New York, NY – Fewer trials than normal have been held in New York state courts over the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, New York state courts are reopening, lifting coronavirus-related restrictions, and working diligently to resolve the backlog of cases that have been on hold due to the pandemic.
Plaintiffs and defendants who once had flexible trial dates due to the ever-changing nature of the pandemic are now operating on firm schedules. This has caused some parties to request delays, much to the chagrin of court judges who are desperate to get through their backlogged cases. Many judges have been unwilling to grant these requests because they are overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases yet to be tried.
“Our firm has had four trials over the last four weeks,” Attorney Michael Rose of Hach & Rose, LLP said. “In one circumstance, we had a case with three different insurance companies that requested a postponement of the trial for two weeks to resolve the scheduling issue. The judge denied the request and the case began jury selection. By the end of the day on Friday, there was an offer of settlement for $750,000. The case settled before lunch for $1.5 million. When a case is sent to trial, things start to happen. The leverage that we lost with the inability to push the case to trial is now coming back.”
The shutdown of the courts due to the pandemic did not slow down the team at Hach & Rose, LLP, however. In fact, Attorney John Blyth was dealing with an injury case the very last week before the courts closed. The case involved a 2016 accident in which a client was struck by a motor vehicle as he was exiting a city bus in Queens. The plaintiff commenced suit in Queens County Supreme Court against the bus company and the driver who struck him. Hach & Rose secured a jury verdict on the last day of jury service before the pandemic shut down the courts, and the client had to wait two years for the damages phase of his trial to commence.
The other side offered a settlement of $250,000, but the client held firm during the long wait, and ultimately secured a jury verdict of $600,000, which included $300,000 for past pain and suffering and another $300,000 for future pain and suffering.
Attorney Blyth credits his client with having the patience to see the case through to the very end. Because they maintained an open line of communication (the client had Attorney Blyth’s cell phone and could call for updates whenever he needed them), they were able to stay connected and hold strong during the unusually long wait. The client could have accepted the lower settlement amount at any time, but he was confident in his lawyer and knew that when the day came, Hach & Rose, LLP would get a good result for him.
This pre-and-post pandemic success story speaks to the commitment that Hach & Rose, LLP has for its clients. Now that the courts are open, the firm is aggressively seeking to resolve cases that have been on hold due to the pandemic restrictions.
Firm partner Michael Rose says:
“The courts are opening up now and judges are very eager for cases to be tried. Our office has a full trial calendar with trials scheduled May, June, and July. Judges in New York are taking trial dates seriously. It used to be easy to cause further delays, but the backlogs made the courts take trial dates seriously. If you have a trial date, you should expect the case will move forward.”
Hach & Rose, LLP is one of New York’s premier civil litigation law firms. Its main office is located in Manhattan.
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