November 13/14, 2012 - The New York Law Journal publishes front page article discussing the arguments presented by Mr. Lukaszewski to the New York State Court of Appeals on Tuesday, November 13th, in connection with the 9/11 NYPD cancer case of the firm’s client, Police Officer Eddie; which was combined with two additional 9/11 NYPD cancer cases (Bitchatci and Macri), for which arguments were also held. Maldanado (View arguments at NYS COA’s website via below link.) Officer Maldanado’s case and the others, involved questions as to the application of the ‘World Trade Center Presumptive Law’ by the NYPD’s Pension Fund, and with regard to the presumption of causation that the law creates, and what constitutes ‘competent’ and ‘credible’ evidence that will be deemed sufficient to rebut the presumption. The Law Journal reports that the Court will hand down a ruling in December. The Court of Appeals is the State’s highest Court and only hears select cases which generally involve matters of ‘first impression’ and/or can be shown to be a matter of public importance; and the Court’s decisions set a precedent which must be followed by all Courts of the State. (http://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/arguments/2012/Nov12/Nov12_OA.htm)
October 22, 2012 - The New York Law Journal publishes as Decision of Interest, firm's case involving the NYPD's Pension Fund being found to have once again acted unlawfully and contrary to an order of the Appellate Division, First Department, which had found the Fund's original denial of a Police Officer's disability pension application for serious line of duty spinal injuries, to be improper.
October 2012 - Chet Lukaszewski, P.C. successfully compels and negotiates settlement with City of New York, on behalf of firm’s NYPD Police Sergeant client, as compensation for a slip and fall accident on an icy stairway of a Queens Police Command, in a personal injury action alleging negligence on the part of the City and the NYPD, which sought recovery for the Sergeants’ resulting pain and suffering.
September 2012 – Chet Lukaszewski, P.C. successfully compels and negotiates defendant's insurance carrier to offer monies which the firm's clients deem acceptable, in a pre-trial settlement, as compensation for a trip and fall accident at a Levittown strip-mall, in a personal injury action for pain and suffering of client-wife's physical injuries, and for resulting loss of consortium to client-husband.
March 13, 2012 – The Chief Leader newspaper publishes story ‘Officer Can Appeal Denial of 9/11 Disability Pension’, which reports on Court of Appeals decision to hear 9/11-NYPD cancer case, of firm’s client Eddie Maldando. (Click here to read story)
(Click this link to paper’s website)
March 2012- The New York State Court of Appeals, the highest court in the State, grants Chet Lukaszewski, PC’s motion for leave to appeal, and agrees to hear the 9/11 NYPD cancer case of the firm’s client, Police Officer Eddie Maldanado. Officer Maldanado felt a small bump in his thigh prior to 9/11 which he thought was a muscle injury or cramp of some type, as he was an athlete and beat cop. However he did not seek medical help as the World Trade Center attacks occurred. By early November, after working security at Ground Zero for over 30 days, Maldanado had a softball sized tumor in his thigh, and the cancer also metastasized to both bone and lung tissue. Officer Maldando’s oncologist said the tumor growth and cancer spread and progression was beyond extreme, and theorized that the toxins fueled the cancer. Maldanado thankfully lived after more than a year of chemotherapy and radiation, but the tumor removal resulted in his losing the majority of his upper leg. He applied for a World Trade Center(WTC) related, line of duty, Accident Disability Retirement pension from the NYPD’s Pension Fund, under the WTC Presumptive Law, which gives 9/11 first responders a presumption of “causation” with regard to the link between their disability and their WTC efforts and toxic exposures, if disabled by a recognized WTC qualifying condition. The New York legislature included cancer as a protected qualifying condition in the law. Also, the New York Courts have established that if a pre-existing condition is exacerbated to point disability by a line of duty injury, it is considered a line of duty disability for pension purposes; which is what occurred to Maldanado, with his 9/11 exposure injuries being the line of duty injury which exacerbated his pre-existing cancer condition to the point of disability, in causing such rapid growth, that it resulted in losing the use of his right leg; if not for 9/11, he would have sought help for the small lump and not been permanently disabled by the cancer. Maldanado was denied a WTC disability pension by the NYPD’s Pension Fund, based on Fund’s argument there was no “proof” offered that WTC toxins exacerbated his cancer, and thus while they found him to be disabled, they retired him on a non line of duty disability pension. The New York State Supreme Court, and then the Appellate Division First Department both affirmed the Pension Fund’s decision. Chet Lukaszewski argued to the Court of Appeals, that the WTC Law’s presumption of causation must be rebutted with “competent evidence”, and simply saying an applicant offered “no proof” of a causal connection between their WTC exposures and their disability, is not competent evidence sufficient to rebut the presumption; he also argued that the Law was enacted to protect first responders; also that if responders felt unprotected by the disability pension laws, it could have a chilling effect on their future efforts and willingness to endanger themselves in catastrophic situations, thereby putting the general public at risk. The case will be heard by the Court of Appeals this Summer.
February 2012 - Chet Lukaszewski was consulted by the New York Injured Workers’ Alliance (NYIWA) on potential changes to due process hearings in New York State Disability Retirement cases, based on his long history of successfully representing disability pension applicants in the various New York City Retirement Systems and Pension Funds, as well in the State’s Retirement System, and also at every level of the New York State Courts. Mr. Lukaszewski shared his disability pension expertise with the NYIWA in the hopes of bringing about meaningful reforms which will benefit injured workers.
December 2011 - Chet Lukaszewski, Esq., is recognized by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, along with a select group of New York attorneys, as a lawyer who has reputably and successfully advocated on behalf of victim’s of ‘September 11th’.
November 2011 - Settlement monies obtained for multiple plaintiffs in automobile case where injuries resulted in no time lost from work.
Wednesday July 27, 2011 - El Diario la Prensa the largest and oldest Spanish-language daily newspaper in New York City, and the oldest Spanish-language daily in the United States; publishes a story on the continued fight by Chet Lukaszewski, P.C., on behalf of client Jackie Fernandez, in seeking line of duty death benefits from the FDNY Pension Fund, following the Appellate Division Second Department ruling in March of 2011, which overturned the denial by Fund of Ms. Fernandez’s application for the same under the World Trade Center Law (which she submitted prior to hiring Chet lukaszewski, P.C.), in connection with the death of her husband, a FDNY Lieutenant who had run 9 marathons during his career, and spent hundreds of hours at the World Trade Center site, and retired in good health in 2002, but thereafter began to suffer various health issues, and eventually died in July 2006 at the age of 52, as a result of a complex cardiac event while playing in shallow water with his young nephew in full view of his family while on vacation, where Ms. Fernandez’s multiple medical experts found her husband to have died as a result of his toxic 9/11 exposures, as evidenced by coal dust found throughout his body during an autopsy, including his lungs, and other scientific indicators that demonstrated that his body, particularly his heart, had been weakened by the toxins, which lead to the cardiac event that caused his death. The Pension Fund found the death to simply be a drowning, and then in Court the Fund and City argued that even if the Lt. Fernandez was caused to drown by a cardiac event, it was a standard heart attack, with no WTC exposure connection. The Appellate Court remanded the case to the Pension Fund with strong instructions, but the Fund continues to withhold the pension sought, and Chet lukaszewski P.C. continues its efforts on Mrs. Fernandez behalf, with the hope of a successful outcome.
( click here for the full story )
March 2011 – The New York Law Journal, The New York Post and The Chief Leader, publish stories on the Appellate Division, Second Department, decision obtained by the Chet Lukaszewski overturned the denial by the FDNY Pension Fund of a petition for line of duty death benefits brought under the World Trade Center Law, which had been upheld by the lower Court, and remand the application for further consideration. The application was brought by the widow of an FDNY Lieutenant who had run 9 marathons during his career, and spent hundreds of hours at the World Trade Center site, and retired in good health in 2002, but thereafter began to suffer various health issues, and eventually died in July 2006 as a result of a complex cardiac event while playing in shallow water with his young nephew in full view of his family while on vacation; where the Pension Fund said the death had no connection to his WTC injuries and illness. The Court ordered that the Pension Fund Board of Trustees to send the case back to its Medical Board to specifically address medical evidence indicating that Mr. Fernandez's drowning was precipitated by his heart condition, which was the result of respiratory distress caused by responding to the 9/11 attacks.
(click here for full LAW JOURNAL story) (click here for full N.Y. POST story) (click here for full CHIEF LEADER story)
March 9, 2011 - Chet Lukaszewski appears on Good Day New York, on Fox 5, with client Jackie Kaht Fernandez, to discuss recent Appellate Division Second Department decision in favor of his client, who is the widow of an FDNY 9/11 first responder.
( click here for video and story )
(As publicized in NEW YORK LAW JOURNAL, as cover story, as well the NEW YORK POST and THE CHIEF LEADER)
APPELLATE DIVISION SECOND DEPARTMENT - March 2011 - The Appellate Division Second Department overturned the denial by the FDNY Pension Fund of a petition for line of duty death benefits brought under the World Trade Center Law, which had been upheld by the lower Court, and remand the application for further consideration. The application was brought by the widow of an FDNY Lieutenant who had run 9 marathons during his career, and spent hundreds of hours at the World Trade Center site, and retired in good health in 2002, but thereafter began to suffer various health issues, and eventually died in July 2006 as a result of a complex cardiac event while playing in shallow water with his young nephew in full view of his family while on vacation. Petitioner’s multiple medical experts found the decedent to have died as a result of his toxic 9/11 exposures, as evidenced by coal dust found throughout his body during an autopsy, including his lungs, and other scientific indicators that demonstrated that his body, particularly his heart, had been weakened by the toxins, which lead to the cardiac event that caused his death. The Pension Fund Medical Board found the death to simply be a drowning, which was adopted by the Fund’s Board of Trustees; and in Court the respondents argued that even if the petitioner was caused to drown by a cardiac event, it was a standard heart attack, with no WTC exposure connection. The petitioner argues the black coal dust in the decedent’s body and lungs, known as anthracosis (coal miners’ disease), which was the primary factor in his death, was both a “disease of the lower respiratory tract” as well as “heavy metal poisoning”, which are both “qualifying conditions” under the under the WTC Law, and thus the death was WTC related. The Court held in reversing the lower Court and the Fund: "Although the Board of Trustees [of the pension fund] is entitled to rely on the report and recommendation of the Medical Board, the proceedings should disclose the reason for the denial, and the determination must be set forth in such manner as to permit adequate judicial review… Under the circumstances of this case, the explanation by the Medical Board was insufficient." The Court ordered that the Pension Fund Trustees to send the case back to its Medical Board to specifically address medical evidence indicating that Mr. Fernandez's drowning was precipitated by his heart condition, which was the result of respiratory distress caused by responding to the 9/11 attacks.
( click here for full LAW JOURNAL story ) ( click here for full N.Y. POST story ) ( click here for full CHIEF LEADER story )
December 20, 2010 – The Chief Leader newspaper publishes ‘Letter to Editor' by Chet Lukaszewski, under heading: End Politics Over Zadroga.
The following is a letter that was sent to select U.S. Senators by my law firm at the urging of the Feal Good Foundation, which it is believed could potentially break the Republican filibuster which is currently preventing the James Zadroga Bill from becoming law. I encourage all to reach out to the Foundation for the list of Senators who could be swing votes in this critical and monumental piece of legislation.
( Click here to view Letter ) ( Click this link to paper’s website )
December 6, 2010 – The Chief Leader newspaper publishes story ‘Court Tells Police Board Must review Pension Plea Based on Mental Condition’, which reports on the Chet Lukaszewski, P.C., case Rosenthal v. Kelly; where the Supreme Court, New York County, vacated the Accident Disability Retirement (“ADR”) pension denial, and award of a lesser Ordinary Disability Retirement (“ODR”) pension, by the NYPD Pension Fund. The case involved a former NYPD police officer who had presented extensive evidence of a causal link between her line of duty injury(s) and orthopedic conditions, and the development of a psychological condition known as Somatization Disorder. The article discusses the fact that the petitioner applied for a disability pension for her physical injuries, and it was the Pension Fund’s Medical Board who diagnosed Somatization Disorder; but did in fact feel it was linked to her line of duty injury(s), and thus she was entitled to a ‘three-quarter’ ADR pension. However the Pension Fund’s Board of Trustees refused to accept their own Medical Board’s multiple detailed explanations, and denied ADR and instead retired the petitioner on ODR. The Court found that the Board of Trustee had acted improperly and remanded the case for further consideration in keeping with the strongly worded decision.
( Click here to view Article ) ( Click this link to paper’s website )
August 17, 2010 – The Chief Leader newspaper publishes story Appellate Ruling Reins In Medical Boards’ Powers , which reports on the Chet Lukaszewski, P.C., case Kiess v. Kelly; where the Appellate Division First Department reversed the decision of the Supreme Court, New York County, which upheld a disability pension denial in the case of a former NYPD police officer who had presented extensive evidence of severe line of duty related spinal injuries. The article discusses the magnitude and potential positive effects the decision will have for disability pension applicants; quoting several experienced pension attorneys who praise Chet Lukaszewski for obtaining the ruling.
( click here for full story; or click this link to paper’s website )
On March 25, 2010, The New York Law Journal , published, as a ‘Decision of Interest', Chet Lukaszewski P.C.'s favorable judgment in the matter St Louis v. New York City Employees' Retirement System , Index No. 104060/09; where the Kings County Supreme Court found the New York City Employees' Retirement System (NYCERS) acted in a legally deficient manner in denying the disability pension application of a New York City Staff Nurse. In the case Justice Arthur Schack held that it was clear that the NYCERS' Medical Board had dismissed findings of its own physicians and an independent physician, as well as ignored medical proof of disability which was submitted by the petitioner. The Court held that the Board of Trustees adopted a Medical Board recommendation which was not supported by credible evidence. The Court annulled the denial and remanded the application to the Retirement System for a new evaluation and new report by the Medical Board with regards to petitioner's numerous debilitating conditions. In its decision the Court emphasized that the denial lacked a rational basis and the Medical Board put forth a bald and conclusory explanation for its findings which failed to substantiate that the petitioner was not disabled from performing the duties of a City Nurse.
|October 2009 - Firm disability pension client Harold Hoover, featured in NY Daily News article on October 7, 2009, which focused on the injuries incurred by EMS workers as the result of being improperly forced by the FDNY to wear a new heavy duty work boot at all times. As article notes, the firm is currently litigating the decision by the New York City Employees' Retirement System, denying Mr. Hoover a line of duty disability pension for the cracked bone and torn tendons in his foot, that he suffered just months after being forced to wear the boots, which he complained of from the first day on; injuries his doctors say were unquestionably caused by the boots. NYCERS claims Mr. Hoover's injuries were the result of his diabetes, which he'd been diagnosed with the first year he was an EMT, and had not affected his ability to work during his 19 year career. The case is set for argument in November 2009.
June 2, 2009 – The Chief Leader newspaper publishes story on lawsuit filed by Chet Lukaszewski, P.C., relating to his client Police Officer Patrick Triola, and several other NYPD clients of the firm, who are all being denied line of duty disability pensions for a variety of World Trade Center related ailments, while being found disabled by sleep apnea, which the Police Pension Fund claims has no connection to ‘9/11’, despite medical evidence to the contrary and a number of cases which seem to demonstrate a clear link. (click photo for full story; or click this link to paper’s website )
May 2009 - Settlement reached in personal injury suit versus popular Long Island bar/restaurant, where plaintiff was assaulted by group of four patrons in front of premises, where security staff had ejected patron by holding his arms behind his back, while simultaneously escorting a group of four men whom had confronted plaintiff inside the premises, out the front entrance, wherein plaintiff was attacked by the four the moment he was released from the grasp of the security personnel, resulting in a broken leg and jaw.
March 31, 2009 - Chet Lukaszewski is successful in first Article 78 Petition commenced by and litigated via Chet Lukaszewski PC. Case involves NYPD officer denied a line of duty disability pension for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (For additional case details, see Pension Litigation page. As explained therein, gap in Mr. Lukaszewski’s litigation history created by formation of own firm.)