Author Archives: Dana E. Heitz

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About Dana E. Heitz

Dana E. Heitz is the founder of Heitz Legal, P.C. in New York, NY.
EMAIL: dana@heitzlegal.com
BIO: About Dana

Embrace the Process
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Embrace the Process | Dana Heitz

{3:11 minutes to read} The law can be so black-and-white that it’s inconsistent with reality, which is notoriously (sometimes frighteningly) messy. And law is often mundane, bureaucratic, and tedious. After all, there isn’t much aesthetic joy in a stack of legal files. Poetry, on the other hand, is all complexity and flow and rulelessness and beauty, and it doesn’t seem to have much in common with the legal profession. But some lawyers can find the same kind of joy in rearranging evidence and watching an argument emerge as writers do from selecting the right words to structure their thoughts into a poem.

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When Is an Owner Liable for Defective Equipment on the Worksite?
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When Is an Owner Liable for Defective Equipment on the Worksite? | Dana Heitz

{5:04 minutes to read} Let’s say a worker on a job site is injured because of defective equipment. And let’s say there’s a statute that imposes a duty to provide a safe workplace. Is the site’s owner liable for the injury under this statute? In a pair of cases decided a week apart, the Second Department clarified when an owner’s acts can give rise to a claim under a statute just like this one—Labor Law § 200. (These decisions were issued in 2008, but they’re still good law and both lawyers and courts cite them frequently.)

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Don’t Write Like a Lawyer
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Don’t Write Like a Lawyer | Dana Heitz

Of principle importance to the duteous legal practitioner is the abstention from granting preference to esoteric terminology at the expense of concise transmission of the perceived reality. In other words, lawyers shouldn’t let their choice of words get in the way of their arguments. Year after year, this issue confronts law school grads entering the real world and flexing their legal muscles. Baby lawyers—and many seasoned ones—view their degrees as a license, if not an imperative, to churn out hollow chestnuts such as "here and before," "heretofore,” and “notwithstanding,” like it’s their job—as it frequently is.

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National Health Care Decisions Week is April 16th to 22nd
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Authored by , re: Healthcare Management, LAW RELATED ARTICLES, on .
National Health Care Decisions Week is April 16th to 22nd | Dana Heitz

Who: You, your clients What: National Healthcare Decisions Week When: April 16-22, 2017 Why: Everyone dies How: See an attorney or fill out a DIY Healthcare Proxy form {2:20 minutes to read} I recently worked on a case that resulted from the unexpected death of a 28-year-old. The nearness of death hit home after that—as did the consequences of being unprepared for this inevitability. Then a couple weeks ago, I had minor wrist surgery. During the intake, I was asked if I’d chosen whom I wanted to appoint as decision-maker if I became unable to communicate.

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High Stakes Commas
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High Stakes Commas | Dana Heitz

{4:35 minutes to read} A federal appellate court in Maine recently addressed one of the most consequential punctuation conundrums in recent memory. In O'Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy, the plaintiffs’ ability to recover millions in lost overtime wages turned on the absence of a comma from a particular state law. The O’Connor plaintiffs were several dozen drivers of dairy delivery trucks who sued the company that employed them. The drivers alleged that they worked 50 to 60 hours per week but never received the overtime pay they were entitled to.

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It Fell as a Matter of Law
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It Fell as a Matter of Law | Dana Heitz

{2:18 minutes to read} Sometimes you hit the jackpot, and the specifics of what happened in your case don’t matter—because whatever occurred, it violated the law. I recently wrote a motion in a case like this, which helped my client settle for over two million dollars. The case centered around a worker who was building a sewage drain adjacent to a roadway, in a ditch several feet lower than the road. While he was standing in the ditch, a nearby co-worker was using heavy machinery to lift and move a large traffic barrier.

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You Are What You Read
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You Are What You Read | Dana Heitz

{3:28 minutes to read} The New York Times recently published a compendium of Barack Obama’s favorite writings. Chief book critic Michiko Kakutani wrote the piece after discussing with the President how reading gave him a way to shift mental gears and imagine life through other people’s eyes. This led me to think about the important novels that have helped shape who I am as a person, and as an attorney. Growing up, I could power through a favorite book in an afternoon, yet because of the skillfulness of the writing, I never lost an instant of the experience the author sought to evoke.

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Know Your Venue
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Know Your Venue | Dana E. Heitz

{3:54 minutes to read} Attorneys used to state court practice are often unfamiliar with the fragmented rules in federal courts, especially at the district level and in individual judges’ courtrooms. Unfortunately, not knowing or accounting for these rigid rules can do a lot of damage to a client’s case. District courts and courts of appeals frequently build on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure by issuing their own local rules.

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Every Precedent Counts
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Every Precedent Counts | Dana E. Heitz

{3:09 minutes to read} Motion practice takes a lot of resources, and many firms lack the time to carefully curate relevant precedent. Investing in outside research can help bring down your firm’s overall expenditure. Recently I began researching the federal psychotherapist-patient privilege with the goal of opposing a motion to compel on behalf of one busy practice. But my client and I quickly saw—and proved to our adversary—that since the law was so strongly on our side, a motion to compel would be futile, and the parties could resolve the issue by stipulation.

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