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Attorney Spotlight: Hillary Nappi

Hach & Rose, LLP attorney Hillary Nappi gives insight into why she became a lawyer and who she is.

What inspired you to become an attorney?

I decided to be an attorney when I was six years old. My parents had gone out to dinner and left me with a babysitter. While they were gone I accidentally broke a lamp and, afraid to get in trouble, I quickly glued it back together. When my parents came home and saw the lamp, which was obviously a mess, they asked me what happened. I lied and spun a story blaming my dog. My parents were not fooled, and I was grounded. I made a list of reasons why I should be let off punishment in a marble notebook and presented it to my parents over dinner. They laughed and told me I was still punished for lying. I hounded them every day for the whole week. Finally, they let me off punishment two days early. For my perseverance they told me that I would probably make a good lawyer. After my dad explained to me what a lawyer was, I decided right then and there that it would be my future.

What practice areas do you focus on?

I work on complex corporate litigation, corporate governance, and sexual abuse and assault cases.

Tell us about one of your most interesting cases.

I have two cases which mean the world to me. The first case was litigated last year. I represented a 17-year-old high school student in a case involving bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination. My client is gay and when he came out to his classmates he was brutally bullied and harassed. He fought back, and instead of dealing with the bullies, his school suspended him. When he returned to school, he was assaulted on the campus. Again, the school punished him instead of his attackers, and moved to have him expelled. The administration’s response to his sexuality made me realize how many kids are being marginalized every day and how many children need protection. We were able to arrange for him to finish his education with home schooling, and we also settled the case so that he had money to compensate him for his injuries. Most importantly, the outcome of this case gave him the freedom to start his new life, seeking out people and places that would let him feel respected and accepted.

The second case is a Child Victims Act (CVA) case. My client was repeatedly raped and abused by her brother in law when she was a child. When she contacted me, no other firm would take her case. We were successfully able to bring awareness of her allegations to the community she grew up in (and fled). When her case settled, she told me that it was the first day of the rest of her life. She has repeatedly called me a “life-saver.” Though I’m honored that she feels that way, I don’t necessarily think that’s true. However, her case made me feel like a “gladiator in a suit” (a quote from one of my favorite shows, Scandal).

These two cases helped me to realize that even though representing survivors of sexual assault can be incredibly draining, cases like these are why I do it. I helped to change the lives of these two people, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity.

What are you most proud of?

My ability to remain real. I’m honest with my clients; I listen to their stories, offer them sympathy, and never over or underestimate what I can do for them. In my life, my friends and family know that I’m someone they can trust. No matter what happens, I never want to lose that quality.

Do you have any hidden talents, hobbies, or a fun fact?

Recently I’ve gotten into cooking! There wasn’t too much else to do during quarantine, so I figured it would be a good time to brush up on my skills. I am now an expert at making fried rice.

What is your favorite quote?

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” by Martin Luther King, Jr. It was my high school yearbook quote and it still resonates with me. It’s the truest thing I’ve ever read.

Attorney Spotlight: Halina Radchenko

New York City personal injury attorney Halina Radchenko discusses what inspired her to become a lawyer.

What inspired you to become an attorney?

Well as a kid, I absolutely loved theater and sometimes dreamed of being an actress, but as a child of immigrants there was no way that was going to happen. I came to the U.S. when I was 4 from Kiev. I think the seed of practicing law must have started young, though I didn’t truly realize it until high school. My great grandfather practiced as a criminal defense attorney on behalf of the King of Russia. My grandmother used to tell me stories as a child about his cases, and how much he loved helping people.

I went to James Madison High School, which is the high school that Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated from. They actually had a courtroom named after her and I think that’s where my love for the law started. In my freshmen year I participated in a mock trial, and after that I was completely hooked. I had found a profession that tied my love of performance – because trying a case in court is definitely a kind of performance! – with a profession that my parents would approve of.

My great grandfather’s influence, coupled with my experiences in high school, are why I chose to become a plaintiff’s side personal injury trial lawyer. It’s a career I’m truly passionate about.

Tell us about one of your most interesting cases.

I think the most interesting case I ever worked on would be my first municipal liability case. This was really my first foray into a case suing the city, and I didn’t know all of the ins and outs associated with that kind of a case. My client had fallen in a pothole, and she had taken photos of the pothole at the time of the accident. Lo and behold, by 7 AM the next day, the pothole was gone! I thought, well, surely that means the city must have received written notice. But after 2 years of wild goose chase – which took two years! – it turned out they had never been notified. That was when I learned that in New York City, they employ roving repair gangs whose entire purpose is to just wander around the city and fix any potholes that they stumble across. And that was how it happened – the city had never had written notice, the repair gang just came across the pothole. I had no idea this process even existed, and I found out so much about the city and how repairs happen.

I truly thought I’d lose the case, but the night before the trial I had an idea to issue a crazy motion to go back into discovery. It was a last-ditch effort, but it was worth a shot. Somehow it worked, and we were able to settle for $75,000, way more than we ever expected to get. It was an incredibly difficult case, but it was fascinating, and in the end rewarding that I was able to get that amount for my client!

What are you most proud of?

Personally, I’m really proud that I’ve achieved a good balance between my work and my home life. Before I had kids, I was incredibly career focused. After I had my kids, I was determined to be a great mom and an excellent lawyer at the same time, and I knew I’d need to work out a way to accomplish both without sacrificing anything. I’ve completely restructured my work and home life so that I can spend as much time as possible with my kids, while still getting as much time as I need to do my job to the best of my ability. I’m really proud of being able to be a great mom and a great lawyer.

Professionally, I’m very proud and humbled to become the next president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA). During the case that I was describing earlier, my boss at the time suggested that I use NYSTLA as a resource to get some transcripts I needed. That was how I was first introduced to the organization, and over the years I became more and more involved with them. They were a big part of my growth journey as a lawyer. I’m really proud of the work that they do. They work to change legislation that’s unfair and make New York a better place to live. When I was nominated as president-elect this year, I became the youngest president at NYSTLA, and possibly the youngest in the country (each state has their own Trial Lawyers Association).

Do you have any hidden talents, hobbies or a fun fact?

I’m a diver! I love to dive, and as a result I’m really big into ocean conservation. If I am ever in the water and see a piece of garbage, I have to grab it. My kids all know the drill. If we’re in the water, we all immediately grab any trash. The strangest piece of trash I ever found was an iPhone in the middle of the ocean.

We like to dive when we travel as well, and one place I really want to dive is Thailand. They have a serious issue with pollution in their waters, and if you want to help them clean their waters, you can actually join a dive team for that purpose. I really want to go with my son so we can join the diving team and collect garbage. It’s a passion of mine.

What is your favorite quote?

“Heaven is a place. A place where nothing, nothing ever happens.” It’s a quote from the song Heaven by the Talking Heads. I love it because it reminds me to live my life to the fullest. Everyone has this abstract concept of what will happen when we die, but in this song, it’s just a bar where they play the same song, the same people are always there, and nothing ever happens. Down here on Earth is where everything happens. So to me, it means live your life to the fullest now, because nothing is better than this.

Attorney Spotlight: Mark Sokoloff

New York City personal injury lawyer Mark Sokoloff talks about his career and background.

What inspired you to become an attorney?

Ralph Nader spoke at my college and really inspired me. He was a civil rights attorney and is well known for his work in consumer protection, environmentalism, and government reform. That, and John F. Kennedy, who said “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Tell us about one of your most interesting cases.

The first firm I worked with when I graduated from law school was a railroad labor firm, and one of the first cases I was involved with was Agent Orange. One of the first clients I worked with was Paul Reutershan.

He came in initially to see if he had a case against the railroad because a commuter had assaulted him. I told him no, the railroad isn’t responsible for that, and I figured that would be the end of the conversation. He says, “Well, while I have you here, can I ask you about something else? I think I got cancer from something called Agent Orange while I was serving as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.” Right away, I think he’s crazy, what could he be talking about? But I try to be respectful and take notes, even though at this point I think this whole story is ridiculous. I get off the phone with him and tell him I’ll be in touch.

When I started looking into the information he gave me, things made more and more sense, and I became convinced that there was something important here. Other people were looking into it at the time, and they were going to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia to find out more about it. So I talked to the other attorneys at the firm, and we decided to go for it. We filed a complaint, hired experts to support our case, and it ended up going to federal court. The money that we won from the insurance company during that case became the start of the Agent Orange fund.

Unfortunately, Paul died from the cancer he contracted after his time in Vietnam before we won the case. He became the first person to receive a federal disability benefit as a veteran involved with Agent Orange, and he received it posthumously. This whole experience was extremely formative for my career, and it was my first entry into class action lawsuits.

What are you most proud of?

Well, being a part of the filing of Agent Orange is something I’m extremely proud of. I also helped to form the Independent Railway Supervisors Association (IRSA) as the first independent union on a major carrier.

I also have a very well cited second circuit court of appeals case, Bates vs. LIRR, which was one of the first Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) filed against the railroad, and we established that a railroad can’t furlough people with a disability.

Do you have any hidden talents, hobbies or a fun fact?

I actually once opened at The Improv, the comedy club on West 44th Street. It’s a pizza place now but in its day, it was an institution for comedians. I opened for Rodney Dangerfield and Sam Kinison. It was only 6 minutes, and it was a complete blur. I don’t even remember how I did! I guess I couldn’t have been that good since I became a lawyer, not a comedian.

What is your favorite quote?

For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.

Attorney Spotlight: Michael Rose

A Founding Partner of Hach & Rose, LLP, Michael Rose has more than 20 years of experience fighting for his clients. We sat down with Michael to learn more about his career path, what inspires him, and hear about some of his largest cases.

What inspired you to become an attorney?

I always knew that I wanted to do something to help society, I just didn’t know exactly how I wanted to do it. Initially, I thought I wanted to do that was through environmental law. But as I went through law school, I realized I wanted to become a trial lawyer. I enjoy speaking in public and being in the courtroom. After law school, I was hired by a personal injury firm where I learned skills both as a trial lawyer and how to best serve clients. I was lucky to be put into the right situations where I was able to discover what I’m really passionate about. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to help people in need.

Tell us about one of your most interesting cases.

Our first seven-figure jury verdict was a really significant case for us, not solely because of the money we won but in confirming that we’re doing good for our clients. That was back when Greg Hach and I first started the practice, and things were very different back then. We had to be very conscientious about the amount of money we spent pursuing a case, because at the time our budgets weren’t anything like what they are now. We were representing a man who was involved in an auto accident. He was a union printer, and because of the nature of his job he had a history of back problems. The accident was truly the straw that broke the camel’s back, and he needed significant spinal surgery. He couldn’t return to work after the accident and he had a family to support, including a daughter in law school. The attorneys on the side of the defendant were arguing that they shouldn’t have to pay any significant amount of money because our client had a history of back issues. They said his disability wasn’t caused by the accident, it was caused by years of working in print shops. The trial was expensive, back at a time where the amount we spent on a case was something we needed to be very careful about. It was a big deal to us, but we knew we had to do the right thing by the client, no matter how much hardship it caused us.

Finally, the defendant offered to settle for $500,000. It would have been a huge amount of money at the time, and I think our client would have accepted it if we had advised it. But I really felt it wasn’t the right amount of money, considering the significance of the injuries our client will suffer with the rest of his life. So we rejected the offer and decided to take the case to trial. The trial took a month and cost us $50,000 at a time when we really didn’t have that kind of money. We were taking a huge risk, and we put the case into the jury’s hands.

There was a moment I’ll never forget, right before the jury gave their decision. The jury was out and during that time they have the opportunity to ask questions and write notes for the judge. They sent a note asking for a calculator. At that point, I knew we were in good shape! The jury settled on a number over $2,000,000. That was when I knew we were doing the right thing. If we stick to our convictions, we’ll be successful.

Tell us about the origin story of Hach & Rose, LLP. How did you decide to start the firm?

Greg and I met while working at a law firm in downtown Manhattan. We both started working there straight out of law school. We were around the same age and the firm was in the process of making us both partnership offers. We were only in our late 20s, and we would have been the youngest partners in the history of that firm. It was a very large, well respected firm, and becoming partners would have offered us very secure, stable careers. But even though we were young, Greg and I already had big dreams, and we knew how we’d want to run a business. We wanted to be in control of our own destinies. It was more important to take the risk of starting out on our own, rather than take the safe road.

We began our journey towards creating a firm by renting two small offices in Manhattan. The first employee we hired was Philomena, when she was only 19. She’s still with us, 20 years later, managing our office. Today we have 15 attorneys and more than 40 employees.

What are you most proud of?

Personally, my kids. They’re both teenagers now and I’m so proud of how they’re growing into young adults and how they’ve become kind, thoughtful people people who care about others and what’s going on in the world. I like to think that some of that came from watching me as they grew up.

Professionally, the fact that I grew a business from the ground up. It’s a business based on helping people, and that means a lot to me. Not only are we helping our clients, but we have 40 employees that support their families through their careers with us. I’m proud that people enjoy working here, and that they’re proud of our firm. You spend more time in your office than you do at home, so providing a place that people are happy to work in is important to me.

Do you have any hidden talents, hobbies or a fun fact?

Nope! I’m too self-absorbed to have any hidden talents, I would have talked about it already! (Honestly, what attorney isn’t? If your attorney isn’t at least a little self-absorbed, you might want to find a new one…)

But to answer the question, I do love to exercise. It’s a way that I reduce stress and clear my mind. I grew up playing soccer and tennis competitively. I still play tennis, and I share that hobby with my daughter. I also enjoy playing basketball with my son.

What is your favorite quote?

There are many that I like, but two come to mind. “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching,” is one I love by John Wooden. And then there’s the popular quote by the great Wayne Gretsky, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” As an attorney who has led his life choosing difficult paths, rather than the comfortable ones, that resonates with me.

2019 Hach & Rose, LLP Annual College Scholarship Winner

After combing through hundreds of inspiring stories of perseverance in the face of adversity, we are honored to announce the winner of the 2019 Hach & Rose, LLP Annual College Scholarship. This year’s winner was “born to a team of lawyers trying to convince [her] parents not to even attempt to sue the hospital.”

A month before she was born, in December of 2000, Eliza Schmitt’s mother visited her doctor for a routine checkup. Her parents wanted to induce labor on January 1st, 2001, and asked the doctor about it. The doctor refused to induce labor for personal reasons rather than what was best for the patient. Eliza explains the doctor’s beliefs as “while medicine can help alleviate the pain of birth… we, as people, don’t have the right to induce labor.” Despite Eliza’s mother having previously struggled with a natural birth and her preference for a C-Section, the doctor pushed them towards having the baby naturally, and told them parents that “She’ll come when she’s ready.”

Parents put their trust in their doctors, which makes what happened next feel even more of a betrayal.

Eliza was born on January 20th, 2001, nearly three weeks after the day her parents would have induced the labor. The birth was a challenging one, and the doctors said something was wrong in the process. Due to the extra time she spent in the womb, Eliza was a large baby. Eliza’s head and left arm were out, but she was stuck in the birth canal and would need to be pulled out. Eliza explains what happened:

“I’ve been told that either they would end up breaking my collarbone or giving me permanent nerve damage– Erb’s Palsy. Either way it was a lose-lose situation, but knowing they had no other options, my parents had to agree. Instead of the slightly better option of breaking my collarbone, something that wouldn’t majorly affect me for the rest of my life, I received permanent nerve damage. I arrived around 12pm, left arm dangling, forever useless.”

After she was born, the doctor refused to take responsibility for what happened. Her family called lawyer after lawyer, and all of them refused to take on the case of clear-cut medical negligence, saying that suing hospitals was a “no-go.” At the same time, the hospital’s legal team advised Eliza’s parents not to sue the hospital. Without any lawyers willing to step up and take on their case, her parents were left unable to do anything to hold the hospital accountable for their daughter’s birth injury.

For the first 10 years of her life, Eliza’s arm “laid uselessly at [her] side” as she grew up in constant pain. In 2011, she was able to undergo an experimental surgery that made some corrections in her shoulder. After eight hours of surgery and six months of physical therapy, she was finally able to lift her shoulder.

Her entire life was changed as a result of the negligence of a single doctor. Despite the difficulties she has faced, Eliza says that her disability has made her a stronger person. “It made me work harder than my peers for things that came easy to them.” She was told that she would never be able to play an instrument, or shoot a basketball, or even do a simple pushup. She overcame all of these challenges and is now able to play both the piano and the saxophone, can through a “poor basketball shot,” and can do a wall pushup. She learned that through hard work, perseverance, and creativity, she can do anything. We completely agree. Congratulations, Ms. Schmitt.

New Must Know Info: Arbitration: A Glimpse into Alternative Dispute Resolution

In a new article for our “Must Know Info” series, New York City personal injury lawyer Michael Rose describes the benefits of using arbitration to resolve disputes rather than lengthy jury trials.

Click here to see the article.

2018 Hach & Rose, LLP Annual College Scholarship Winner

It is our honor to announce the winner of the 2018 Hach & Rose, LLP Annual College Scholarship. While selecting only one of over 450 truly inspirational essays proved to be a near impossible task, the genuine emotion, fortitude, and perseverance radiating from the pages of the winning essay solidified our decision.

Our winner’s father was seriously injured on the job. His injuries required five very significant operations. In the essay, the author mentions the physical limitations the accident had on her father, her family’s financial burdens that followed, and the effect it had on the everyday things she and her younger sister had previously taken for granted. She focuses on how the accident enabled her to rediscover the strength of family, the importance of resilience, the power of integrity, and the freedom of acceptance.

Her father, her “larger than life hero,” attempted to shield both of his daughters from the debilitating impact the accident was actually having on his family’s life. Not until the author was older did she come to terms with the gravity of the unfortunate event. Instead of becoming consumed with anger or self-pity, she watched her father rise to life’s new challenges and she eagerly followed in his footsteps. “His own work ethic is one that keeps the entire family motivated to do our best.” In fact, she had an injury herself which required foot surgery, but this setback only served as a catalyst for her to work harder; she won several titles on her school’s track team and has been recognized by her teammates as an outstanding leader. “[My father] made every possible attempt to attend my races and show his support; the least I could do was give it everything I had, even when it hurt.”

Accidents often have a debilitating impact on victims and their families. Our essay winner’s experience should serve as a reminder that while we may not have control over setbacks in life, we do have control over whether such situations define us or redefine us. Due to her demonstrated strength, spirit and accomplishments – all in the face of adversity – it is our absolute honor to name Margaret Ryan as the winner of the first Hach & Rose Annual Scholarship. We have no doubt that you will excel in Speech Language Pathology at your university and will embrace every day of your bright future. “I take with me all my dad’s advice. I take his dedication, perseverance and integrity.” As we all should, too, Ms. Ryan. Congratulations.

Best Law Firms 2018

We are proud to announce U.S. News & World Report has included Hach & Rose, LLP in its “Best Law Firms” list for 2018. Law firms named in this list are recognized by both clients and lawyers for professional excellence, integrity, and accomplishments. The methodology includes gathering information from comprehensive surveys given to clients and lawyers, as well as incorporating 7.3 million evaluations of 54,463 individual leading lawyers. The result is an accurate and objective list of leading law firms, nationwide.

At Hach & Rose, LLP, we believe the honor of being named to the list of “Best Law Firms” was a natural trajectory as our talented staff followed the vigorous lead of founding partners, Michael Rose and Gregory Hach. Our commitment to every client and belief in their cases emboldens us to always invest our full resources as there is no cost too great to see that every client is given the best chance they deserve.

We strive to provide as painless a process as possible in what most people will consider the most painful time of their lives. Our hope is by being recognized for the values we embrace coupled with our proven results will add an extra layer of comfort for the injured victims who walk through our firm’s doors.

Hach & Rose, LLP is a personal injury law firm specializing in construction/work related accidents, motor vehicle accidents, nursing home and medical malpractice, slip and fall accidents, and more. The firm has successfully secured more than $250,000,000 in verdicts and settlements. Call today for a free and confidential consultation.

New Video FAQ – If I’m injured on a construction site and I file a lawsuit, should I fear for my job?

In a new video FAQ, attorney Michael Rose discusses your rights when it comes to reporting an injury or for filing a lawsuit over an injury that occurred while on the job. People are often concerned that their employer may choose to fire them for filing a lawsuit, but as attorney Rose points out, this should not be a concern. There are protections in place for injured workers in New York, and if you’ve been hurt in an accident, you have the right to take legal action without fear of retaliation from your employer.

If you or someone close to you has been hurt in a construction accident, you have the right to seek compensation from your employer’s workers’ comp policy. If they wrongly deny your claim or choose to offer you less than what you should be paid to cover your medical bills and other expenses, an experienced attorney may be able to help you secure the compensation that you need. Contact us at (212) 779-0057 today to find out how we can help you.


Client Testimonial: Andrew Torres

Andrew Torres was injured while working on a construction site. He suffered four broken vertebrae. See his story, and other former clients’ stories, on our testimonials page.

If you are a construction worker who was injured on the job like Andrew was, contact Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.

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