Scott H. Stopnik Partner

     

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Scott Stopnik defends clients in a full range of civil litigation matters, bringing a broad perspective and keen insight, along with a detail-oriented approach, to the management of high-profile claims and cases. He serves as national counsel for some of the firm’s most prestigious clients and is the lead partner on numerous complex, high-risk engagements. Scott actively practices in New York’s state, appellate and federal courts and provides national support to matters across the country, often overseeing local teams of attorneys throughout the firm’s network of offices.

Businesspeople know that the best advisers have a holistic perspective, and Scott delivers an impressive range of knowledge and insights. Transcending the principles of good lawyering, his unique ability to apply “big picture” perspectives to each case makes his early involvement essential to clients and colleagues alike.

Scott specializes in all areas associated with construction, transportation and premises liability. As a full-service designated counsel, Scott manages and administers the litigation program for one of the largest cable operators in the United States and heads national litigation programs for an insurer and major contractors across practice lines and multiple jurisdictions, stressing risk containment and cost management. Aggressive in his support of clients’ objectives for their businesses and their people, Scott represents a formidable presence and a value-added resource at the table and, when necessary, in the courtroom.

Scott serves as a sounding board on behalf of clients to provide guidance regarding prominent, high-exposure litigation and claims on national and local fronts. His ability to consistently provide results-oriented short- and long-term strategies that exceed client expectations has become a hallmark of his litigation and claim management practice. Scott’s disciplined, strategic and level-headed approach to defending, litigating and resolving matters enables clients to effectively handle and manage their claims with powerful risk management support.

Areas of Focus

Construction & Construction Defect
Over the course of Scott’s more than 20-year career, he has worked with commercial and residential real estate developers, construction managers, general contractors, subcontractors, service providers and insurers toward the resolution of complex claims and commercial issues. He also has litigated construction claims in connection with OCIP and CCIP insurance vehicles, appreciating the interplay between CGL and Workers’ Compensation exposures and focusing on the achievement of a favorable global resolution of each claim. Indeed, he is known for his comprehensive litigation skills and related labor law, contracts and coverage experience. A pragmatic counselor and zealous advocate, Scott’s experience handling construction-related issues at two major insurers gave him a laser focus on the underlying costs of litigation and the impact these costs can have on the business models and forecasts of clients and insurers. Although he primarily defends first-party matters, he also has been called upon to counsel institutional and insured entities relative to the ever-present intricate coverage issues that often arise in construction-related litigation. 

Scott represents all types of parties involved in the development, construction, demolition, renovation and rehabilitation of properties and in the service and maintenance of all aspects of commercial and residential development. He has represented numerous such parties in connection with a full range of claims, including personal injury, construction defect and breach of contract. Scott’s specialized knowledge of the development and maintenance of properties enables him to effectively defend his clients in all areas of potential litigation as warranted by their businesses, including claims involving elevator liability, municipal liability, transportation liability, premises and security liability, and insurance coverage matters.

Transportation
Since the inception of his career, Scott has defended national long-haul and local trucking companies and taxi and livery fleets in catastrophic personal injury, uninsured motorist, no-fault and PIP subrogation cases. His proactive, hands-on approach and knowledge of the business underscore his understanding of the unique issues facing the industry, first- and third-party liability, subrogation issues, and the interplay of legislation surrounding vehicle operation and ownership responsibility.

Premises Liability
Scott defends property owners, retailer and wholesaler storefronts, bars and restaurants in a multitude of premises liability matters, including but not limited to trip and falls, slip and falls, premises security, Dram Shop, catastrophic fire events and intentional tort litigation. Scott is highly regarded for the pinpoint accuracy of his early case evaluations and is regularly involved in the first stages of evidence gathering and “triage.” He spearheads the investigation, helping to arrive at a clear and informed strategy and the ultimate successful defense and resolution of a claim.

Representative Matters

Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a client in a high-exposure Labor Law matter arising from an accident that allegedly occurred at a construction site for a multimillion-dollar renovation. Plaintiff asserted that he was caused to fall to the ground from a ladder while performing plumbing work at the subject premises. He asserted that our client was the general contractor, which status confers various statutory obligations under strict liability statutes. The plaintiff, who was 31 years old at the time of the incident, allegedly sustained multiple injuries, including but not limited to a L5-S1 lumbar fusion with instrumentation and bone graft; a bilateral knee derangement; a torn rotator cuff on the right shoulder requiring arthroscopic surgery; acute comminuted fracture of the greater tuberosity of the right upper arm in the area of the shoulder requiring surgical repair; a torn medial meniscus of the left knee requiring arthroscopic surgical repair; and a traumatic brain injury. The plaintiff ’s original settlement demand was $10 million. After a six-week trial, the jury unanimously dismissed all claims against our client.

Successfully defended general contractor in connection with a Labor Law liability matter where plaintiff survived 11-story fall onto vehicle in traffic; plaintiff claimed $98 million in economic loss exclusive from claim for pain and suffering; resolved during pending summary judgment motion practice for $12.1 million.

Represented commercial real estate owner and associated parking garage in connection with claim where plaintiff sued our clients and parking garage man-lift maintenance company whereby plaintiff sustained bilateral leg crush injuries rendering plaintiff permanently disabled and scarred, which required six surgeries among other medical treatment; defended trial and case settled prior to verdict for $4.9 million.

Successfully resolved matter in connection with Owner Controlled Insurance Program representing owner, managing agent, tenant, general contractor and demolition subcontractor in connection with construction accident asserting, among other claims, a violation of Labor Law § 240(1); plaintiff fell from scaffold sustaining maleolus and calcaneal fractures, each requiring surgical intervention, claiming a permanent inability to acquire gainful employment; plaintiff conveyed firm settlement demand of $7 million; using and leveraging significant investigation and deposition testimony, successfully resolved claim at mediation for $1.65 million.

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