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How Celebrities Win and Lose at Divorce

For regular folks, divorce is mostly won or lost in the courtroom, or in legal proceedings. But for celebrities, it’s a completely different playing field. As some of the high-profile divorce cases from 2015 demonstrate, it can be mostly about perceived image, and it can appear to be highly orchestrated.

Take the case of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. Though both parties repeatedly claimed that they had nothing to report and supposedly asked reporters to “respect their privacy,” they routinely appeared in public with their children in situations where they knew they would get press coverage. In fact, inside sources say that they intentionally collaborated with gossip magazine sources. Most believe that People Magazine intentionally downplayed early signs of trouble in exchange for the exclusive right to be the first to go public with the news.

With the divorce of country music stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, both had press agents who continually released information to various rumor mills, alleging infidelity by the other party. The intensity of the rumors forced Lambert’s bandmate, Chris Young, to make a public statement denying any relationship with the singer. Rumors then started, presumably fed by press agents for Lambert, that Shelton was “seeing” The Voice co-star Gwen Stefani. What better way to increase viewership at the beginning of a new season, according to many.

Even as the hubbub subsided, Shelton and Stefani added fuel to the fire by having their picture taken holding hands at a CMA Awards party. Just minutes before the CMA Awards program began, the two (Shelton and Stefani) had their press agents announce that they were dating. Since then, the two have been splashed across the gossip magazines, which insiders say is strictly for the purpose of showing that Shelton came out of the breakup on top, and that Lambert was left holding the bag.

Contact an Experienced New York Divorce and Family Law Attorney

At the law office of Chris Palermo, Esq., we bring more than 13 years of experience to men and women in divorce and family law matters, representing clients across Long Island. To learn more about our practice, see our divorce and family law page. For an appointment, send us an e-mail or call us toll free at 1-800-483-1527. We have offices located in Huntington, Hauppauge, Garden City, Babylon and New York City.


Entertaining in the home is a fun and meaningful part of our culture. From the backyard BBQ to the elegant affair and everything in between, anytime you invite guests to your home, you also invite a potential lawsuit.  So if you like to entertain, make sure you take some precautions. Before sending out that Evite, it’s important to understand what dangers may exist in your home and how to protect yourself and others from potential hazards.

First, correct any dangerous conditions that may be present in your home or on your property, such as a loose railing or missing walkway stone.  While you may be familiar with these issues and know to avoid them, a guest won’t be. Nothing puts a damper on your festivities like a trip to the ER!

If you have a dog, or other pet, it’s best to keep it separated from your guests.  Even the gentlest of pets will sometimes react unexpectedly during a party. Animals may not be used to all the people and noise and may act territorially. Further, a dog that is completely fine with adults may get nervous around children if not used to them, and vice versa. Some children, and even adults, do not know how to interact with pets and can spook your beloved animal, causing a bite. For the safety of all involved, it’s best to keep animals out of the mix.

Bounce houses can be a great way to entertain the kiddies, but should be used cautiously. If you rent a bounce house for your child’s party, make sure it is properly secured to the ground and always supervised during use. Stick to the vendor or manufacturer’s guidelines for the number of children allowed on it at a time. It may also be wise to separate larger children from smaller ones during use as well, in order to prevent the little ones from being trampled. Finally, before renting the equipment, make sure the vendor has insurance.

Likewise, trampolines can present a danger of injury. Children should always be supervised. Never allow multiple children on the equipment at once, as this is a significant hazard.

Pool parties are always a blast, but to give you peace of mind, it’s good idea to hire a certified lifeguard to watch the pool at all times. During the hustle and bustle of a party, a child can drown in seconds.  It’s best to always have someone you can count on paying attention to the pool. And if you have a waterslide, have someone there to regulate that children take turns and use the equipment safely.

Lastly, it you’re serving alcohol at your party, please be aware of how much your guests are drinking.  You may not know that in many jurisdictions, serving excessive amounts of alcohol to a guest may make you liable for their actions even after they leave your property.  If you see someone consuming too much alcohol, make sure you cut them off.

Even if one takes every precaution before inviting people into their home, understand that there is always a risk that someone may get injured at your party.  It is important to protect your interests by having the proper insurance. And if someone does get hurt, even if it is due to no fault of your own, notify your insurance carrier immediately.  Many policies require notice as soon as possible or the insurance contract is void.

Party smart!

Most successful businesses know how to treat their faithful customers.  A good restaurant owner will treat regulars with a complimentary drink or appetizer. Department stores send out coupons to returning customers. Supermarkets offer customer loyalty cards and often the more you spend, the more you are rewarded in savings. Even car dealers offer discounts to repeat buyers.

It stands to reason that insurance companies would offer some type of loyalty discounts to their customers as well. After all, many keep using the same company for their home and/or auto insurance for years and years. You would think these dutiful customers would be rewarded for their loyalty.

It just so happens that the opposite is true!

A few years ago, I was looking at my bills and noticed how expensive my insurance rates were.  I remembered that when I first purchased the policy from my carrier in 2003, my rates were very reasonable, and competitive for the time.  My rates had steadily increased after years of accident-free driving.  I always assumed that it was due to inflation and the increased operational costs of the insurance company being passed on to me.

Last year, I finally decided to shop around for a new insurance company.  I was amazed when a reputable company offered me a policy of equal coverage at a rate that was half of what I was paying with my old company – the one I had been loyal to for ten years. While I was thrilled to get such a great rate, I wanted to know why my prior company was charging me so much, why my rate was no longer competitive.  As I mentioned I am a safe driver, and never even so much as had a traffic ticket.  So I did a little research and was shocked at what I discovered.

It turns out most large insurance companies employ a tactic known as price optimization.  Insurance companies have learned through research that most consumers will accept a modest yearly price increase without balking.  This means that year after year, a carrier will raise the rates of its existing customers slightly for know other reason then that they can get away with it.

These modest increases can really add up over time.  If you’ve been using the same insurance carrier for several years, you may be paying substantially more for your insurance then a new client of that same company.

It’s unfortunate that in today’s busy world we always have to be shopping around for the best price on our insurance. With their commercials and slogans, insurance companies would have you believe that they’ve got your back, but when it comes to money, they’re apparently out there trying to figure out how to get more of yours.

Most of us are already aware of credit card companies and banks adding unnecessary fees.  Now we can add insurance companies to the list of disreputable corporations.

The moral of the story is that you should never get complacent with your insurance carrier.  If you do, it will cost you.  The good news is that there is a whole market out there and lots of competition between insurance carriers for your business.  Price shopping insurance rates will most often save you money.

Announcing the Launch of the Palermo Tuohy Bruno, P.L.L.C. Website

Palermo Tuohy Bruno, P.L.L.C. welcomes you to the launching of our website and hopes you find our personal injury information useful.

The most vital aspect of our work is helping people suffering from injury change their lives. Serious injuries devastate victims financially, physically and often emotionally ─ especially through lifelong disabilities, colossal medical bills and lost future income capacity. Wrongful death cases are some of the most tragic, and we have great compassion for family members who lose their loved ones. While sensitive to their needs, our attorneys build strong cases and aggressively pursue favorable outcomes through verdicts or settlements.

Working diligently, being passionate about what you do and acquiring a high level of competence lay the groundwork for success. We are proud to say these are all qualities our talented lawyers at Palermo Tuohy Bruno, P.L.L.C. possess. Our firm concentrates on personal injury cases and through dedicated efforts, our individual attorneys have acquired prestigious acknowledgements, such as selection into Top 100 Trial Lawyers and Membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Some of our cases have gained high profiles in the media. Whatever the case, the common denominator of our success is our shared goals to see justice served and maximize our clients’ recoveries so they can deal with the hardships of serious personal injury.

When someone else caused your injury, find out how our lawyers at Palermo Tuohy Bruno, P.L.L.C. can help. We offer a free, no obligation consultation. You owe no fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf through settlement or verdict and our fee is a percentage of the recovery. Call our toll free number at (800) 483-1527 or contact us online to arrange an appointment.

The recent warm weather makes me realize how rapidly summer is approaching. It’s time to dust off those BBQ’s and open the pools.

Millions of people enjoy swimming in pools each summer in the United States. Unfortunately, on average two hundred people die each year in swimming pool related accidents.

Personally, I have represented the family of a young child that drowned in a neighbor’s swimming pool. The devastation that this child’s family felt is unimaginable. Adding to the family’s grief was the fact that their son’s death was completely avoidable. There are simple solutions to keep children safe while enjoying swimming pools. Here are five safety measures that every pool owner should consider:

– Make sure that your pool is completely enclosed with a fence, even if your town does not require it. While most townships call for a person’s property to be fenced when there is a pool in the yard, they don’t all require an additional fence around the pool. Fencing the pool area provides an extra layer of security and safety. Make sure there are no gaps in the fencing, and the gates to the pool should be self-closing and lock.

– While swimming, make sure you keep everyone in your pool under active supervision. Did you know that it is common for drowning deaths to occur while parents are actually with their children at the pool. It is not enough to be there. Failure to keep a watchful eye on your children while they are swimming can have disastrous consequences. Bear in mind that it may only take a few seconds for a drowning death to occur. This is especially true at parties or summer BBQ’s where there can be many distractions. Always keep your eyes on your pool.

– Make sure everyone in your family, including caregivers, knows how to swim. It’s never too early to teach your children how to swim and to understand the dangers of water. The sooner your child learns to swim, the safer he or she will be around water.

– Have appropriate safety equipment at your pool, including flotation devices. A course in CPR is a good idea for parents. In addition, make sure that your pool water is clear and clean while open, and properly covered in winter. Murky water can be difficult to navigate should someone accidentally fall into a dirty pool.

– Explain the dangers of the swimming pool to your children. Make it clear that they are not allowed into the pool area without supervision. Establish strict rules for the use of the pool, such as no running near the pool and no diving in shallow areas.

You may read this and think that all of the above tips are obvious. The sheer number of drowning incidents that occur in the home each year would suggest that it couldn’t hurt to think a little more about pool safety. Wishing all a happy and safe summer!


When I first went into the practice of Personal Injury Law, I experienced my fair share of ribbing. I used to dread that moment at a party when I was asked, “So what do you do?” Inevitably, someone would laugh and say, “Oh. You’re an ambulance chaser…hahaha.” Even if they didn’t say it, I could see from their expression that they were thinking it.

Who could blame them for their perceptions of what I do? We’re bombarded by TV commercials of lawyers promising to get people lots of money if they’ve suffered an injury. Some of them are indeed shameless. In a business where monetary gain is based on the severity of a person’s injury, it’s easy to see why there is such a negative perception of personal injury lawyers.

But the truth is, we’re not all bad. After practicing Personal Injury law for about twenty years, I’ve come to realize that this world would be a different place if it weren’t for the work that we do. Personal Injury Law makes the world a safer place for people. Someone who has never had to make a personal injury claim may take for granted the benefits that come from making people accountable for the safety of their fellow citizens.

Do you really think that General Motors, Ford and Chrysler have produced safer cars over the last several decades because they care about people? Or is it that they know they stand to lose money in a lawsuit if they don’t?

And do the makers of consumer products make consumer safety a primary concern because they are nice? The number of past lawsuits involving unsafe products would suggest otherwise.

Most people take for granted that the food they eat, the medicine they take and the cosmetics they use, will be safe. Products are tried and tested before they hit the shelves, right? Why? Because companies know that there is a great deal of financial risk if their products harm the public.

Of course the government enforces consumer safety, but did you know that the government penalties for unsafe products are minor compared to the profits these companies make? Government penalties are written off as “the cost of doing business.”

However, being sued in a class action lawsuit is a different story for these companies. In a lawsuit, they stand to lose a great deal of money for creating dangerous products.

And parents, what about our playgrounds? As a child growing up, I remember rusty slides and worn out swings being the norm. Today, you would be hard pressed to find a dangerous piece of playground equipment at a school or otherwise. Certainly, personal injury lawsuits have helped to enforce that public playgrounds are maintained to ensure a safer environment for our children.

When someone has been seriously injured in an automobile or work accident and can no longer earn a living because of another person’s negligence, do you really trust insurance companies to do the right thing? After dealing with this type of thing for so long, I can say, without a doubt, the answer is no. When someone makes a claim, insurance companies may start off dealing with him or her in a friendly manner, but when it comes to actually paying the claim, they always look to pay the least amount they possibly can, whether it is for medical bills or a financial settlement. They employ people to go over every claim with a fine-tooth comb and root out different ways to deny it. That’s where we come in. A personal injury attorney has the tools to make insurance companies accountable.

Now when I’m at a party, I look forward to the question, “So, what do you do?” Why? Because I can say proudly that I help make the world a safer place!


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Did you know there are simple steps you can take immediately following an accident that will ensure you are best protected if you find yourself in such a situation?

– Make sure that you and your passengers are ok. This is the single most important step that you can take. Communication is key. If anyone is injured (or in shock), you should call 911 immediately for medical assistance.

– Activate your hazard lights and, if possible, move your vehicle to a safe location. Often following an accident your vehicle is left vulnerable. It is dangerous to be stopped in the middle of a roadway with vehicles moving around you. You are at risk for further damage from another unsuspecting vehicle. I have represented many people injured in “double car accidents.” If you are able to do so, you should move your vehicle to a shoulder or parking lot.

– If you have not already done so, call the police for assistance. This should be done in every situation. Do not be tempted to forgo calling the police even if the other driver objects or offers to pay for the damage to your vehicle. It is important to document the accident with the police as soon as possible. Make sure that you get a field report from the police officer before leaving the scene of the accident. People tend to change their stories after the fact. It is good to get it straight right from the beginning.

– If possible, gather the names of any eyewitnesses. Don’t rely on the police to do this. While the police often do get the names of the witnesses, I have certainly seen situations where the police have failed to do so. Once the witness leaves the seen without giving their information they are usually lost forever.

– It is also a good idea to take photographs of the damage to the vehicles and the scene of the accident. Documenting these things can often corroborate your version of the events should a dispute arise.

A Final Word –

Following a motor vehicle accident, many people with minor injuries often refuse medical assistance. This is never a good idea. Injuries tend to get worse as time passes and the initial shock of the accident wears off. Get checked out by a healthcare professional, even if you think that it’s, “Just sore.” It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Anyone with young children understands this scenario; your child is invited to a birthday party at a trampoline park or a bounce place. You arrive to hundreds of screaming kids running around having the times of their lives. Your child is dying to get involved in the action. But, before he or she is allowed to enter, a liability waiver is thrust into your face for signature. What do you do? You certainly don’t have time to read the fine print to see if the waiver is acceptable. Nor do you have time to inspect the facility to see if it’s being run properly. Furthermore, your child is not about to let you leave the place without having the meltdown of the century. Not to mention, the parents of the birthday boy/girl will never invite your child to another function again.

So, like the large majority of parents, you succumb to the pressure and sign the waiver allowing your child to enter. But what if your child is injured? What if the injury is a result of a dangerous condition or lack of proper supervision at the facility? What can you do? Can you still recover damages on your child’s behalf?

Liability waivers at children’s recreational facilities seem to be on the rise, but are you signing your child’s legal rights away when you sign one of these waivers? Generally speaking, liability waivers are frowned upon in New York State. However, if drafted properly they are enforceable if the person waiving his/her rights is an adult.

But, when the person whose rights are being waived is a minor the case law is different. A parent cannot sign away their child’s legal rights in New York State. So, should your child suffer an injury due to the negligence of the facility, you can still make a claim on your child’s behalf.

You may be wondering, what is the rationale for a facility to require a liability waiver be signed if it is unenforceable? The answer is; there are several reasons. First, signing such a waiver may cause people to assume that they are barred from making a claim. Second, the law can always change in the future. Third, while the document may not be enforceable as a complete bar to a lawsuit, there may be language in the waiver that can be used to show that the parent was made aware of certain dangers and therefore is also negligent in supervising their own child.

Ultimately, it is best not to sign a liability waiver. I would advise my client’s against signing such a document. But if you have already executed one on behalf of your minor child and he/she was injured, you should consult with an attorney. Your child still has the right to pursue a claim for negligence against the facility.

For most married people, the person that they drive with most often is their spouse. Therefore, the odds of being injured by your spouse in a motor vehicle accident are significant. Even the best drivers have momentary lapses while driving. Should you suffer a serious injury in such a scenario, your options for recovering necessary compensation for your financial damages may be limited. This may be an extreme hardship to your family should you be permanently injured and unable to return to work due to an accident caused by your spouse.

There are ways to protect yourself and your spouse in such situations. Insurance companies offer Spousal Liability coverage. This will allow a passenger in a vehicle that is injured due to their spouse’s negligence, to make a claim against their own insurance policy. The insurance companies offer these coverage’s at extremely reasonable rates. For less then a few hundred dollars a year you can protect yourself and your spouse from the financial devastation of a serious accidental injury.

While the idea of making a claim against your spouse seems distasteful, your alternatives may be much harsher. Further, your insurance company is happy to provide the coverage for just such an occasion. I highly recommend this coverage to all my clients. I have seen far too many people suffer serious accidental injuries in a car accident caused by a spouse, left with no financial compensation.

Should you have any questions with respect to your automobile insurance coverages, please feel free to contact me at my office and I’d be happy to review them for you at no charge.