For more than 35 years, Joseph Lanni has represented plaintiffs in complex tort cases.
Joe is one of the firm’s senior trial lawyers. He handles the most shocking and difficult of the catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases involving medical malpractice, product liability, constructon accidents, vehicle accidents, and premises liability. He has also very successfully brought civil rights, constitutional rights, defamation, commercial fraud, employment contract, and life insurance cases. He has recovered monetary damages exceeding a million dollars in countless cases during his very long career.
Joe’s expertise in recognizing crucial evidence and value in complex tort cases that result in substantial success is well known. Other lawyers often send the clients in these cases to Joe since they are assured about the high-quality representation he will give them. The complexity of the cases requires someone of Joe’s ability and talent to bring them to a successful resolution.
Examples Of These Cases Include The Following:
- In 2019, Joe represented the relators in a “Whistleblower” Qui Tam case under the U.S. False Claims Act brought against a major New York health system. The case involved violations of the Medicare laws related to the health system’s improper billing for concurrent surgeries performed by improperly supervised residents. The case filed by Joe was joined by the U.S. Attorneys’ Office, Southern District of New York. The federal government intervened in the case on the side of the relators. Joe led a team of attorneys that included Ed Hynes, Jaehyun Oh, Alan Fuchsberg, and Brad Zimmerman to work the case. Joe’s team worked collaboratively with the U.S. Attorneys’ Office to expose unsafe medical practices that disregarded patients’ rights. The case resulted in a $12.3 million dollar recovery against the defendant’s health care system that was reported in major media outlets.
- Also in 2019, Joe recovered a multimillion-dollar award for a businesswoman who sustained life-threatening injuries in a high-speed crossover van-limousine accident. The defendant’s van crossed the double yellow line on a four-lane roadway and crashed into the private limousine that was taking the client to a business meeting. In this case, Joe showed that data extracted from the van’s computer system proved that it was recklessly traveling at 40 mph above the speed limit when the driver lost control. Based on Joe’s evidence, the court ruled that punitive damages could be awarded by the jury. The client was hospitalized for 5 months and underwent multiple surgeries to save her life.
- In 2019, Joe recovered a substantial multimillion-dollar award for a little girl in Connecticut who was profoundly brain damaged as a result of excessive Pitocin administered during labor and delivery. This case had been rejected by other law firms as too difficult and risky to take on. Joe couldn’t let this little girl and her mother go unrepresented. He strongly believed that errors and neglect resulted in a catastrophic outcome for this child and took on the case. After the firm spent more than $100,000 to press forward with the case, Joe exposed the errors committed by the obstetrician, residents, and nurses during the labor and delivery that had been covered up. He showed that only excessive Pitocin infusion could be the reason why this child was born with hypoxic-ischemic brain damage and intracranial bleeding that caused catastrophic neurological injuries and lifetime disabilities. At the end of the case, one of the defendants’ lawyers remarked that the child’s mother “was fortunate to have Joe represent her little girl”.
- In 2015, Joe obtained a multimillion-dollar award for a 59-year-old Westchester man who sustained an above-the-knee amputation due to errors during and after knee replacement surgery. In this case, Joe showed how the orthopedic surgeon failed to notice damage to an artery during the surgery. The ensuing postoperative bleeding resulted in “compartment syndrome” that shut down circulation to the leg. Joe also showed how doctors failed to timely recognize the compartment syndrome resulting in gangrene and the necessity to amputate the leg.
- Also in 2015, Joe recovered a substantial seven-figure award for a doctor who sustained a serious spinal injury in a motor vehicle accident. The accident was a hit and run by a corporate CEO who was driving under the influence of narcotic pain medication. Joe’s investigation identified the defendant and discovered that he was driving while impaired by opioids at the time of the accident.
- In 2006, Joe’s representation of the family of a 53-year-old man who sustained hypoxic brain damage during orthopedic surgery to repair a broken leg resulted in a multimillion-dollar recovery. The case was featured in newspapers nationwide under the title “From a Broken Leg to a Vegetative State”. In that case, Joe showed how routine surgical care could go awry from the inattention of doctors and nurses to changes in laboratory tests and vital signs.
- In 2012, Joe also recovered a seven-figure award for the family of a man whose erroneous cancer diagnosis caused him to be unnecessarily treated with radiation and chemotherapy. The unnecessary cancer treatment resulted in serious complications that were ultimately fatal. Joe showed that a series of careless miscommunications between doctors and hospital departments resulted in the disastrous decision to proceed with the harmful treatment.
- Joe’s representation of an L.I. a surgeon who sustained a disabling arm injury during surgery at a major NYC hospital resulted in a seven-figure award in 2009.
- In 2020, Joe recovered a seven-figure award against a major New York hospital for the wrongful death of a 42-year-old Bronx man. Joe focused on crucial medical evidence, including the diagnostic imaging studies and forensic pathologist’s autopsy findings, to prove that the man died from the doctors’ failure to recognize and treat blood clots in the lungs.
- In 2016, Joe represented former mid-level executives of a financial data services firm in a fraud case against their ex-employer who had fleeced them out of the bonuses and commissions owed to them under their employment contracts. Joe proved that the former employees were defrauded by the CEO and CFO who were falsifying financial records in a scheme to attract potential investors by falsely inflating operating revenue. Joe recovered the entire amount due to his clients in bonuses and commissions, 17% interest, and legal fees and costs in less than five months.
- Joe’s representation in a birth injury case in Connecticut resulted in a substantial award for a 4-year-old girl in 2017. In that case, Joe proved that the obstetrician used excessive traction on the baby’s head during delivery causing a severe brachial plexus injury that partially paralyzed the child’s arm. The case had been previously rejected as too difficult by another plaintiff’s firm before the girl’s parents called Joe and retained him to represent their daughter.
- In 2018, Joe won a legal malpractice case in New Jersey for a 41-year-old Jersey City mother of four children whose attorneys had failed to properly handle a personal injury case.
The “Dirty Thirty” Police Corruption Cases
Joe is not only well known as a plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyer. Joe also served as plaintiffs’ counsel in federal cases emanating from the “Dirty Thirty” police corruption scandal in New York during the 1990s. Joe represented young men from Harlem, Washington Heights, and the South Bronx who had been wrongfully convicted and imprisoned based on the perjury and falsified evidence of corrupt NYPD officers. Each case resulted in substantial pre-trial seven-figure settlements for the young men.
During the “Dirty Thirty” police corruption cases, Joe recovered significant damage awards for these innocent young men to help compensate them for the youth they had lost in prison. Joe’s intensive investigation revealed numerous corrupt practices by the dishonest NYPD cops such as forcible entries into apartments without a warrant, illegal searches and arrests, the planting of drugs and guns as evidence, and secret agreements between officers to give perjured testimony before grand juries and at trial. The corrupt police practices caused the wrongful convictions of these innocent citizens. Joe fought to prove that innocent young men from our most marginalized communities had been victimized by the very officers who swore to protect and serve the public and follow the law. Joe successfully argued in these cases that the corrupt practices by the police violated his clients’ constitutional rights under the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments. A federal judge’s landmark ruling in these cases held NYC legally responsible for the constitutional rights violations by the rogue cops.
In another federal case in 1997, Joe’s trial work on behalf of two African-American bus drivers for constitutional rights violations due to false arrests resulted in the jury returning large damage awards for both men. This case was one of the first “police racial-profiling” cases in the nation.
The “Dirty Thirty” and “bus drivers’ racial profiling” cases were the subjects of newspaper articles referencing Joe’s work as the plaintiffs’ attorney. The cases were among the earliest arguments in the courts of New York that law enforcement and the criminal justice system was systemically racist and also discriminated on the basis of ethnicity and socioeconomic class. The “Dirty Thirty” and “bus drivers’ racial profiling” cases were prototype forerunners of the present-day controversy about excessive force, corrupt practices and constitutional violations directed against young men of color in America.
In 2008 – 2009, Joe represented two women federal probation officers in misconduct hearings in the US courts. The women were unfairly charged with violations of professional conduct rules by male supervisors who resented their demands to be treated fairly and equally to their male counterparts. Joe argued that the misconduct charges against the women were unjustifiable retaliation in response to their demands for equal treatment. Federal judges ruled that the women officers were to be reinstated to their jobs.
Aside from trial work, Joe is also an accomplished appellate lawyer. He has obtained landmark decisions against insurance companies and hospitals that broadened the admissibility of expert opinion testimony based on peer-reviewed scientific literature and held attending physicians legally responsible for the negligence of physicians’ assistants under their supervision.
- Rutgers University School of Law, Newark, New Jersey (J.D., 1985)
- Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey (B.A., 1982)
- New York, 1986
- New Jersey, 1986
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey