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VENUE—What is it?
Venue refers to the county in New York State where a lawsuit is fought and
brought to trial. The party bringing the lawsuit selects the venue when filing acomplaint. In personal injury cases, venue can be especially important becausejuries in different counties have reputations for being more or less generous
For example, suing a homeowner in a county which has a jury pool heavy with homeowners might
put the injury victim at a disadvantage. Some suburban counties have a reputation for stingy verdicts.
Sue the police for false arrest or even for hurting someone in a motor vehicle accident and you may havegreater success in some big cities than you might have elsewhere.
Some counties have “bifurcated” trials, where a jury first decides the issue of liability and then, if the
injured person wins, goes on to a second trial on the issue of damages or how much money the accident
victim recovers (which could still be zero). Other counties have a “unified” trial, where liability and
damages are decided together. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages for the injured
Gary E. Rosenberg
The general rule for selecting proper venue is set forth in New York’s Civil Practice Law and Rules,
Section 503. This law provides that venue for a lawsuit is usually in the county where one of the partiesresides when the case is started. This rule changes for corporations and various other types of lawsuit
Of interest is the rule for lawsuits against municipal defendants—such as the City of New York.
Civil Practice Law and Rules, Section 504, requires that the City of New York must be sued in the
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county where the claim arose; usually that means the county where the accident happened.
Improper venue can be changed under Civil Practice Law and Rules,
What is written here is not legal advice. You should
Section 510, by a defendant applying to the court for a change of venue,
consult your attorney before applying any of this
showing that the venue chosen was improper, that an impartial trial cannot be held
information to a specific situation.
in the county selected, or even that the convenience of material witnesses and theends of justice would be promoted by the change.
Every litigating personal injury attorney has his or her own idea about which
counties are preferable to others in bringing different types of accident claims.
Wyeth v. Levine: a victory for consumers
A 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision proved that a lone person can fight for
justice and hold wrongdoers accountable for the harm they caused. In an important
victory for consumers, the court held that a patient may sue a drug company for
failing to provide sufficient warning about a prescription drug’s harmful side effects.
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In a 6–3 decision, the court upheld a Vermont jury’s verdict that Diana Levine,
Forest Hills, NY 11375
plaintiff in Wyeth v. Levine,
could hold the drug manufacturer responsible for serious
injuries she suffered—including the loss of her arm—after taking one of Wyeth’smedicines.
A professional musician, Levine suffered from a severe migraine and went to the
emergency room of a local hospital, where she was given Demerol® to alleviate thepain and Phenergan® to reduce her nausea.
A physician assistant administered both drugs through a direct intravenous (IV)
injection called an “IV push,” which is inappropriate and dangerous. In an “IV push,”Phenergan, which has a corrosive side effect, can enter an artery and causegangrene—exactly what happened to Levine. Surgeons had to amputate her arm.
Writing the court’s majority opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens said Food and
Drug Administration oversight of drug labeling should not prevent filing of state-levelconsumer liability lawsuits against drug companies.
American Association for Justice President Les Weisbrod said,
“The Supreme Court reaffirmed the principle thatstate lawsuits perform a valuable and important
function in ensuring accountability in uncoveringdrug hazards. Also, the Supreme Court rejected the
FDA’s attempts to use the preamble in drug
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regulations to provide complete immunity to drug
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manufacturers. It is clear consumers retained their
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remedy under law when drug companies have failed
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to provide adequate warnings for the safe use
Abbott LaboratoriesWyeth Pharmaceuticals
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