Port Washington, NY – May 20, 2011 – Parker Waichman LLP is proud to announce that Jay L.T. Breakstone, Appellate Counsel to the firm, and Justin Varughese, a trial attorney with the firm, have won an appeal on behalf of an elderly woman who sustained serious injuries while residing at a Rockland County nursing home. This victory is a significant milestone in the crusade to preventing elder abuse and holding those responsible to task. [Zina Olkovetsy v. Friedwald Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, LLC, NY Slip Op 04015 (2nd Dep’t 5/10/11)]
In 2007, plaintiff Zina Olkovetsy, as the administrator of her mother’s estate, alleged the defendants were negligent in their care for her deceased mother, Feiga Poizner, which ultimately resulted in injuries including, but not limited to, pressure sores and a fracture to her left leg. Ms. Olkovetsy sought to locate witnesses to the alleged negligent care, and served the defendants with a discovery demand seeking disclosure of the names, addresses, room numbers, and dates of admission of other residents at the defendant’s nursing home during Ms. Poizner’s admission. The defendants refused to comply and Ms. Olkovetsy filed a motion to compel discovery.
On November 16, 2010, the trial judge in New York State Supreme Court, Rockland County, granted the plaintiff’s motion to compel discovery, which ordered the defendants to disclose the names and last known addresses of the other patients in residence at the particular unit in defendant’s nursing home for the period of January 1, 2005 through February, 2005.
Defendants appealed the discovery order arguing that providing the names and addresses of the patients on the deceased’s unit was overly broad and burdensome. The defendants contended that supplying the information violated statutes enacted to protect the fragile and vulnerable nursing home population.
In an order dated May 10, 2011, the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York ruled that disclosure of the name and address of a nonparty patient who may have witnessed an alleged act of negligence or malpractice does not violate the patient’s privilege of confidentiality of treatment. Additionally, the Court determined that the information Ms. Olkovetsy demanded was necessary to prosecute the action and therefore not overly broad or unduly burdensome.
Jay L.T. Breakstone, who submitted the appeal, stated, “The Olkovetsy victory is highly significant in the ongoing battle to assure we treat our senior citizens with the care and dignity that they justly deserve.”
Trial attorney, Justin Varughese, said, “This decision serves to further protect the rights of our seniors by ensuring that complete and thorough investigations will be conducted when a loved one is injured in a nursing home. Greater accountability in this regard will keep our loved ones safe and make certain that they are well cared for.”
It is because of the diligence and hard work of Jay L.T. Breakstone and Justin Varughese, both attorneys with Parker Waichman LLP, that Ms. Olkovetsy will receive from the defendants the necessary resident information.
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