Category: News

Grieving Families Act – A modern day amendment to New York’s Wrongful Death Law

In New York, if you lose a beloved family member as a result of malpractice or negligence, you can bring a wrongful death claim seeking damages. But, the current law only allows for the recovery of  economic damages and does not allow for the recovery of damages for the pain and suffering or grief caused by your loved one’s death. The time has come to amend New York’s antiquated and discriminatory Wrongful Death Law.

The New York State Senate and New York State Assembly have passed legislation known as the “Grieving Families Act” and sent this proposed amendment to Governor Hochul for her signature.  If it is signed into law, families of wrongful death victims will be able to recover damages for their pain and suffering.

Currently, in New York, the law only allows families of wrongful death victims to recover pecuniary damages or economic damages. These damages are generally calculated based on the earning capacity of the deceased person.

For instance, if the person supporting the family dies in an accident or as a result of medical malpractice, the family can recover damages which might include:

  • Out of pocket expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of financial support
  • The value of services the deceased person would have provided to the family, had they been alive (loss of services).
  • Loss of inheritance that the victim would have left for their loved ones

There is no statutory authority to seek damages for the grief or emotional damages caused by a loved one’s death. For decades, we have argued that this is not fair.  It puts a value on people who work and earn but excludes many in society from seeking compensation where a loved one is lost. If the victim is a stay-at-home parent, an elderly person, a child,  or a disabled person, the family might not be able to recover compensation, due to the lack of provable financial losses.  This is a terrible insult to the lives of our loved ones. 

Most other states recognize that the death of a loved one is measured in ways that don’t only include the amount of money that person brought to the household. The loss of a loved one causes immeasurable grief.  When that loss was caused by someone else’s neglect, it is even worse.  That is what the Grieving Families Act seeks to correct.

Damages Recoverable under the Grieving Families Act

If the act is passed, families of wrongful death victims will be able to recover non-economic damages, which include:

Grief and emotional anguish caused by the victim’s death

Loss of support, protection, and assistance

Loss of nurture, guidance, comfort, companionship, and consortium

The Grieving Families Act significantly increases the measure of damages for families in New York.    We urge Governor Hochul to sign this Act into law. 

The Act can be found at

The attorneys at Abend & Silber have been handling accident cases in New York for decades and have extensive experience in wrongful death cases resulting from negligence, accidents and malpractice.

5 New Lawsuits Add Depth to Doctor Reginald Archibald’s Legacy of Child Sexual Abuse at Rockefeller University Hospital

NY Child Victims Act Prompts 3 Brothers to Break Silence to Each Other, Discover All Were Abused by Same Doctor in Same Way

July 30, 2020 (New York, NY)

Today, on behalf of five brave survivors, attorneys from the law firm of Jeff Anderson & Associates and Abend & Silber, PLLC filed five new child sexual abuse complaints under the New York Child Victims Act (CVA) against Rockefeller University Hospital, alleging abuse by Doctor Reginald Archibald, an endocrinologist and notorious serial child abuser. Of the survivors filing suit today, three are brothers subjected to abuse through Archibald’s “growth studies,” a practice through which it is suspected the doctor was able to abuse hundreds of children.

”Dr. Archibald was a skilled predator who used his position at a distinguished research hospital to lure in trusting parents who unknowingly served their children up to a wolf” said attorney Josh Silber. “As one of our survivor client’s has said repeatedly, as bad as it was to suffer from the abuse, he feels his trusting mother was the real victim here. He was thankful she passed away without ever having known about the atrocities her children suffered at the hands of this acclaimed doctor.”

Plaintiffs and brothers Frank, Joseph, and Vincent Pulizzi were abused from approximately 1959 to 1961 by Archibald during one of his growth studies, but did not discuss their abuse with anyone, not even each other, until recently. News coverage of Archibald and the New York Child Victims Act opened the way for a dialogue between the brothers that revealed they were all living with the same, secret, devastating experience of child sexual abuse by the same doctor.

“It took many years to come to terms with what happened to me as a child. And all these years, I never even knew my own brothers were going through the same emotional trauma. I just hope that no other child has to suffer the way we did and knowing now that it could have been prevented makes it even worse.” – Vincent Pulizzi, survivor

“At this point in my life I chose to pursue justice in the case against Rockefeller University because they knew what Dr. Archibald was doing and should have stopped it. My objective and goal is to never have this happen to anyone again and that no other family be disrupted and negatively affected by a single perverted individual and cover-up by a prestigious institution for so long.” – Joseph Pulizzi, survivor

“I trusted this doctor and he did things that were unspeakable. As children, we didn’t even know that what he was doing was wrong and that causes so many problems in your life. All these years later we now know how this has affected my life and I am glad I am able to seek justice. Now, receiving counseling I have finally been able to learn to trust again and to try to get beyond the guilt and shame I have carried around for so long.” – Frank Pulizzi, survivor

The Pulizzi brothers sharing their stories with each other shed new light on the destruction the abuse had inflicted on them and their family. And similarly, the lawsuits they are bringing today shed light on a legacy of abuse and secrecy across the history of Rockefeller Hospital. Although
multiple investigations have been made into Archibald, it is survivors coming forward that truly exposes the scope and scale of the abuse.
Following a series of sexual abuse reports naming Archibald, hospital administration released a letter to former patients, informing them that “the University retained Debevoise & PlimptonLLP to investigate reports of sexual misconduct by Dr. Archibald.” The resulting report was released on May 23, 2019. Its key findings include:
• Dr. Archibald engaged in acts of sexual misconduct and sexual abuse toward many of his pediatric patients while employed by Rockefeller University Hospital.
• Dr. Archibald took advantage of his position as a trusted and respected physician and researcher, engaged in a widespread pattern of misconduct and sexually abused many children at the Hospital over the course of many years when offering patients medical care and treatment.
• Dr. Archibald typically saw patients once a year, and sometimes more frequently if they were on medication. For comparison purposes, Archibald also sometimes saw siblings who did not have growth or endocrine issues.
• In late 1960, the New York County District Attorney’s Office issued a grand jury subpoena for medical records for two of Archibald’s patients, presumably prompted by a complaint and the then-President of RU was made aware of the investigation.
• The investigation concluded by noting that there were warning signs of Dr. Archibald’s sexual abuse of children that could have been seen, appreciated or further pursued earlier.
”The Child Victims Act has provided an opportunity for these courageous survivors to speak out about the horrors they suffered then and now,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “Dr. Archibald’s pattern of predation was allowed to continue for decades with the endorsement of a prestigious institution.”

Jeff Anderson: 646.499.3364 (c); 646.759.2551 (o)
Josh Silber: 212.532.7676 (c); 212.532.7575 (o)
Trusha Goffe: 646.995.0616 (c); 646.759.2551 (o)

Lawsuit Filed Against Modern Orthodox Jewish School SAR Academy Under New York Child Victims Act

(Bronx, New York) – A survivor, sexually abused when he was approximately 13 to 14 years old, has sued the private Modern Orthodox Jewish school of Salanter Akiba Riverdale (SAR) Academy under New York’s Child Victims Act (CVA). The CVA is a new law that gives survivors of child sexual abuse until August 13, 2020 to bring lawsuits that were previously time-barred by the statute of limitations, no matter when the abuse occurred. Robert Eckmann was sexually abused as an 8th grader during the 1976 – 1977 school year by the Assistant Principal for General Studies at SAR Academy, Stanley Rosenfeld. The suit is being brought by Jeff Anderson & Associates in collaboration with Abend & Silber, a New York litigation firm. The complaint can be found at (News & Events section) and at

“We have long been aware that there is a serious problem in this culture and at this school,” said Anderson. “The leaders at SAR Academy have hidden the peril at this school for decades and it’s time to address it.” Rosenfeld has admitted to molesting hundreds of boys on and off SAR campus. When asked if anyone at SAR knew he was abusing children, Rosenfeld stated to investigators, “I don’t know if they knew or not. Sometimes it was very possible to see me do that because I wasn’t hiding [the behavior].” Rosenfeld also stated that at some point, SAR Principal Rabbi Sheldon Chwat spoke to him about “doing something wrong” that he characterized as “always faulty touching.”

On August 8, 2000, Rosenfeld was arrested and charged with four counts of Second-Degree Child Molestation for the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old boy. On May 21, 2001, in Rhode Island Superior Court, Rosenfeld pled no contest to Second Degree Child Molestation, received a 10-year suspended sentence and was placed on probation, the terms of which included no contact with children. After violating his probation on September 13, 2002, Rosenfeld was resentenced to 18 months of incarceration. Rosenfeld was required to register as a Level III Sex Offender in Rhode Island upon his release from prison and was placed on probation supervision until May 20, 2011.
In 2018, an investigative firm looked into allegations of sexual abuse committed by Rosenfeld at SAR as a result of Eckmann’s report to the school. The investigation revealed that between 1974 and 1987 Rosenfeld engaged in acts of sexual abuse or other sexually inappropriate behavior with minor students. Among other places, the abuse occurred at Rosenfeld’s home during SAR-sanctioned Shabbat dinners as well as on-campus in the classroom, the office, and hallways. The findings were based on firsthand reports from twelve former SAR students, eleven boys and one girl, as well as one non-SAR student.

This investigation also revealed that Rosenfeld’s sexual misconduct became known to Rabbi Sheldon Schwartz, an SAR Judaic Studies teacher, when two former students separately disclosed to him that Rosenfeld had touched them inappropriately. Moreover, Rabbi Schwartz was present on multiple occasions at Rosenfeld’s home when abuse of the boys occurred. The evidence presented during the investigation further demonstrates that Rosenfeld’s sexual misconduct also became known to former SAR Principal Rabbi Chwat when a former faculty member reported to him that she observed Rosenfeld touch a boy’s groin area in an office at the school. Moreover, the investigation revealed that a “senior member” of SAR recalled Chwat saying that Rosenfeld left SAR in 1977 because he was “the kind of person that has a proclivity or interest in students” and “not the person who should be with kids full time.” Despite this proclivity, Rosenfeld was rehired in 1986 by SAR to teach sixth grade language arts part-time for one year. SAR’s assistant principal at the time, Rabbi Joel Cohn, asked the principal at the time, Rabbi Yonah Fuld, if there were any concerns regarding Rosenfeld. Cohn, recalling that Fuld had been an associate principal while Rosenfeld was employed at SAR, responded, “For a short amount of time, I think it’s okay.”

Throughout the years, SAR placed other employees in positions of power where they were able to sexually abuse minors. According to the investigative firm, Rabbi Sheldon Schwartz was found to have sexually abused at least four students. In September 2019, SAR’s assistant principal, Jonathan Skolnick, was arrested and charged with possession and production of child pornography and the sexual exploitation of a young boy.

“A school’s primary mission is the safety of the children placed in its care,” said Josh Silber of Abend & Silber. “SAR completely ignored this sacred responsibility.”

Contacts – Jeff Anderson & Associates
Jeff Anderson: 646.499.3364 (c), 646.759.2551 (o)
Trusha Goffe: 646.995.0616 (c), 646.759.2551 (o)
Nahid Shaikh: 516.395.3429 (c), 646.759.2551 (o)

Contacts – Abend & Silber
Richard H. Abend: 212.532.5656 (o)
Josh Silber: 212.532.7676 (o)

New York Passes Historic Child Victims Act

The New York State Legislature passed a bill on January 28, 2019 that increases the statute of limitations for cases of child sexual abuse. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on February 14, 2019 and took effect on August 14, 2019.

The Child Victims Act will allow survivors of child sexual abuse or assaults to seek prosecution against their abuser and their employers until the age of 55 in civil cases, a significant increase from the previous limit of age 23. For criminal cases, victims can seek prosecution until they turn 28. Most importantly, the bill also includes a one-year window during which victims of any age or time limit can come forward to prosecute. That window is open until August 13, 2020.

According to Cuomo’s office, the new law will provide necessary relief to child victims of sexual abuse by amending New York’s antiquated laws to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable for their actions, regardless of when the crime occurred.

This legislation:

  • Increases the amount of time during which perpetrators of these crimes may be held criminally accountable;
  • Allows victims of these crimes to commence a civil lawsuit at any time before they reach 55 years of age;
  • Provides victims whose claims have been time-barred a new opportunity for their day in court by opening a one-year window for them to commence their action;
  • Eliminates the need to file a notice of claim for sexual offenses committed against a minor;
  • Requires judicial training with respect to crimes involving the sexual abuse of minors;
  • Authorizes the Office of Court Administration to promulgate rules and regulations for the timely adjudication of revived actions.

Our law firm is ready to help survivors of child sexual abuse bring their claims during this limited time period. We have been working with national experts in this field and have developed a litigation plan and case management system to effectively assist our clients with these very sensitive matters.

Our firm represents many survivors and we work with all of our clients personally to help make sure these matters are handled so that each client is comfortable. There may even be ways to proceed anonymously.

It is our mission to empower our clients and to use this law to bring about a societal change. No longer should abuse be covered up or ignored. No longer should abusers be protected by their employers, whether they are teachers, clergy, coaches or others who have abused their power. Shedding light on abusers will help prevent future generations from suffering in a way that was acceptable to churches, schools, boy scout or girl scout troops and other institutions in generations past. It is our belief that this law will protect the next generation of children. If abusers know that survivors of their abuse will take legal action against them, they will be less likely to commit these serious offenses. We take our mission seriously and personally.

We are here to help you. Call us today – (212) 532-7575

New York Medical Malpractice News

According to safety researchers at Johns Hopkins Medical School, even the most preventable surgical errors are still happening at alarming levels.  These “never events” like operating on the wrong body part or leaving medical instruments inside a patient’s body are happening dozens of times every week across the country.  And, according to the researchers, these types of medical mistakes are totally preventable.

Continue reading “New York Medical Malpractice News”

Failure to Timely Diagnose Infection Leads to NYU Child’s Death

nytimes-logo-abend-silberMedical malpractice can happen even at the best hospitals.  The New York Times reports that 12 year old Rory Staunton’s death at NYU Medical Center was caused by the failure to timely diagnose an infection.  The article suggests that despite obvious signs of infection the medical doctors completely failed to make the diagnosis and discharged Rory home.  Unfortunately, by the time the infection was finally diagnosed it was too late for Rory and his family.  What is particularly troubling is that abnormal results from a routine blood test, suggesting an infection, were not properly communicated to Rory’s doctors or his family.  NYU is considered by many to be a world class medical institution and this story illustrates how even the best hospitals and the doctors who work there can make mistakes, as is alleged.

Continue reading “Failure to Timely Diagnose Infection Leads to NYU Child’s Death”

New York Law Journal’s Top Verdicts and Settlements of 2011

TopVerdict2011Abend & Silber was recently featured in the New York Law Journal’s Top Verdicts and Settlements for 2011. This is the second year in a row that an Abend & Silber case has been recognized in the New York Law Journal’s Top Verdicts and Settlements issue.

Trial attorney Richard H. Abend represented the family of a 59 year old man that passed away due to a sudden heart attack. It was alleged that the decedent’s family physician failed to diagnose and treat hypertension which resulted in his untimely death. The decedent presented to his doctor’s office on multiple occasions with elevated blood pressure. Additionally, he had multiple risk factors including a significant family history as well as a history of smoking. Despite these significant risk factors he was never given an EKG or referred to a cardiologist.  The decedent left behind his wife and his adult daughter. This matter was settled in the amount of $1,150,000.00 immediately prior to jury selection.

Abend & Silber is proud to continue our tradition of seeking justice for families that have been victims of medical malpractice. While the loss of a loved one is always sad it is particularly tragic when it is preventable.


Obama Selects Sotomayor to the Supreme Court

President Obama announced his selection of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court of the United States earlier today. Judge Sotomayor currently serves as a Justice for the Second Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals in Manahattan.

Judge Sotomayor is a native New Yorker and graduate of Yale Law School. One of her most noteworthy decisions ended the 1995 Major League Baseball Strike ruling in favor the the players and against the owners. Her nomination will add to the diversity of the Court as Judge Sotomayor would be its first Hispanic member and second sitting female Justice.

NYSTLA’s Lobby Day – Albany, NY

On behalf of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA), Richard Abend & Josh Silber will be in Albany, New York on April 27-28 visiting with several members of the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate. Lobby Day is one of most effective means of standing up for the rights of our clients as well as protecting the civil justice system. This year, we have an opportunity to roll back several regressive anti-consumer initiatives and to advocate for legislation that will bring some of New York’s archaic tort laws into the 21st Century. “The opportunity to meet face to face with the important elected officials of the State and to personally discuss the challenges our clients face fighting for justice is well worth the sacrifice of the trip” said Abend. Silber added “the relationships we make and continue to foster year after year in Albany have had a very positive effect on legislation that NYSTLA supports and on legislation that would harm our clients if made into law.”