As a New York personal injury lawyer, my job is to fight my hardest on behalf of each and every one of my clients. And so I do. But I would be lying if I said I liked all my clients to the same degree. Just like teachers have their “pets”, lawyers have their favorite clients. You are looking at some of my favorite clients ever in the photos above.
The seven men shown in these photos all came into the USA illegally and worked here illegally, too. Some of you who are reading this will now instantly dislike them. Please don’t. Please forgive them for breaking a few rules. They are not criminals, rapists or murderers (as some politicians will have you believe). They are simple peasants with only second or third grade educations who needed to support their families back home in Guatemala and Mexico.
Once here, they worked brutally long and hard hours in upstate New York’s vegetable fields from spring to summer, and then in Florida’s orange groves in winter. They were sending almost every penny they earned back home to feed small hungry mouths.
Then tragedy visited them. A terrible farm accident. It was not their fault. Others were to blame. Most of them were brutally injured and are forever disabled. Yet they have suffered with dignity, patience and equanimity. They are all devout Christians, which served them well. They prayed to God to help them through the pain, the poverty, the long wait for justice. Apparently, God came through for them.
For the past decade, they have had to live off the largess of family and friends. No more!
After a decade-long legal battle on behalf of these crushed, burned, broken and maimed men, and after more than 30 depositions, countless court motions and court appearances, and three appeals, I was finally able to obtain justice for them.
I flew down to Guatemala last month to open bank accounts with them, sign resolution papers, and cry with them, both out of sadness for their losses, and joy for finally obtaining justice for them. (The photos above were taken in the hotel in Guatemala I rented for the occasion). Last week, the settlement money finally made its way to our firm’s bank account. I will wire money to my clients’ brand new accounts this week. Some of them will be getting structured payments that will continue to pay them for thirty years.
This was one of the largest settlements our firm has had in recent years. It was also one of the most complicated cases we have had. Because the men were deported after their accident, and because we could not get visas for them to come back in, even for trial, we asked the judge to allow us to go to Guatemala and Mexico to take their testimony by video-conferencing. The judge was having none of that. “If they can’t get to trial, case dismissed”. We appealed, won, and got permission to take their testimony in Guatemala and Mexico by video conferencing, which we did.
The amount of their settlement was large, but the amount is confidential. What is not confidential is this: The money is going to some of the most deserving clients I have ever had the privilege of representing.
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to hear from you!
Syracuse and Upstate NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.