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Jury Awards $100 million to Brown Chiari client

Largest Civil Rights Death Verdict in U.S. History

A Buffalo, New York jury has awarded $100 million in damages on to the estate of a 35 year old man who died as a result of the actions of the County of Erie and five of its Sheriff deputies.

The jury found that the County and five deputies deprived Richard Metcalf, Jr. of his right to adequate medical care and that he was subjected to excessive force while being restrained while an inmate in November 2012. According to the attorneys for the estate this is the largest civil rights death verdict in U.S. history.

The Medical Examiner for Erie County had determined that Mr. Metcalf’s death was a “homicide”, but opined that the cause of death was a heart attack “brought on by stress”. The state Commission of Correction concluded eight years ago that jail deputies asphyxiated Metcalf through their restraint methods, including tying a “spit mask” around his neck and putting a pillowcase over his head.

“Mr. Metcalf died two days after this event in the jail, yet before his death the County officials were already trying to influence the Medical Examiner’s opinion” said Don Chiari who, along with Michael Scinta, tried the case on behalf of the Metcalf family. According to Chiari, there were emails and documents sent to the Medical Examiner right up to the time for her final report that sought to influence her opinion.

Famed pathologist, Michael Baden, who was also a member of the New York State Commission on Correction at the time of the investigation, testified at trial on behalf of the family. According to Baden, the combined effect of Mr. Metcalf being restrained in a face down position with his shackled legs being pushed forward toward his buttock for twenty-nine minutes, the spit mask tied around his neck, and then a pillowcase over his head caused Mr. Metcalf’s death by positional asphyxia.

Metcalf was arrested after suffering a psychotic episode that led him to break into a restaurant and hide in the cooler. Metcalf was held without bail pending a mental exam. While in his cell he experienced another episode and was extracted before being brought to the Infirmary where he was restrained for 29 minutes. “From the minute Mr. Metcalf entered the jail, the County failed to recognize his psychosis which culminated in this tragedy” said Scinta. The County had a longstanding history of failing to provide appropriate medical care and had been warned by the Department of Justice prior to 2012 according to Scinta.

According to the deputies, Mr. Metcalf was spitting blood so the five deputies held him in a face down position on and examination table. A spit mask was then applied. Mr. Metcalf chewed through the spit mask in order to spit more blood according to the defendants. According to Chiari, Mr. Metcalf chewed through the mask so he could breathe. After chewing through the mask, the deputies the “inexplicable” decision to place a pillowcase over Metcalf’s head, said Chiari.

It was not until the emergency medical technicians placed Mr. Metcalf in the ambulance and removed the pillowcase was it discovered that the spit mask had been tightly tied around Metcalf’s neck. One of the EMTs had to cut the mask off with surgical forceps. The EMTs testified that upon arriving at the jail the deputies would not allow them to assess Mr. Metcalf and controlled the gurney all the way to the ambulance. By that time Mr. Metcalf was in cardiac arrest. Metcalf was rushed to the nearest hospital, never regained consciousness and died two days later.

The awards of compensatory damages broke down this way:

  • $45 million for loss of life
  • $30 million for pain and suffering, including fear of impending death, while in the Holding Center
  • $10 million for pain and suffering from the time Metcalf entered the jail infirmary until his death
  • $10 million for fear of impending death

The jury also awarded $5 million in punitive damages, $1 Million against each of the five deputies. In addition to Dr. Baden, Andrew Poreda, M.D., Nathasha Cervantes, M.D., and Arthur Wallenstein testified on behalf of the plaintiffs.

View The Buffalo News Article

The importance of seeking immediate medical attention after a car accident in Buffalo cannot be overstated. Believe it or not, many people ignore the need for immediate medical attention following an accident… assuming they’re just fine.

But here’s the kicker – even minor accidents can lead to significant health issues if left unchecked. Seeking immediate medical attention after a car accident in Buffalo is crucial for your physical well-being and plays a significant role in legal outcomes and compensation claims.

Recognizing the Signs of Injury After a Car Accident

Following an auto accident, it is crucial to prioritize understanding your physical state. The shock and adrenaline from the incident can often obscure our perception of pain or discomfort. Your health after motor vehicle accidents in Buffalo should be your primary concern. Never underestimate any signs you may experience post-accident.

The Importance of Self-Assessment

After car accidents, it’s essential to perform a self-assessment immediately. Symptoms such as difficulty breathing or numbness could indicate severe conditions like a spinal injury or broken bones requiring immediate emergency room treatment.

Potential Delayed Symptoms

Specific symptoms might not surface until hours or even days later, following pedestrian versus car accident cases, for instance. These delayed indications include headaches (possible brain trauma), back pain (potential damage to muscles, ligaments, and nerves), and abdominal distress (which could signify internal bleeding).

Key Takeaways:

  • Vigilance: Maintain alertness towards changes in physical well-being after being involved in motor vehicle accidents on Buffalo roads.
  • Awareness: Remember that some injuries are delayed; hence, continuous monitoring is vital.

If unusual signs appear post-accident, consider seeking medical attention. Consult an experienced Buffalo car accident attorney at Brown Chiari LLP when dealing with potential personal injury claims from car accidents.

Seeking Immediate Medical Attention

Importance of Immediate Medical Attention after a Car Accident in Buffalo | Brown Chiari LLP

Following a car accident, your utmost priority should be your health and well-being. It is imperative to seek immediate medical attention without delay. This prompt action ensures your recovery and plays a vital role in any potential personal injury claim you may pursue.

The Critical Role of Prompt Medical Care

Immediate intervention following car accidents can make an enormous difference in recovery outcomes. It enables healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat injuries that may remain unnoticed until they escalate into severe or life-threatening conditions.

Beyond safeguarding your health, seeking emergency room treatment immediately offers documentation from a neutral third party—the hospital or clinic. This evidence becomes indispensable when filing claims with insurance companies or if litigation comes into play later.

Navigating Insurance Claims and Legal Proceedings

Seeing a doctor right after an accident helps prove that the incident caused your injuries. This is important when dealing with insurance adjusters, who may try to find excuses to deny coverage.

Your New York, personal injury lawyer will need this vital documentation to fight for fair compensation for pedestrians injured in auto accidents. This documentation is essential in cases where the economic losses of the injured pedestrian exceed the coverage provided by the driver’s mandatory no-fault insurance.

Our experienced Buffalo injury attorneys are ready and willing to help guide you through these complex processes every step of the way.

Benefits of Early Treatment

The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming, but understanding the importance and benefits of seeking medical attention immediately is crucial. It helps protect your health and provides a strong foundation for future legal actions or dealings with insurance companies.

Let’s dive into why early treatment matters so much in these scenarios.

Potential to Reduce Injury Severity

So you’ve been involved in a car accident – what now? The adrenaline rush post-accident might make you feel okay initially, but don’t let this fool you.

You need to seek emergency room treatment immediately. This allows professionals to diagnose potentially hidden injuries like fractures or internal damage before they worsen over time due to neglect.

It’s all part of taking care of yourself first because no one else will do it better.

Documenting Injuries and Treatment

In the aftermath of a car accident, documenting injuries and treatment is not just important; it’s critical. This process can seem overwhelming amidst dealing with trauma, but rest assured; we’ve got you covered.

Tips for Post-Accident Documentation

The Weightage of Accurate Medical Records

Your medical records carry significant weight after auto or pedestrian versus car incidents. They’re your concrete proof supporting claims about pain, suffering, or broken bones, which might be challenging to prove without tangible evidence.

Buffalo, NY, injury attorneys know the importance of these documents for a pedestrian’s claim for economic damages or a regular auto accident claim.

The Role of Documentation in Insurance Claims

An insurance company scrutinizes every detail in your medical records while evaluating your personal injury claim related to seeking emergency room treatment immediately following an accident or adhering strictly to a prescribed treatment plan after that by healthcare professionals.

Tips For Effective Record Keeping

To ensure effective record keeping:

  • Seek immediate medical attention
  • Adhere religiously to all recommended treatments
  • Retain copies of every document linked directly/indirectly to your care.
  • Jot down notes on how injuries impact daily activities like work/life balance.
  • Store receipts meticulously for out-of-pocket expenses incurred due to medications and therapy sessions.

These steps will help you build a strong case if you need to pursue wrongful death benefits or any other legal recourse.

Firm Foundation for Your Personal Injury Claim

Buffalo injury attorneys understand the importance of immediate medical intervention in car accident claims and other types of cases they handle.

  • Your prompt action demonstrates responsibility, which could help during negotiations later down the line where the blame may be disputed between parties involved in litigation processes involving motor vehicle accidents.
  • Detailed records from initial treatments provide concrete evidence regarding the severity and impact caused by the incident and critical factors considered while calculating compensation-related aspects such as lost wages or diminished quality of life.
  • Medical documentation serves as proof against disputes around who was at fault, thus strengthening the injured pedestrian’s economic damages case.

Always remember that the driver’s mandatory no-fault insurance covers basic expenses regardless of whether liability has been established.

This detailed scrutiny means that comprehensive information regarding treatments received is vital when negotiating with insurers over drivers’ mandatory no-fault insurance coverage.

Working with Experienced Attorneys

After a car accident, seeking representation from Buffalo injury lawyers is of the utmost importance. They possess the necessary expertise and experience to navigate intricate legal processes and protect your rights diligently.

The Role of an Attorney in Your Car Accident Claim

Things might get more complex if you find yourself embroiled as a pedestrian in a car accident scenario. In such instances where an injured pedestrian’s economic losses exceed what the driver’s mandatory no-fault insurance covers, experienced counsel becomes even more crucial.

  • Your attorney will guide you through filing a regular auto accident claim.
  • Pursue supplemental uninsured motorist protection if needed.
  • And ultimately navigate this daunting process alongside you every step of the way.

Understanding Your Rights

Navigating the aftermath of a car accident can be daunting, but understanding your rights makes it less overwhelming. This knowledge is vital in making informed decisions about seeking medical attention.

Your Right to Medical Care

The first right that comes into play after an auto versus auto or pedestrian versus car accident case is your entitlement to seek immediate medical care.

Whether rushing off for emergency room treatment immediately or scheduling an appointment with your doctor, prioritizing health should never be compromised.

In Buffalo and New York State, everyone has the unalienable right to receive professional healthcare services without discrimination. If injuries are sustained in motor vehicle accidents, this law applies directly and robustly to protect victims like yourself.

No-Fault Insurance Coverage Explained

New York’s “no-fault” car insurance rules mean your insurance covers your medical bills and other losses after an accident. Your options for pursuing a lawsuit and recovering compensation for losses like “pain and suffering” are limited when you’re injured in a car accident in New York.

The Role of Personal Injury Attorneys

Buffalo injury attorneys are crucial when exercising these rights becomes complex. This is especially true when pedestrians’ economic losses are higher than their no-fault coverage or when there is a need to pursue supplemental uninsured motorist protection claims.

  1. If you’re ever involved in such scenarios following car accidents, contacting a New York personal injury attorney immediately could prove beneficial, whether it’s a regular auto accident claim scenario or even more complicated pedestrian versus car accident claim cases.
  2. A good lawyer will assist you with legal complexities and make sure you receive total compensation, including, if needed, wrongful death benefits.
  3. Brown Chiari LLP prides itself on providing top-tier representation by experienced lawyers specializing in personal injury cases across Buffalo, NY, and beyond, so don’t hesitate to reach out today.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Buffalo, NY Today

If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident in Buffalo, seek medical help immediately. After that, contact Brown Chiari LLP, an experienced personal injury attorney in Buffalo, New York. Our team specializes in personal injury claims arising from motor vehicle accidents and has honed its skills in dealing with insurance companies over the years.

We have extensive experience handling cases involving pedestrian versus car accident scenarios where injured pedestrians’ economic losses exceed what the driver’s mandatory no-fault insurance covers.

The Advantage of Choosing Us

Our dedicated lawyers can provide invaluable guidance in your time of need after seeking medical attention or while pursuing wrongful death benefits post-accident. Our firm prioritizes providing tailored care and superior legal services to our clients.


Recognizing the signs of injury after a car accident is crucial. Not only can pain or numbness be indicators of damage, but difficulty breathing may also be a sign. It could be difficulty breathing, too. The importance of seeking immediate medical attention after a car accident in Buffalo cannot be understated; it’s vital for your health and legal outcomes. Treatment aimed early can reduce the severity and prevent complications down the line.

Documenting injuries and treatments received? That’s key for insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits! You’re not alone, though. Experienced attorneys are there to help you navigate this process smoothly. Your rights matter; understanding them is essential when seeking medical attention post-accident in Buffalo, New York.

Are you injured after an accident? Brown Chiari LLP stands ready to discuss your options legally, ensuring justice for injuries sustained. Reach out today.

A car accident in a busy city like New York can leave you severely injured, and multiple vehicles being involved is common due to traffic. Depending on the nature of the collision, there’s a high chance your property was destroyed or severely damaged because of the impact. Filing a personal injury claim after the accident can help you recover from these losses. 

Receiving fair compensation isn’t as simple as asking for it through a formal request. There are many factors that can affect your settlement amount, including state laws that can negatively impact it. Before you proceed, it’s important to be aware of how certain accident laws work. 

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases

One of the most important laws to keep in mind when you’re thinking about a lawsuit is the time limit that all states have placed on similar cases. In New York, you have three years from the date of the injury or its discovery to seek compensation. If you don’t take legal action during this time, you’ll lose your chance to seek compensation in court. 

While it’s reasonable that you’d want to take your time to process how an accident has changed your life, remember that building a convincing claim takes time. Not proceeding as soon as the full extent of your injuries is known could mean losing your chance to put your life back on track, especially as evidence may lose its value with time. 

New York’s No-Fault Laws

Being entitled to compensation after a car accident doesn’t always mean that you can proceed with a lawsuit. Because of New York’s no-fault law, you need to pursue compensation with your insurance company, even if another driver is considered at fault for a collision. 

It’s also true that your options for compensation aren’t always limited. This process will change if the accident caused a disability, significant disfigurement, death, or any other loss beyond the serious injury threshold. In this case, you’ll be able to file a claim against the at-fault party for all damages caused by their negligence. 

Pure Comparative Negligence Rule

It’s not uncommon for the at-fault party to accuse you of being partially responsible for an accident. If this accusation isn’t fought, your settlement will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. 

This makes it impossible for the plaintiff to receive the maximum amount of compensation. For this reason, it’s always recommended to speak with an accident attorney who can gather the evidence needed to prove the at-fault party’s negligence. 

Navigate New York Law with an Accident Lawyer

Many elements can negatively impact your settlement, and it’s impossible to know about all of them without extensive knowledge of the legal system. A lawyer at Brown Chiari LLP possesses the experience needed for a positive outcome and will make sure to provide you with the best compensation possible for your case. 

We will investigate your accident in the most efficient way possible so you’re left with no doubts. You can reach us at 716-681-7190 or by completing our contact form. We offer a free consultation and remember, no fees if we’re not successful. 

It can be devastating to realize that your loved one was being abused while in the care of others, and it may be difficult to know how best to help them through such an ordeal. Families should investigate any suspected nursing home abuse and take prompt action. 

Safety is the first priority of course, but once your loved one is secure again, you may wonder if there are legal remedies available to you.

A personal injury attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse cases can help you get financial compensation to pay for doctor bills, relocation, and other expenses related to the abuse. This is surely an emotional time for the whole family, but pursuing legal action will send a clear message to the abusers that their behavior is not okay.

Getting Medical Attention

After an individual has been abused in a nursing home, they need to receive proper medical treatment. Often, individuals who suffer abuse in nursing homes feel embarrassed and ashamed of the abuse they were subjected to and are reluctant to speak up about what has happened.

The first thing that doctors should do when someone comes in with signs of abuse is evaluated them for:

  • Physical injuries 
  • Medical complications, such as infections and bedsores
  • Dehydration or weight loss caused by neglect
  • Psychological problems, such as depression or anxiety disorders

Once you or a loved one has been evaluated for injuries and trauma, you then have evidence for your nursing home abuse claim, not to mention the care needed. Your lawyer can then help you pursue compensation. 

Steps to Take After Nursing Home Abuse is Discovered

After uncovering nursing home abuse, it can be difficult to be sure you’re taking the right steps. Luckily, your lawyer can guide you through the process, ensuring you’re taking the right steps toward compensation. 

Struggling to recover from a nursing home abuse case? Here are some of the steps you can take to help a loved one recover: 

  • Remove Your Loved One From the Abusive Environment – The longer your loved one stays in an abusive environment, the harder it will be for them to recover from the trauma they have experienced. If they are able to leave the nursing home without planning or warning, they may be less likely to experience stress disorders.
  • Encourage Them to Talk – Nursing home abuse can be traumatic for seniors who are already dealing with health issues and other challenges associated with old age. It’s normal for them not to want to talk about it but when they’re ready, encourage the victim to talk about their experience.
  • Be Supportive – Listen to what your loved one has to say about the incident. It’s important not to judge or make any assumptions. Instead, just take them seriously and show compassion. Let them know you’re here for them and that you’re ready to help if they need legal assistance. 

Talk to a Lawyer About Nursing Home Abuse Recovery

An attorney can help you determine if there is anything to be done legally against the abusers and the nursing home responsible for allowing the abuse to happen. We can also guide you through any legal steps that need to be taken to stop the abusers from harming anyone else again.

Ready to learn more through a free consultation? Call Brown Chiari LLP at 716-681-7190 or provide us with details about your situation by filling out our confidential online form, and a member of our staff will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

A 52-year-old construction worker who sustained a fall off of a temporary staircase while working on a new home build in 2017 will receive $9.2 Million as a settlement for the injuries he sustained. The worker was in the process of clearing drywall when he fell as a result of an unsafe condition. The individual sustained spinal injuries requiring surgery and a head injury that still requires treatment. It was initially alleged that the General Contractor, who failed to provide a safe worksite, was solely liable. However, during litigation, Brown Chiari discovered that two additional parties were also responsible for the unsafe worksite conditions, and these parties were brought into the litigation. All three defendants contributed to the settlement. The trial attorneys from Brown Chiari were Don Chiari, Michael Scinta, and Brian Hogan.

The covid-19 deaths of a husband and wife who died two days apart in an Albion nursing home has set the stage for what’s believed to be among the first lawsuits challenging the controversial pandemic immunity the stat granted….

Michael Scinta, an attorney at Brown Chiari, spoke with the Buffalo News about the lawsuit brought on behalf of a husband and wife who died two days apart in an Albion nursing home. The lawsuit is thought to be the first of its kind in the state to confront the Covid-19 immunity…read more


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is engulfed in scandals relating to sexual harassment and his administration’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic in nursing homes.

But while a critical state report found Cuomo’s administration “undercounted” thousands of nursing home deaths, State Attorney General Letitia James also found blame with nursing home owners.
“Empty beds cost the facility money,” said Steve Bailey, a nurse at a Buffalo nursing home. “My experience is a facility will do almost anything to avoid empty beds.”

Read More…

Michael Scinta, an attorney at Brown Chiari, spoke with WKBW regarding the complicated financial web that allows some for-profit nursing home owners to receive public money through Medicaid and Medicare and essentially pay themselves with those and other profits.  The interview and article, entitled “I-Team: Following the money in nursing home ownership,” can be accessed here.

When a dementia resident at a troubled Delaware Avenue nursing home escaped through a third-story window and fell 34 feet, his dying request was that someone hold his hand, a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility states.

William L. Strasner, 87, had been trying for weeks to flee from Emerald South Nursing and Rehabilitation Center by removing bolts that prevented the window in his room from opening more than 6 inches. He succeeded in the early morning hours of June 4, 2018, climbing out using a rope he had made from shirts and pants.  Read More….



The National Trial Lawyers is pleased to announce that Andrea Conjerti of Brown Chiari LLP in Buffalo has been selected for inclusion into its Top 40 Under 40 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers in New York, an honor given to only a select group of lawyers for their superior skills and qualifications in the field.  Membership in this exclusive organization is by invitation only and is limited to the top 40 attorneys in each state or region who have demonstrated excellence and have achieved outstanding results in their careers in either civil plaintiff or criminal defense law.

The National Trial Lawyers is a professional organization comprised of the premier trial lawyers from across the country who have demonstrated exceptional qualifications in criminal defense or civil plaintiff law. The National Trial Lawyers provides accreditation to these distinguished attorneys, and also provides essential legal news, information, and continuing education to trial lawyers across the United States.

With the selection of Andrea Conjerti by The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40, Ms. Conjerti has shown that she exemplifies superior qualifications, leadership skills, and trial results as a trial lawyer. The selection process for this elite honor is based on a multi-phase process which includes peer nominations combined with third party research. As The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 is an essential source of networking and information for trial attorneys throughout the nation, the final result of the selection process is a credible and comprehensive list of the most outstanding trial lawyers chosen to represent their state or region.

To learn more about The National Trial Lawyers, please visit: http://thenationaltriallawyers.org/.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A former Buffalo nursing home that was the target of criticism from county and state officials has also generated several lawsuits. A Long Island couple formerly known as “controlling investors” of the Emerald South Nursing and Rehabilitation Center are suing Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.

The County Executive accused the owners of being out-of-touch with the Buffalo facility, and recent court documents seem to back him up. Read more…


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