For more than 34 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, products liability, construction accidents, vehicle accidents, and premises liability. He has also very successfully brought civil rights, constitutional rights, defamation, commercial fraud, financial malfeasance, business torts, employment contract, and life insurance cases, as well as Article 78 proceedings. 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 of the representation he will give them. The complexity of the cases requires someone of Joe’s ability and talent to discover what happened to cause these disastrous injuries and harm to patients.
Examples of these cases include the following:
- 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 multi-million 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 and post-surgical care could go awry from inattention to changes in laboratory tests and vital signs.
- Joe’s representation of an L.I. surgeon who sustained a disabling arm injury due to nerve damage by a hand surgeon at a major NYC hospital resulted in a seven-figure award at trial in 2009.
- In 2012, Joe also recovered a seven-figure award to the family of a man whose erroneous cancer diagnosis caused him to be unnecessarily treated with radiation and chemotherapy. 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 this harmful course of treatment.
- In 2015, Joe obtained a multi-million 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’s unnoticed damage to an artery caused post-operative bleeding that resulted in “compartment syndrome” to the leg that shut down circulation. Joe also showed how doctors failed to timely recognize the compartment syndrome on CT scans resulting in the onset of irreversible damage to the leg necessitating the amputation.
- 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 2016, Joe represented former employees of a financial data services firm in a fraud case against their ex-employer, a financial data services company, who had fleeced them out of the commissions and bonuses due on their employment contracts. Joe proved that the employees were defrauded by the CEO and CFO who were falsifying financial records as a part of a scheme to inflate operating revenue for potential investors. Joe recovered the entire amount due to his clients in commissions and bonuses, 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. 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 recovered a high six-figure award in 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.
- In 2019, Joe recovered a substantial multi-million dollar award for a little girl in Connecticut who was profoundly brain damaged as a result of excessive Pitocin use to augment contractions during labor and delivery. This was another case that 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 the 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, nurses, and hospital 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”.
Dirty Thirty” Police Corruption Cases
Joe is not only well known as a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer. Joe also served as plaintiffs’ counsel in federal cases emanating from the “Dirty Thirty” police corruption scandal during the 1990s in New York. 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 to the young men.
During the “Dirty Thirty” police corruption cases, Joe helped prove the innocence of these young men while recovering significant damages to help compensate 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 also successfully argued that the corrupt practices by police violated his clients’ constitutional rights under the 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments; a federal judge’s landmark ruling in these cases held NYC responsible for the violations of the constitutional rights.
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 plaintiff’s attorney. The cases were among the earliest arguments in the courts of New York that the criminal justice system was systematically biased on the basis of race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, and socioeconomic class. The “Dirty Thirty” and “bus drivers’ racial profiling” cases were the prototype forerunner of the present day controversy about the excessive police force and illegitimate official violence 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 for 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
- New Jersey
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut