Personal Injury Lawsuit Got Tossed Because the Attorney Refused to Wear a Mask - He Claimed He Couldn't Breathe

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

These days, a mask can make a monumental difference.

Just ask a recent personal-injury plaintiff in Brooklyn.

As reported by the New York Daily News, a lawsuit set for trial was thrown out Thursday due to one attorney’s aversion to etiquette.

And orders.

The lawyer announced he’d be unable to proceed while keeping on his mask.

In response, Judge Lawrence Knipel gave him the ol’ unceremonious dismissal.

Also dismissed: the entire case, potential jury and all.

As it turns out, the judge himself had been hospitalized last spring due to the coronavirus.

As COVID tore through the Brooklyn Supreme Court, two judges had lost their lives.

In light of the mask moratorium by a lawless lawyer, Judge Lawrence — 68 — hand-wrote the following:

“Upon Plaintiff’s counsel’s refusal to proceed with jury selection while wearing a face mask, this action is dismissed.”

The judge doubled down during a Friday phone conversation with the Daily News:

“I say, ‘Safety first.’ Forget about my personal experience with COVID. We have over half a million dead in this country. We have protocols. The most important protocol is wearing a mask.”

Are we actually playing it safe? It’s a strange time, during which masks are required under some circumstances yet not others — in ways that don’t always seem sensical.

Last week, for example, I found myself in a grocery store wine aisle and in need of assistance. I approached an employee, who was working behind what was essentially a bar. Another customer was seated, yappin’ to the makeshift barkeep as if they were on Cheers.

Sporting a mask, I tried to find the right time to interrupt. Talkative Tony was sitting on a stool, running his unhidden choppers like they were motored.

When I finally jumped in, I thought of the little sense of the situation: A mask was mandated for me, but not so for the jabbering Joe to my left. He was off the hook, thanks to a beer which sat neglected in front of him.

Were my germs more dangerous than his?

In the eyes of the state, perhaps so.

Back to Brooklyn, the attorney had offered a reason for not wanting to keep covered.

The Daily News lays it out:

[L]ongtime Brooklyn practitioner Howard Greenwald, 68, attempted to go through jury selection with his face covered, according to a transcript of the proceedings reviewed by The News. But he told the judge that he was losing his breath, breaking into a sweat and felt unable to continue because he might faint, the records show.

And that, as they say, was that.

In the words of New York’s NBC4 — and in a stunningly punny turn — “Face dismissed.”

-ALEX

 

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