It can be daunting to think about suing anyone, let alone a huge department store like Macy’s. The same Macy’s that brings us Santa Claus and the opening of the holiday season with their annual Thanksgiving Day Parade televised nationally. The same Macy’s with department stores all over. However, big guys can be beat in New York courts with the assistance of proactive, aggressive and nuanced lawyers.
Now imagine if you are an immigrant with little command of English that was injured when you slipped and fell on a wet floor that Macy’s negligently failed to warn you about. Your life has been flipped upside down. You are in constant pain from your injuries, you lost your job and your mental outlook is in a downward spiral of fighting depression and anxiety.
Because of all this she was going through and the language barrier, my client did a poor job of communicating her case – but not because of any fault of her own. After the first day of depositions, my client told me that she did not understand many of the questions that she was asked and that her testimony did not come out correctly. This is, normally, a simple matter of rehabilitating her testimony by asking her questions and reviewing the transcript and making corrections.
This is important because effectively communicating your case makes or breaks your claim. Many times, you must do so in an intimidating setting not only because of who they are, but because you are relying on a translator to do the communicating for you. It’s a high pressure situation that your attorney must prepare you to do – but no amount of preparation can prevent a bad translator muddling your words.
Back to the case, Macy’s didn’t like our attempts to rehabilitate her testimony and tried to block us in Court. A typical bully tactic. They failed because the law is clear that I can cross-examine any deponent. The Court agreed with us and we rehabilitated her prior testimony and earned a six-figure settlement for my now-relieved client.
The point is that the right attorney will even the playing field with the biggest, baddest defendants out there. Because as long as you are willing to enforce your rights, you have just as much might!
The moral of the story is that all clients finding the big guys in New York courts should obtain a proactive, aggressive lawyer with New York street smarts.
*Gene Berardelli may be contacted at: GeneBerardelli@ipglegal.com.
Gene is a New York street-smart attorney with an extreme passion for success. Gene specializes in litigation, arbitration and general corporate law for New York-based and international clients. He, also, is the host of a popular New York talk radio program.
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