spend a lot of time studying. So I said I’d study with her. She had a spare set of LSAT books and that was that – I ended up taking the test too! It all worked out well in the end, because being an attorney was definitely the right choice for me, and hanging out with her was the right choice for us both – and the family we’ve created together.
What practice areas do you focus on?
I focus on personal injury, including some class action suits, for things like unpaid overtime and wage disputes. I also work on some employment cases, things like sexual harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination.
Tell us about your most interesting or significant case.
One interesting case I had was an elderly woman who lived in a housing authority building on the lower east side of Manhattan who was attacked. There was a security guard in the lobby of her building who failed to stop two women from following my client into the building and attacking her in the elevator. These women did not live in that building and should have been stopped by the security guard who, if he had been doing his job correctly, would have checked their IDs and refused them entry. We sued the security company for not performing their duty. As an elderly woman my client was part of a very vulnerable population, and she was very badly injured during this attack. Eventually the case went to trial and the jury ultimately found in my client’s favor. It was gratifying to help my client pursue and achieve justice.
I also always feel especially proud of cases I take on that other firms rejected. One notable case was when my client was seriously injured when he fell into a gap between two metal roadway plates at a crosswalk in the Bronx. His left leg became wedged up to high thigh, and his right knee came crashing down onto the metal plate. He had to undergo two knee surgeries after his accident. What made this case difficult was proving who was liable, and we had to do extensive investigation into the permit history of the plates at the intersection. This is why other firms had turned his case down, but the client’s injuries were so severe he absolutely deserved to hold someone accountable for his pain, suffering, and medical bills. The responsible party defended aggressively but ultimately settled in mediation.
What are you most proud of, professionally or personally?
Professionally, while I am proud of helping all of my clients, I find it particularly rewarding to help our elderly clients because they’re so vulnerable and are often neglected or abused. I’m immensely proud to give a voice to those who don’t have one, and by doing so help them and the people who love them.
I also volunteer for the Veterans Consortium whose mission is to provide veterans with pro bono legal services to access the benefits and compensation they’re entitled to. I help veterans who were injured during service get the correct disability benefits from the VA. The practice is in a high-level federal court of appeals for veterans claims and I’m proud to be part of that and give back to my community.
Do you have any hidden talents, hobbies, or a fun fact?
I really enjoy building things and working with my hands. Woodworking is my hobby. I actually made all of the furniture in my daughter’s room. I was an art minor in college and I’ve missed that creative outlet, so woodworking is both fun and productive.
What is your favorite quote?
“The way a person does one thing is the way they do everything.” It means that if you don’t put your full effort and heart into one task, that’s probably the way you to everything else in your life. It reminds me to always focus and put in my best effort, no matter how minor the task seems to be.