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$165,000 Settlement reached for infant plaintiff in dog bite case

KW, an infant was playing at a friend’s house when she was viciously attacked by the friend’s Rottweiler.  KW suffered bite marks to her left arm, right leg and lower back and was treated at AMCH and subsequently by a plastic surgeon.

KW’s mother retained the services of the Rehfuss Law Firm.  During the investigation, it was found that a number of complaints had been made to the dog’s owner about the dog barking, growling and baring its teeth at children.  In addition, a complaint had been filed with the local dog warden about the dog’s behavior months before and after the incident, the owner admitted to KW’s mother that he was concerned that this type of thing would happen.

The case was litigated, depositions were conducted and the parties subsequently engaged the services of a mediator.  The original offer from the insurance carrier for the owner was $0. As a result of the investigation conducted by the Rehfuss Law Firm,  the case was settled during mediation for $165,000.

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The Rehfuss Law Firm scores yet another civil rights victory

A municipality represented by the Rehfuss Law Firm was sued by a residential facility for persons with disabilities claiming that the municipality’s zoning ordinance was facially discriminatory.  The not-for-profit was looking to site a residence for people with disabilities in a zoning district which did not permit this type of residence as a matter of right but instead, required the application for a variance.  Its application for a use variance to the ZBA was denied and this lawsuit followed alleging violations of the ADA and FHA.  The municipality was able to show that people with disabilities were treated no differently than people without disabilities, that the requirement that a variance be obtained applied to many different types of uses very similar to the plaintiff’s and that the use contemplated by the plaintiff was permitted in many other zoning districts in the municipality.

The court, in  a July 28, 2017 decision, dismissed the complaint against the municipality in its entirety and granted summary judgment to the municipality.

This decision marks yet another in a long line of victories for the Rehfuss Law Firm in civil rights, ADA and FHA cases.

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The Rehfuss Law Firm recovers $400,000 settlement for municipality

The owner of a home in a local municipality retained the services of a landscaper to clear out his backyard of dead trees, overgrown bushes and vines and to create a park like setting.  While the work was being performed, the homeowner directed the landscaper to continue to cut further and further back.  Neither the homeowner or the landscaper consulted the deed, the tax map or a survey to determine where the homeowner’s boundary line stopped and the municipality’s forever wild property began.  Once the work was performed it was determined that 1.8 acres of municipal forever wild property had been clear cut.

The municipality hired a certified arborist to evaluate the damages and subsequently, an action was commenced against the homeowner and the landscaper for negligence, conversion, trespass and a violation of RPAPL 861.

At the close of discovery, the parties engaged in mediation.  Despite facing a number of evidentiary problems (the municipality did not receive notice of the work until after it was performed, the trees had been removed and this required the arborist to evaluate what had been removed based on various assumptions) Stephen Rehfuss was able to obtain a settlement of $400,000 for the municipality.

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The Rehfuss Law Firm settles guillotine window case for $87,500

The plaintiff, RW, was a tenant in a multi unit apartment house in Albany, NY.  RW had complained about the broken windows in her apartment to maintenance on several occasions and each time was advised that the windows would be fixed.  One summer afternoon, RW went to open a window in her living room when the rope broke and the window came crashing down on the middle finger of her right hand severing the tip of the finger.  RW was rushed to AMCH where she underwent surgery to repair the finger and after several follow up visits, was released from treatment.

RW retained Stephen Rehfuss to represent her in a claim against her landlord.  Mr. Rehfuss was able to obtain the work orders for the window which were never fulfilled along with notices of violation issued by the City for various code violations throughout the building.  RW’s finger fully healed.  Based on this investigation, the insurance carrier for the landlord agreed to enter into settlement discussions.  The case was settled for $87,500.

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The Rehfuss Law Firm scores yet another civil rights victory in federal district court

For the third time in four months, Stephen and Abigail Rehfuss scored another hard fought victory in a civil rights trial in the United States Federal District Court.  Over a period of 23 days, the jury heard testimony regarding allegations of police brutality arising out of an incident which occurred on June 20, 2013 when two boys, ages 12 and 14, were engaged in a fight on the last day of school and an officer attempted to break it up.  The plaintiff, a 12 year old boy at the time,  claimed to have suffered a fractured vertebrae, migraines, brain trauma and double vision allegedly caused during his arrest and detention.  The plaintiff produced proof from 5 expert witnesses in the field of orthopedics, neurology, optometry, emergency room medicine and use of force in support of his claim.

The police officer presented video evidence of a fight the young man had been involved in several minutes prior to the arrival of the police along with the eyewitness testimony of adults present at the incident who testified that the officer was professional, acted with restraint and should have been commended for actions.

Despite the trial lasting 23 days, the jury returned its verdict in favor of the police officer dismissing the complaint in its entirety after having deliberated for only 1 hour and 45 minutes.

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The Rehfuss Law Firm scores another civil rights victory

EM was indicted and tried twice for criminal charges arising out of a ballot fraud matter.  The first trial resulted in a mistrial.  The second trial resulted in an acquittal.  EM commenced a civil action against the DA, the special prosecutor, the County, the witnesses who testified against EM as well as AR, a handwriting expert who had been retained by the special prosecutor.  The allegations in the 179 page 1000+ paragraph complaint alleged conspiracy on the part of all the defendants in pursuing a criminal conviction.

The Rehfuss Law Firm, known for its expertise in civil rights matters, was retained by AR to defend his interests.  After a thorough investigation involving several hundred court exhibits as well as the transcripts from the grand jury and two 10 day trials, a motion to dismiss was filed on AR’s behalf. In a 37 page decision, all claims and causes of action against AR were dismissed, with prejudice on the basis that he had immunity in the preparation of his expert report and testimony he gave to the grand jury and at both trials.

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The Rehfuss Law Firm settles dog bite case for $500,000

PG, a 3 yr old infant, was bitten in the face by her babysitter’s dog experiencing significant facial scarring about the nose.  Through investigation, the Rehfuss Law Firm was able to determine that the dog had been adopted from a shelter 10 days prior to the incident with instructions, signed by the babysitter, that the dog could not be placed in a home with small children because of its vicious propensities, thereby creating a strict liability situation.  Medical records were obtained, a plastic surgeon was retained and the child was sent to a psychologist to determine if there would be any long term psychological trauma.  As a result of the thorough investigation conducted by the Rehfuss Law Firm and retaining the services of a plastic surgeon and child psychologist, the insurance carrier offered the full limits of its insurance policy and the same was placed in a structured settlement for the infant.

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Rehfuss scores another civil rights trial win

After a 2 day trial in the federal district court in Utica, NY, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant police officers in a civil rights/false arrest case.  This marks the second win in as many weeks for attorney, Stephen Rehfuss, in federal civil rights cases.

The plaintiff claimed that she was improperly detained by the police following the execution of an arrest warrant against her husband who had been the subject of a months long investigation into illegal drug and gun sales.  The plaintiff claimed that she had a gun pointed at her head at the time of her arrest and was detained for almost 7 hours while the police applied for and executed a search warrant.

On a pretrial summary judgment motion, the court had ruled that the detention of the plaintiff was a defacto arrest and that the police officer defendants needed to show that they had probable cause for her detention.  The jury returned their verdict in less than 2 hours finding that the officers had probable cause.

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Stephen Rehfuss wins another Federal District Court Civil Rights trial alleging racial discrimination

A federal court jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants after a 3 day trial before Magistrate Judge Hummel.  The defendants were represented by attorneys Stephen Rehfuss and Abigail Rehfuss of the The Rehfuss Law Firm.

The plaintiff, an African American woman, alleged that she was racially profiled, placed in handcuffs and detained for 17 minutes by several Caucasian Albany Police officers who she claimed uttered derogatory and racially insensitive  remarks towards her and assaulted her.

The evidence at trial, including the audio from a dash cam in one of the officers car, showed that the plaintiff initiated the encounter with the police by shouting derogatory remarks at the officers.  When the officers went to investigate to see if she needed assistance, the plaintiff started screaming and yelling at the officers, continuing to yell derogatory comments.  The plaintiff was detained for approximately 15 minutes to insure her safety and to insure she was not intoxicated, on drugs or in need of mental health assistance.

The plaintiff was eventually released and subsequently filed this lawsuit.

The jury returned their verdict in less than 1 hour 20 minutes finding that the officers acted professionally, with probable cause and a reasonable suspicion to believe, that based on her actions, that the plaintiff was potentially involved in criminal activity.

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The Rehfuss Law Firm successfully defends housing authority in claim of inadequate security

The Rehfuss Law Firm successfully defended a claim alleging inadequate security against a public housing authority in having the complaint dismissed in its entirety.

Plaintiff, critically injured and paralyzed after being shot by a gang member on premises owned by the housing authority, sued the housing authority alleging that it should have been aware of the gang and drug activity and was negligent in not taking steps to address the same.

The claim against the housing authority was dismissed on a motion filed by its attorneys, The Rehfuss Law Firm, on grounds that the plaintiff was not a tenant, that the housing authority owed no duty to the plaintiff, that the plaintiff was unable to show the housing authority had notice, either actual or constructive, of any gang related activity, and that the duty, if owed, was to the general public, and not to the individual plaintiff.

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