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Tug Boat Owner Settles For $17 Million after causing death.

The negligence of the operator of a tug boat caused the death of two students and countless other injuries to the passengers and their families. On July 17, 2010, a tug boat was towing a large barge that plowed through and on top of a small tour boat with tourists in the Delaware River within Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After two days of testimony, the federal judge called for the parties to work out a settlement. The operator of the tug boat pled guilty to misconduct of a ship operator causing death and a year in jail.

The tug boat operator was spending time using his cell phone and lap top rather than paying attention to the operation of his vessel. People who are professionals in the transportation business such as operators of boats and planes have a duty to protect the public. It was reckless and negligent for the operator to take personal time to review emails and phone messages while working in a field that requires vigilant attention.

Many countries however do not have civil lawsuits and do not allow any remedy to the victims of these atrocious accidents. Civil lawsuits not only provide a basic means of justice to the victims and their families, but importantly help prevent future accidents. The insurance companies who insure these boats have the leverage to compel the owners to implement safety rules and proper supervision of their employees to prevent such accidents if they want insurance coverage.

For example, there are many signs now at construction sites that give a number for a person to anonymously report any unsafe conditions. These safety measures are prompted by civil lawsuits and help prevent catastrophic accidents and injuries.

Tort reform bills are proposed laws to either limit or altogether prevent lawsuits against an entire class of citizens. Rather than allow the public through jury trials and judges in courts to decide whether a case is meritorious, the tort reform law end the case before it even begins, regardless of how heinous the atrocity.

The countries that have the worst civil abuses by their governments, bad roads, dangerous products, and unsafe public transportation systems are the same countries that do not allow lawsuits against their governments or private businesses. Every time another tort reform law is passed, it is not only a civil liberty being taken away, but another step taking away accountability and promoting unsafe practices.

It is only when an atrocious accident occurs, like a tug boat operator killing two young students that people see the merit of a lawsuit. However, if caps on lawsuits were in place, the families of those two students who drowned to death may not have had any lawsuit to read about. Many tort reform bills propose caps that limit recoveries regardless of the injury, some to even $100,000.If that law had been in place for this accident, the family of the students would never have seen any justice for their children. Most lawyers would not spend 3 years in litigation with $100,000 in legal expenses when the entire recovery will be capped to a few hundred thousand dollars. Just as important, the insurance company would have no reason to care about preventing another accident like this one when there is no lawsuit or meaningful settlement.

The year in jail the tug boat operator was sentenced is not justice for the killing of two young students. Only the civil justice system allows any resemblance of justice under these types of circumstances and when those rights are finally stripped away, our nation will be no different from the countries we criticize for having limited civil rights.

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Construction Accident


$1.7 million verdict in New York County against the driver of a delivery truck who struck a man as he was crossing the street within the crosswalk in Manhattan.

Motor Vehicle Accident


$3.6 Million settlement in New York Supreme Court for a Spanish speaking construction worker who fell off a 6 foot ladder and landed onto metal and wooden debris. The worker required lumbar spinal surgery for his injuries and needed surgeries to both knees from the fall. The worker could not return to work and suffered depression from his injuries resulting in a suicide attempt.

Construction Accident


$3.2 million verdict in Queens Supreme Court for an undocumented Polish speaking construction worker who fell 12 feet during a demolition project. The worker fractured a vertebrae and herniated several discs in his spine requiring surgery. The plaintiff was unable to return back to work due to his injuries.

Motor Vehicle Accident


$1.5 million verdict in Supreme Court Kings County for a woman struck by a car that jumped the curb and hit the pedestrian while standing on the sidewalk across from Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

Slip And Fall Accident


$1.9 million verdict in New York Supreme Court for a bank manager who slipped and fell on a wet floor, resulting in spinal injuries. The building owner knew about a recurring leak inside the basement cafeteria but failed to correct the problem.

Construction Accident


$2 million settlement in Queens Supreme Court for Polish construction worker who fell 2 stories from a bucket. The worker’s supervisor told the construction worker to ride the material bucket down to use the bathroom because it would save time. The worker fractured his pelvis in several places requiring surgery and was unable to return to work.

Medical Malpractice


Defense counsel offers 11 cents to settle before trial and the jury renders a verdict of $4.5 million dollars for a medical malpractice victim and his wife. The action was commenced in New York Supreme Court for a patient who suffered massive internal bleeding during a lower back surgery when the surgeon negligently cut an artery and failed to promptly treat the condition, causing a loss of oxygen and injury to the brain. The anesthesiologist failed to properly monitor the patient’s vitals during the surgery and alert the surgeon of the drop in blood pressure.



$1.25 million settlement in New York Supreme Court against building owner for negligent security that caused two women to be assaulted while leaving work. A masked man entered their elevator from a floor that was supposed to be closed off for construction. The assailant used a metal pipe to attack the two women. The two women split the settlement monies.

Construction Accident


$1.5 Million settlement in New York Supreme Court for a construction worker who was struck by a piece of concrete that fell on his head and back. Workers above were chipping concrete despite knowing that people were working directly below them. The plaintiff required surgery on his neck but made a good recovery.

Medical Malpractice


$3.9 million settlement in Supreme Court Kings County for a Brooklyn man who suffered a stroke shortly following an eye surgery. The patient was given medical clearance for local anesthesia but instead was placed under general anesthesia for 7 hours. The patient’s blood pressure was not well controlled resulting in a 30 minute hypertensive emergency near the end of the operation. The patient died after 7 years of living in different nursing homes.

Slip, Trip and Fall, New York


$1.4 Million settlement for Queens Hispanic woman who slipped and fell on ice walking out the door of her rented basement apartment.


    I did not think myself that we will win this difficult matter and become victorious, especially after being rejected by numerous other attorneys…but your professionalism Brett, dedication and determination, not to mention a huge heart, was how we prevailed


    When I brought my situation to a local attorney he directed me to Brett Nomberg, and I’m so glad he did. Someone always was able to give me a status of what was going on. Your team made my wife and I realize we were dealing with a truly professional firm and at the same time, sympathetic to our needs. Great job. Excellent Customer Service.


    I want to thank you for all the help and support that was given to my parents by you and your colleagues. Your firm’s time, effort and dedication, is without question second to none and this led to a successful settlement


    We can’t thank you enough for the wonderful representation you provided and for believing in our case. It was very vindicating to have a judge and jury decide in our favor.


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