Garfunkel Wild Wins Complete Defense Verdict For NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn In  Discrimination Lawsuit

September 4, 2019, 2019, Great Neck, NY — Law firm Garfunkel Wild successfully defended NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn against disability discrimination claims brought by four Hospital patients. After a two-week trial before Senior Judge Edward R. Korman in the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, a 10-person jury returned a unanimous defense verdict on August 23, finding that the Hospital did not discriminate against the four patients on account of their deafness.

The plaintiffs’ claims – which covered the time period 2012-16, when the hospital was known as Lutheran Medical Center – contended that NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn discriminated against them by failing to provide them with qualified interpreting services to enable them to effectively communicate with Hospital staff about their medical condition. Plaintiffs sought compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, and attorney’s fees under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law.

The jury rejected all of plaintiffs’ claims in their entirety, finding that NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn effectively communicated with the four patients about their medical treatment through a combination of video remote interpreting services, in-person sign language interpreters, lip reading, and writing.

Garfunkel’s litigation team was led by Roy Breitenbach, Garfunkel Wild’s Co-Chair of the Litigation Department and included Associates Marc Sittenreich and Nick Summo.

“This is an important decision for hospitals in New York and elsewhere,” said Roy Breitenbach. “It recognizes the significant efforts that NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn has made to effectively communicate with patients who are deaf, including providing in-person sign language interpreters, thousands of hours of video remote interpreting services, and other communication aids and accommodations.”

About Garfunkel Wild

Garfunkel Wild serves the diverse legal needs of the health care industry. For nearly 40 years, GW has represented hospitals, health systems, physicians, long term care facilities and many others in the areas of transactions, finance, litigation, information technology, managed care, credentialing, regulatory, employment law, professional licensing, compliance, real estate, bankruptcy, and trusts and estates.

GW has over 85 attorneys and maintains offices in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The firm’s healthcare practice and lawyers are ranked in Chambers USA. For more information, visit


On October 23, 2019, the Stop Hacks and Improve Electric Data Security (“SHIELD”) Act goes into effect and significantly modifies the existing New York State breach notification requirements, including the addition of new requirements for covered entities (e.g., all health care providers and health plans) to report HIPAA breaches to the New York State Attorney General, as well as the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”).   Other significant provisions of the SHIELD Act include the following:

  • The definition of “private information,” which triggers notification and reporting obligations, is expanded to include, among other things, credit/debit card numbers (even if a password is not involved); biometric information and email addresses in conjunction with passwords.
  • There is additional information required to be included in breach notification letters (i.e., notification information for state agencies).
  • A new exception allows entities to avoid certain of the notification and reporting obligations if they can document that a potential breach was an inadvertent disclosure and it is unlikely that individuals will be harmed.
  • Entities not already subject to information security laws (e.g., HIPAA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) are required to implement information security programs.
  • At the very least, the SHIELD Act will require New York entities to: (1) evaluate their security incident response protocols to include the new requirements; (2) implement information security programs if they are not already subject to information security laws; and (3) report HIPAA breaches (even if no “private information” is involved) to the New York State Attorney General within five (5) days of making a report to the OCR.

Click Here to download the Legal Alert.

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If you have any questions about this alert, please contact a member of our Health Care Practice Group or the Garfunkel Wild attorney with whom you regularly work.


Garfunkel Wild Introduces Complimentary Webinar Series “Successfully Navigating Legal Challenges in Nursing Facilities”

Operating a nursing facility in the United States, including in New York, has become quite challenging. If not handled correctly, nursing facilities, their residents, staff and operators face substantial exposure, including risks to health and safety, civil liability and potential criminal exposure. We will provide listeners with practical advice to successfully address common challenges and avoid adverse consequences.

First Webinar:

Fraud and Abuse – Lessons from Esformes Case

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

Speaker: John Martin

In 2006, Philip Esformes was required to pay a $15.4 million settlement to the government, but by 2016 Esformes’s businesses were booming again. He owned 30 Miami-area skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, flew in a private jet, and was worth tens of millions of dollars. But on July 22, 2018, Esformes was jailed, held without bail, and eventually convicted of multiple felony charges, and ordered to forfeit much of his wealth. He now faces a likely sentence that will jail him for decades. This Webinar will look at the Esformes case to see if there are any lessons that can be taken from the historic downfall of a nursing home empire. We will review the conduct that led to Esformes’ conviction, the failure of his defense, and the crimes of conviction.

After completing the program participants will know:

  • What the biggest threats from government prosecutors are to nursing home operators
  • What attracts government attention to nursing homes
  • What nursing homes and their owners can do to avoid being the next Phillip Esformes

Click Here to View Webinar


2019 ASC and Healthcare Management Pre-Symposium Webinar: Resolving Payer Obstacles

Thursday, August 8, 2019
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT

Speakers:  Garfunkel Wild Partner-Directors Debra A. Silverman and Roy W. Breitenbach, Grassi Healthcare Advisors, LLC Senior Manager Alicia Shickle

Garfunkel Wild Partner-Directors Debra A. Silverman and Roy W. Breitenbach will be joined by Grassi Healthcare Advisors, LLC Senior Manager Alicia Shickle to present a complimentary webinar entitled “Resolving Payer Obstacles,” Thursday, August 8, 2019 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM EDT. Providers are finding it increasingly difficult to administer and maximize the reimbursement available through their payer contracts. This webinar will discuss practical tools and strategies that providers can adopt to best overcome these obstacles.

Click Here To View Webinar



Garfunkel Wild’s Legal Alert “DOH Revised ASC Policies” was referenced in the Becker’s ASC Review article “New York imposes stricter policies for freestanding ASC developments — 5 things to know.”

Becker’s ASC’s July 24, 2019 article lists the five things to know regarding the New York State Department of Health (“DOH”) revised ambulatory surgery center (“ASC”) Certificate of Need Policy requiring a closer review of the financial impact that a new freestanding ASC can have on the continued availability of essential community health care services in rural areas.

Click Here to read the Becker’s ASC Review article.

Click Here to read Garfunkel Wild’s Legal Alert.

About Garfunkel Wild

Garfunkel Wild was founded almost 40 years ago with a single purpose in mind – attend to the specific business and legal needs of our clients in the health care industry. With nearly 80 attorneys representing more than 60 hospitals plus health care systems and other health care facilities, organizations and practitioners, Garfunkel Wild has kept this focus. The firm has offices in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. For more information, visit