Firm News: bentleyhoke



There is a new Federal evidence rule change taking effect in two months, and tort practitioners will need to take notice now.

“1. A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if the proponent has demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that:
(a) the expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue.
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data.
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
(d) the expert’s opinion reflects a reliable application of the principles and methods to the facts of the case.”

As of December 1, 2023, Federal Rule of Evidence 702 (“FRE 702”) – which governs whether you will be permitted to have your expert witness testify - will change. Here is the text of the new rule, with the changes highlighted:

If the above four elements of expert witness admissibility are not proved by a preponderance of evidence, then the proposed expert witness will be precluded.

At first blush these modifications seem innocuous, and experienced attorneys will wonder how the amendments change what has presumably been the expert admissibility standard in place since the 1993 Daubert case. The question is well-grounded.

The amendments to FRE 702 do not change the expert witness admissibility standard, so much as they instruct the trial Courts to utilize the proper standard. For example, the new text makes clear that, (a) it is the proponent of the expert witness (whether plaintiff or defendant) who has the burden of proving the four elements of expert admissibility, (b) it is the proponent of the expert witness who must prove all four elements by a preponderance of evidence, and (c) there is no ‘presumption’ for expert admissibility, or indeed for any of the four elements, to be given by the Courts. While these clarifications have always been the standard, Courts have been inconsistent in their application.

We see three major effects for tort practitioners who find themselves in Federal court, or in a jurisdiction that follows the Federal standard for expert witness admissibility.

First, both sides of the Bar will need to muster evidence – data, studies, surveys, peer-reviewed literature, textbooks – to prove all four elements under FRE 702. Given the not-so-subtle instruction to the trial Courts to look more closely at expert witness admissibility, practitioners will now have to pay much more attention to this than paid previously.

Second, the amendments to FRE 702 are an invitation to the Bar to make more preclusion motions (often termed Daubert motions). Closer judicial scrutiny of expert witness admissibility makes it obvious both sides will take advantage of such motions, and given the initial burden of proof at trial on plaintiffs generally the FRE 702 amendments are more likely to favor defendants.

Finally, there is now a whole host of case law applying a standard inconsistent with the new FRE 702. Drafting of motions and briefs must be done carefully to weed out that now non-relevant case law. By way of example, only one week ago the District Court for the Eastern District of New York decided a preclusion motion directed at several potential expert witnesses in an e-cigarette trademark infringement case. Fantasia Distrib., Inc. v. Cool Clouds Distrib., Inc., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167641 While the Fantasia Court’s determinations under the old FRE 702 – mostly precluding the experts – may have been the same under the new FRE 702, the Court’s recitation of applicable case law and standards would not be the same. Here are some of the Fantasia Court’s recitations that the Bar should no longer see as of December 1:
"Qualification as an expert is viewed liberally …."
Fantasia Distrib., Inc. v. Cool Clouds Distrib., Inc., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167641, *11

“The Second Circuit has cautioned, however, that courts ‘should only exclude [expert] evidence if the flaw [in the expert's reasoning or methodology] is large enough that the expert lacks good grounds for his or her conclusions.’"
Fantasia Distrib., Inc. v. Cool Clouds Distrib., Inc., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167641, *13

“Although ‘the district court may . . . exclude opinion evidence where the court concludes that there is simply too great an analytical gap between the data and the opinion proffered . . . gaps or inconsistencies in the reasoning leading to the expert's opinion [generally] go to the weight of the evidence, not to its admissibility.’"
Fantasia Distrib., Inc. v. Cool Clouds Distrib., Inc., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167641, *14

“In general, questions as to the usefulness of the expert testimony ‘should [] be resolved in favor of admissibility unless there are strong factors . . . favoring exclusion[.]’"
Fantasia Distrib., Inc. v. Cool Clouds Distrib., Inc., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 167641, *15


gartner + bloom, P.C.’s Annual Golf Event


A special ode to our clients, supporters, colleagues and friends who came out yesterday to perfect their swing and build a strong sense of community at gartner + bloom, P.C.’s annual golf event. Tip to Michael Demsko, Russell Mangold and Tom Vouvoudakis for building strong collaboration-ships with our teams. Who says there isn’t a pot of gold at the end of that magical rainbow and the perfect finale to a magnificent day spent together?

Food, folks and fun were in full swing yesterday at the gartner + bloom, P.C. annual golf event in Phillipsburg, NJ, and where team spirit was par for the course. Special thanks to our incredible sponsors Novatae Risk Group, formerly Mid Atlantic Insurance Group, Trustpoint.One and ARCCA for helping to support our efforts. Everyone left a winner!

gartner + bloom, P.C. celebrates their annual 2023 golf event with colleagues, clients and friends today at the Architects Golf Club & Catering in Phillipsburg, New Jersey. Our golf pros are getting ready for tee time


CLM Alliance


gartner + bloom, P.C. is proud to be a featured sponsor of the 2023 CLM Alliance (Claims and Litigation Management Alliance) Construction Conference, where the party commences on Thursday, September 28, 8:00-11:30pm at the Iron Cactus, located at 606 Trinity Street in Austin. All sponsors, speakers, and attendees of the #Construction Conference are welcome to attend this all-inclusive networking event. We look forward to seeing you there. Come One - Come All! #CLM2023


Gartner + Bloom achieves total dismissal of Plaintiff’s Labor Law Action by harnessing “The Integral to the Work Defense”


By Justin Domenech, Esq.

labor law victory

You’ve seen this before, a worker at a busy construction site alleges that they fell as a result of a dangerous condition in the course of his work.  There are no witnesses and the dangers claimed are just broad restatements of the New York State Labor Law.  Since there were no witnesses, there is little to no investigation to build a defense around.  They claim that the injury is permanently disabling, and that your client faces seven figure damages.  Even worse is the fact that the evidence, which is solely in Plaintiff’s control, is often frustratingly inconsistent.  On one occasion, it is alleged that it was a fall through an ‘unprotected opening’, in another, it is a trip or slip on uneven ground with an ‘elevation differential.’  Maybe work materials or debris were a factor, but it is unclear as ‘it all happened so fast.’   Either way negligence, Labor Law §§ 200, 240(1) and 241(6) are inevitably alleged against your client.  Now what?


Favorable Jury Verdict Obtained for a National Restaurant Client

Alexander Fisher

Congrats to Alexander Fisher on obtaining a favorable jury verdict for a national restaurant client and wins further hearing forcing plaintiff to pay Counsel fees!

In a just concluded week-long jury trial in Mercer County, New Jersey, gartner + bloom, P.C. partner Alexander Fisher secured a favorable jury verdict in a claim where the plaintiff had sought several hundred thousand dollars for dental injuries.


Daniel Montagna Admitted to New York State Bar

Daniel Montagna gartner + bloom, P.C. extends our warmest CONGRATULATIONS to experienced litigation Associate, Daniel Montagna, on his recent admission to the New York State Bar. Dan, we're proud to have your depth of expertise driving stellar outcomes for our clients!
attorneys, Gartner + Bloom

An Outstanding Labor Law Victory for Partner Jessica Price, Esq.

In yet another victory for g + b’s clients, Partner Jessica Price was able to utilize plaintiff’s deposition testimony to create a question of fact and defeat plaintiff’s motion seeking summary judgment on a Labor Law Section 240(1) claim.

Plaintiff, an electrician, was roughing out office space. On the date of his accident, plaintiff was running cables with a drag line through hangers in the ceiling. He did not intend to use a ladder for this task and had been working for an hour without one. As plaintiff ran the cables, tension was created on the wires. A ladder was nearby, so plaintiff checked it, saw it was in working condition, and utilized it to gain leverage. As he was standing on the ladder, plaintiff pulled the drag line but the wires recoiled, pulling the plaintiff and causing a shoulder injury as the ladder allegedly wobbled on one of its footings. Plaintiff testified at deposition that he could have pre-rolled the wires to alleviate the tension, but this would have been “a lot of work” as it would require walking back and forth from where the cable reel was located to where the wires needed to be pulled.

Ms Price argued that the proximate cause of plaintiff’s accident was his failure to pre-roll the wires, not any deficiency with the ladder. The Court agreed, and denied plaintiff’s motion. In doing so, the Court held that a jury must determine whether the proximate cause of plaintiff’s injury was the ladder, the failure to pre-roll the wires, or gravity related issues caused by the weight of the cables.

Believing victory to be assured, plaintiff did not oppose g + b’s cross-motion to dismiss his other claims under Labor Law Sections 200 and 241(6). As such, the Court dismissed those causes of action entirely.
labor law

Todd Shaw Promoted to Equity Partner

Todd Shaw

Gartner + Bloom, P.C. is pleased to announce the promotion of Todd Shaw Esq. to the rank of Equity Partner. As an Associate and then as a Partner, Todd established himself as a formidable litigator who delivers outstanding outcomes for our clients. His rise to our highest level was as a direct result of his endless drive to go the extra mile in everything he does. Todd’s passionate desire to mentor and develop other attorneys and staff to help better their careers and the firm as a whole, sets him apart and has earned him this esteemed honor! We look very much forward to your continued success and working with you for decades to come. Huge Congratulations Todd from all of us!

Gartner + Bloom

Successful Defense for a Midtown-Manhattan Bar/Restaurant Against Billion Dollar Commercial Developer

gartner + bloom is pleased to share that partners, Kenneth A. Bloom, Arthur Xanthos, and Todd Shaw, successfully defended a well-known midtown Manhattan bar and restaurant against a billion dollar commercial developer and its experienced and aggressive real estate law firm in the Commercial Division of Supreme Court, New York County.

In the exceptionally acrimonious litigation, the building owner attempted to utilize purported emergent conditions in the premises at issue to force all tenants, including the bar and restaurant, to vacate for an indeterminate period of time, potentially never being able to re-open.

g+b recruited a team of expert architects and engineers to rebut the owner's claimed emergent conditions and seized the initiative by obtaining a Yellowstone injunction against the owner while simultaneously asserting causes of action premised on New York's newly enacted commercial tenant harassment statute.

In the end, not only is g+b’s client the only tenant in that Manhattan building that is back in possession and up and running, but it is doing so with a new lease under very favorable terms negotiated by g+b that will keep it serving great food and cocktails for many more years to come
real estate, Uncategorized