James P. McGarry
I was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island in Nassau County. I have lived in Manhattan since I began law school in 1977. Since my admission to the New York Bar, I worked for law firms in Manhattan that specialized in litigation involving both commercial and personal injury law. In 1994 I joined with Michael Barasch to form Barasch McGarry.
I have experienced a broad spectrum of legal expertise, including insurance law and commercial litigation involving architects, engineers, contractors, and developers as well as entertainment law involving music and copyrights. However, my principal practice over the past two decades involves the legal rights of the firefighters of the City of New York, including their pension rights and line-of-duty injuries.
I have been friends with members of the Fire Department of the City of New York for most of my adult life. At present I have the privilege of representing firefighters as a personal injury attorney involving a multitude of legal issues ranging from pension matters and disciplinary proceedings to injuries related to insufficient gear and protective clothing and line-of-duty injuries and burns by reason of building owners' negligence and violations of law.
I cannot think of a more honorable group of individuals to represent and have tackled a plethora of issues relating to firefighters' rights. I was the first attorney in New York City to write a firefighters' "Know Your Rights" newsletter, which first appeared in Firefighters Quarterly magazine back in 1990, and have since published and sent this informational newsletter to members of the New York City Fire Department.
I stay on the cutting edge of firefighter practice by taking on important legal issues to benefit the members of the FDNY and their families. In 1998 a number of firefighters and ambulance workers were exposed to carcinogenic pentachlorophenol (PCP) and dioxins at a Con Edison transformer fire on Staten Island. We believed that the exposure was due to Con Edison's negligence and violation of law. The firefighter union's own attorneys refused to litigate against Con Ed citing the difficulty of proving fear of cancer cases. However, I personally interviewed dozens of firefighters at their firehouses and homes in Staten Island. Our firm was retained by hundreds of firefighters, ambulance workers, and other emergency personnel who responded to the fire and/or who worked with contaminated equipment thereafter. Without instituting suit, Barasch McGarry settled the fear of cancer claim against Con Ed for an amount in excess of $2 million. All the local newspapers, including the New York Times and Daily News, reported this settlement.
Another firefighter case that I am particularly proud of stems from studies in the 1970s and 1980s that found that New York City firefighters were sustaining severe burns to their legs while fighting fires. Most fire departments around the country had already outfitted their members with protective bunker gear, thereby reducing the frequency and severity of leg burns. However, the City of New York failed to provide such gear to its members despite all Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
Special legislation enacted by Governor Pataki's office in 1996 enabled firefighters to institute claims retroactively going back to 1987 for certain kinds of cases. Last year Barasch McGarry brought suit against the City of New York on behalf of hundreds of firefighters who had sustained leg burns by reason of the City's negligent failure to protect its firefighters.
Our NYC personal injury law firm continues to fight for New York's bravest, no matter how difficult the fight might be.
Admitted to practice
- New York, 1981
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, 1984
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, 1984
- Fordham University School of Law, J.D., 1980
- State University of New York at Stony Brook, B.A., 1977
- State University of New York at Binghamton
For a free consultation with Jim McGarry, call 212.385.8000 or contact us online.