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Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo

Plaintiffs’ Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice

Caption: Seated, from left: Christopher T. McGrath, Eleni Coffinas, Michael N. Block, Robert G. Sullivan, Nicholas Papain, Marie Ng, Vito A. Cannavo Standing, from left: Elizabeth Montesano, Eric K. Schwarz, Frank V. Floriani, Thomas J. McManus, Mary Anne Walling, Brian J. Shoot, John F. Nash, Albert B. Aquila, Hugh M. Turk, David J. Dean, Liza A. Milgrim, Deanne M. Caputo  

Being in the forefront of New York’s legal community is a challenge. However, for the past 80-plus years, Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C. (SPBMC) has risen to that challenge. The firm has established a tradition of service and excellence by successfully representing individuals who have been seriously injured as a result of the wrongdoing of others.

Managing partner Nicholas Papain said the firm has earned its reputation as a powerful advocate for the injured because of the trust developed with clients and peers, as well as its stellar reputation in the legal community. “We are committed to knowing each client individually, because we understand they have endured a traumatic or tragic event,” Papain said. “These valued clients, and the lawyers who have referred them, have trusted us to do everything possible to achieve the best results for them.” The firm has more than 40 lawyers with offices in Manhattan, Garden City and Cutchogue, LI, and in Hackensack, New Jersey.

The breadth of the firm’s personal injury practice includes motor vehicle, medical malpractice, construction site, fire, explosion, mass disasters, municipal, premises, toxic and mass torts and product liability cases. “Our depth of knowledge and experience enables us to provide highly skilled representation to each of our valued clients,” noted Papain. “Over the last decade, we have recovered more than $2 billion on behalf of accident victims and their families.”

The firm’s success has also been recognized outside the courtroom. SPBMC was named by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® in 2017 as a Tier 1 “Best Law Firm” in three practice areas – Plaintiffs Personal Injury Litigation, Product Liability Litigation and Medical Malpractice Litigation – in New York City and Long Island. Thirteen SPBMC members were selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© in these areas, two of whom were recognized as “Lawyers of the Year” in their respective practice areas. The firm also boasts 13 members who have been rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest peer rating standard. “Our members are more than just knowledgeable lawyers – they are consummate and dedicated professionals,” said Papain. “We are always honored and inspired when the results achieved for our clients are recognized by others in the legal community.”

SPBMC Wins Major Verdict in 2016

In 2016 a jury awarded three injured firefighters and the families of two deceased firefighters $183 million stemming from a fire that became known as the “Black Sunday Fire.” The five firefighters became trapped in a top floor apartment, forcing them to jump four stories to the ground below. Suit was brought against the building owner for allowing the apartment to be illegally subdivided, blocking their access to the fire escape. They also sued the City of New York for failing to provide the firefighters with personal safety ropes which would have enabled them to safely self-evacuate from the burning building. Five years earlier, the FDNY had removed the personal safety ropes from the firefighters’ gear.

The case was tried by Vito Cannavo, a senior trial lawyer and partner at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath & Cannavo P.C. (SPBMC). The jury assigned 80% of the blame to the City and 20% to the landlord. The verdict was one of the largest ever against The City of New York. “This demonstrated that a governmental entity is not immune from liability when it fails to provide its firefighters with proper safety equipment. This case also reaffirms that landlords are to be held accountable for turning a blind eye to unsafe conditions that exist in their buildings,” Vito Cannavo said.

Shortly after this tragedy, the FDNY began equipping New York’s Bravest with personal safety ropes, a hook and a sliding device. SPBMC serves as General Counsel to the Uniformed Firefighters Association of New York (UFA), and, for over 40 years, has been actively engaged in helping injured firefighters and the families of fallen firefighters.

September 11th Victim Compensation Fund

Since 2002 SPBMC has been at the forefront in representing victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, having recovered more than $850 million for its 9/11 clients.

In 2002, the firm was instrumental in having Congress establish the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (“VCF”), to help the families of those who died in the attacks, and those who became ill as a result of their exposure to toxins at Ground Zero.

In the original VCF, which closed in 2003, SPBMC recovered more than $265 million for 363 injured firefighters and the families of deceased firefighters, for no fee, earning the firm The National Law Journal’s prestigious Pro Bono Award.

In 2004 the firm filed the first federal lawsuits against the City of New York and its contractors for failing to provide first responders with proper respiratory equipment. The litigation settled in 2010 with the firm recovering more than $100 million for its clients.

In 2011 the VCF reopened under the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to compensate first responders and others who developed 9/11-related illnesses as a result of their working or living in the Exposure Zone (from the tip of lower Manhattan to Canal Street) during cleanup operations. To date, the firm has recovered more than $480 million for its new VCF clients.

Filing a claim requires the expertise of dedicated lawyers. “We have a deep understanding of the devastating impact that 9/11-related illnesses have had on first responders and those who lived and worked in the Exposure Zone,” said SPBMC’s managing partner, Nicholas Papain. “We’ll continue to fight for the interests of those who need and deserve help.”

Manhattan 120 Broadway, 18th Floor New York, NY 10271 T 212.732.9000

Garden City 1140 Franklin Avenue, Suite 200 Garden City, NY 11530 T 516.742.0707

Cutchogue 33105 Main Road Cutchogue, NY 11935 T 631.734.2500

New Jersey 126 State Street Hackensack, NJ 07601 T 201.342.0037 |