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Our thoughts are with the friends and family of Rosanne M. Gugino. She was a valued member of our team and will be greatly missed.

Obituary for Rosanne M. Gugino


With a single punch, a punch he never really saw coming, Jason McNeil’s life changed forever.

It was a warm summer night, the day after the Fourth of July last year, and McNeil and his wife, Pam, were leaving a Kid Rock concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center when a man, reportedly drunk, ran up to McNeil and, out of the blue, punched him in the head.  Read More…

Trucking is a demanding profession that requires employees to adhere to high standards of performance and personal conduct. While there’s no way to guarantee the safety of our roadways, randomized programs of drug and alcohol testing can help. Learn more about how often trucking companies should perform drug and alcohol screens.

Common Safety Concerns

Although most road accidents are caused by non-commercial drivers, crashes that involve trucks tend to be far more serious. Every year, thousands of passenger car owners die in truck-related accidents. Since they have an inherent size advantage, truck drivers tend to fare much better.

No driver can absolutely guarantee the safety of others on the road, but truckers who use drugs and alcohol create the following safety problems:

•    Lane drifting and erratic driving
•    Aggressive merging and passing
•    Excessive speed
•    Crashes at intersections
•    Chain-reaction crashes on high-speed roads
•    Failure to heed adverse weather conditions like fog, ice and snow

Types of Drug Screens

While severely impaired drivers present a clear and present risk, even occasional drug and alcohol use poses problems. Some tests can detect prior intoxication over long periods of time. These include:

•    Urine tests that can detect the presence of some drugs, including marijuana, for up to six weeks
•    Hair tests that can detect consumption over the course of an entire year
•    Blood tests that offer intermediate levels of detection
•    Breath tests that can detect recent alcohol consumption

How Often to Test?

Trucking company managers should test their employees for drugs and alcohol at least twice per year. While federal law stipulates that truckers must receive random screens, testing frequency is left to the discretion of business owners. Truckers who aren’t tested every few months may take more risks and create more liability for their supervisors.

Ensuring Fair, Random Testing

To ensure that tests occur frequently and fairly, many trucking companies use computer programs that “randomize” their testing pools and make it harder for employees to cheat on screens. Over the past 20 years, this has resulted in a 90% drop in positive drug screens. However, more work needs to be done.

Regular, random drug and alcohol testing is a fundamental component of any safe workplace. In the dangerous, high-pressure trucking industry, this is especially true. While it’s relatively easy to set up an equitable drug testing program that improves safety and reduces liability, many trucking company owners cut corners and refuse to do the legwork. If you or a loved one suffered injury or property damage after encountering an intoxicated driver, speak with a trusted NY attorney at the Brown Chiari law firm, or call (716) 681-7190 to learn more about your options.

In recent years, the problem of nursing home abuse has become painfully apparent. While this is good news for abused residents who previously had little say in the matter, the practice remains stubbornly widespread. Moreover, studies have shown that residents with dementia are far more likely to suffer abuse than their peers. Learn more about the problem and its potential solutions.

Why It Occurs

Simply put, elderly nursing home residents with dementia are “easy targets” for nursing home staffers. Since they may already suffer from confusion and memory loss, cognitively impaired patients are less likely to report physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Severely impaired patients may not even remember the details of such abuse.

It’s also important to tease out the root causes of nursing home abuse. These may include:

•    Grueling work schedules that include 12-hour shifts and 60-hour workweeks
•    Inconsistent patient assignments
•    Chronic under-staffing
•    Poor quality control or oversight
•    A general culture of mistrust or resentment among staff members

Noteworthy Cases

Some especially brutal or wide-ranging elder abuse cases have earned national and even international attention. A recent incident in Philadelphia highlights the dangers that overworked or vindictive nursing home employees can pose for patients with dementia. Another “outbreak” in a small English town ensnared several employees who had systematically abused residents for years. Other noteworthy cases in Minnesota, Florida and California point to a disturbing trend.

Signs of Mistreatment

The National Center for Elder Abuse reports that nearly 50% of elders with dementia suffer abuse at some point during their stays. Since it may be unreasonable to expect abused nursing home patients to raise the issue on their own, it’s crucial for family members to recognize the signs of potential mistreatment.

Early warning signs include emotional withdrawal, evasive statements and behavioral changes in the presence of abusive employees. Chronic physical abuse is often marked by unexplained sores, bruises, cuts or muscle injuries. Sexual abuse may be indicated by problems with urination, STIs and bowel issues. If you notice any of these symptoms, speak with your nursing home’s management team. If this doesn’t produce results, remove your loved one from the home or contact a licensed attorney.

Taking Action to Protect Your Loved Ones

The sad truth is that elder abuse is far more likely to happen to nursing home residents who can’t easily fight back. If your family member or loved one suffers from dementia or other cognitive impairments, it’s crucial that you prepare for this unfortunate eventuality. To learn more about your options in the event of documented or suspected abuse, contact a trustworthy NY attorney at Brown Chiari who can advise you on your legal standing. Reach us online at our website, or call (716) 681-7190 at your convenience.

Double-decker horse trailers are dangerous vehicles that can cause catastrophic highway accidents. Since they don’t provide adequate headroom for full-size horses, they’re also inhumane. Fortunately, the U.S. Congress has elected to do something about the problem of so-called “horse trucks.” Learn more about the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013, a federal bill that would ban horse trailers with two or more stories.

Assessing the Problem

No serious observer doubts that double-decker horse trailers pose a tremendous danger to drivers of smaller vehicles. Since they can be taller than an 18-wheeler’s trailer, they must avoid low bridges and may become ensnared by low-hanging vegetation on side roads. Worse, they’re designed to accommodate heavy animals on two levels. Depending on the weight of the horses and other cargo on the top level of a double-decker horse trailer, these vehicles may be dangerously top-heavy. On slippery, windswept or curvy roads, rollovers and jackknifes can threaten other drivers, cause significant property damage and result in needless horse deaths.

How the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013 Helps

The Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013 is a simple bill with a simple goal: the outright banning of horse trailers with two or more stories. Using the powers outlined in the Interstate Commerce Act, the bill would make it illegal for such trailers to enter the United States or cross state lines. This would strengthen state-level bans in several jurisdictions. It would also reduce drivers’ exposure to deadly rollover accidents.

Likelihood of Passage

At the moment, Senate sponsors Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Mark Kirk of Illinois believe that the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013 has a strong chance of passage. Although it was initially feared that the bill would devastate trucking firms that cater to agricultural producers, the measure was reintroduced with language that would specifically exempt hog and cattle trailers. Since these animals have lower profiles, trailers that carry them don’t pose an outsize rollover risk.

Reviewing Your Options

While the Horse Transportation Safety Act of 2013 stands a decent chance of passage, it’s not yet the law of the land. Until it’s passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President, transportation companies will be free to use dangerous double-decker “horse trucks” to transport live cargo. If you’re involved in an accident with such a vehicle, contact an NY law firm that has successfully prosecuted negligence cases against horse-transport operators. Call (716) 681-7190 at your convenience or visit our homepage.

When automobile parts malfunction, it can be difficult determining who should be held accountable for the defective product. If an injury or damage occurs, it’s important to target the proper parties when making a liability claim. The flawed parts may not have been made by the auto manufacturer, which means other parties may be at fault. An attorney can help you consider all potential defendants for a lawsuit.

At Brown Chiari, we factor in every possible option when it comes to determining liability. This involves checking each resource from the design of the part to the product distribution. The main manufacturer of the vehicle is a major consideration, but going after a large company can backfire. In order to create a successful lawsuit, it’s necessary to look for less obvious culprits.

If you want to seek reparation for any damages or injuries caused by a defective auto product, the first source to consider is the manufacturer of the part itself. In many cases, manufacturers produce products that have general design weaknesses. This often occurs with tires, but these flaws can range from malfunctioning locks to faulty break systems.

A vehicle dealership or supply store may also be held responsible for providing a substandard part. Any individual or company that was involved with the chain of distribution may be liable. This includes shipping companies or other middlemen who handled the product. Improper installation of the part comes into play as well. An attorney can help you decide which participants to bring into your lawsuit.

In the case of traffic accidents, each driver involved may be able to make product liability claims. However, proving this type of case may be complicated. It’s good to know which defects are most associated with accidents so that you can properly navigate your way through a lawsuit for an accident involving multiple cars. You can view a list of common contributors to accidents here.

Many defendants in automobile products liability proceedings argue that the damages or injuries were caused by the plaintiff’s irresponsible driving. If you want to win your court case, you will need to prove several things. In addition to proving the part was defective or recklessly designed, you will need to demonstrate that the malfunction caused your injuries or losses.

The attorneys at Brown Chiari have substantial experience with product liability cases. If you have suffered an injury because of an automobile defect, you may have multiple options for making a liability claim and ultimately receiving compensation. Contact our NY law firm today so that you can get the answers you need from a trusted and dependable source.

Personal injury victims are often denied the chance for financial compensation because of unintentional mistakes. Not knowing how to proceed after suffering a personal injury can cost you the settlement that you deserve. Most injury victims are legally entitled to recover medical expenses, lost wages and punitive damages. As long as you avoid the common mistakes that people make, you should receive adequate compensation for your personal injury claim.

Time is not on your side, so you should contact an attorney quickly after suffering a personal injury due to the fault of another. With each passing day, it becomes more difficult for everyone involved to remember details from the scene. It also becomes more difficult for your attorney to find witnesses that can testify on your behalf. Besides that, your claim is only valid if you file it within the statute of limitations.

Waiting too long to receive medical care can harm your case; therefore, you should visit your doctor promptly after suffering a personal injury. The doctor’s report can bolster your claim by proving that your injuries are real, and a doctor can stop your injuries from becoming worse. Another reason to visit the doctor promptly is to appease insurance companies. Many insurance companies do not believe that an injury is serious if the victim fails to visit a doctor.

You should never accept a settlement without legal counsel. Nearly all settlements require the victim to sign away his or her rights for future legal action. When you receive an offer for compensation, it is likely that the other party is aware that they were in the wrong. Most people who accept a settlement without legal counsel receive less than they are legally entitled to. A New York attorney can help you receive the compensation that you deserve.

Settling too early can also become problematic because you may not realize the true extent of your injuries. Certain injuries take a long time to develop, which is why quick settlements are not always a good thing. Having good legal assistance can help you avoid the mistake of settling too early.

Demanding too much is another common mistake that injury victims make. Making an unreasonable demand will send a red flag to the insurance company that you do not understand how the claim process works. Insurance companies rarely offer their maximum policy amounts when personal injury victims make outrageous demands. Your New York attorney will work with you to come up with a reasonable request.

To receive help with your personal injury claim, contact the Brown Chiari Law Firm at our homepage, or call us at 716-681-7190. Once they review your case, they will meet with you to discuss your legal options. Having an experienced attorney on your side can help you receive compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages.

If you’ve long thought of nursing homes as safe havens where older men and women can live out their golden years in peace and serenity, you would be largely justified in your beliefs. In some facilities, however, nursing home neglect is a very real problem. Because it is often hard to detect, it can sometimes continue for weeks, months and years. If you have an aging parent or relative in a nursing home, here are a few signs to watch out for. Hard evidence should always be met with swift legal action.


While bedsores are significant problems in nursing homes, they may only be evident when the patient is closely examined. Known also as pressure sores, bedsores usually come about when patients are forced to lie in one position for an extended period of time. Nursing home patients who are unable to switch to a different resting position may develop reddish welts on various areas of the body. This form of neglect often occurs in facilities that are understaffed.


Dehydration can be devastating to nursing home patients. When individuals are not given enough fluids during the course of the day, they can become sluggish, irritable and pale. If they were originally admitted to the facility for another ailment, then the dehydration will be especially hard to spot. If your loved one complains of constant thirst, you can ask staff members for more information. Even moderate cases of dehydration can lead to a decline in both physical and psychological health.


Bruises are considered an active form of abuse. If they occur on the stomach, back or shoulders, however, they may not be readily visible. In some cases, patients may be hit, slapped or punched by nursing home staff members who simply have no business working in medicine. In extreme instances, bruises may signal sexual abuse. If you spot a discoloration that you think might be a bruise, seek legal help right away.

Weight Loss

Weight loss often arises from poor nutrition, which is nearly always considered a serious form of neglect. Patients often require specialized diets, especially if they are suffering from osteoporosis, diabetes or other maladies. If they are losing weight but are not showing any other signs of physical decline, then they are likely being given unbalanced meals. Although weight loss can be reversed, it often points to a problem with planning and management that may be very difficult to fix.

If you believe that a loved one may be suffering from nursing home neglect, you will want to procure a reputable New York attorney as soon as possible. For further assistance, give the experts at Brown Chiari a call at 716-681-7190 or visit our homepage for more information.

A Cheektowaga man injured three years ago when a police cruiser crashed into his vehicle has settled a lawsuit against the Town of Amherst for $1.2 million.

The Amherst Town Board on Monday consented to the $1.2 million for Michael Paoletta, after attorneys on both sides came to a settlement last week prior to a jury verdict.

“We thought that was a fair compensation for what he had gone through and taking into account his potential wage claim,” said Donald P. Chiari, who tried the case… Read more here on Buffalo News

“Every day is difficult. We had my son for 35 years. That’s a long time and a lot of memories, and every day we struggle. Every day,” said Richard Metcalf – Click here to see more 

FDA’s MedWatch Safety Alerts: January 2013

Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants: Updated Safety Recommendations

FDA is providing updated safety information and recommendations to patients and health care professionals based on the agency’s current assessment of metal-on-metal hip implants, including:

  • the benefits and risks
  • the evaluation of published literature
  • the results of an FDA advisory panel meeting held in June 2012

Risk: Implant components slide against each other during walking or running, which releases tiny metal particles. These particles may damage bone or soft tissue surrounding the implant and joint. Soft tissue damage could lead to pain, implant loosening, device failure and the need for revision surgery.

Some of the metal ions released will enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body, where they may cause discomfort or illnesses.

Recommendations for People Considering a Metal-on-Metal Hip Implant

  • Be aware that every hip implant has benefits and risks.
  • Discuss your options for hip surgery with your orthopedic surgeon.
  • See a list of questions to ask your orthopedic surgeon.

Recommendations for People With Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants

  • If you are not having any symptoms and your orthopedic surgeon believes your implant is functioning properly, continue to follow-up routinely with the surgeon every one to two years.
  • If you develop new or worsening problems, such as pain, swelling, numbness, noise (popping, grinding, clicking or squeaking of your hip) or a change in your ability to walk, contact your orthopedic surgeon right away.
  • If you experience changes in your general health, including new or worsening symptoms outside your hip, let your doctor or other health care professional know you have a metal-on-metal hip implant.

For More Information

As more and more elderly Americans choose to spend their later years in assisted living facilities, FRONTLINE and ProPublica examine whether this loosely regulated, multi-billion dollar industry is putting seniors at risk? Our film, “Life and Death in Assisted Living” airs on PBS tonight at 10 pm… Read entire article here

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