RENÉE SIMON LESSER

Partner: rlesser@simonlesser.com

Biography

Renée Simon Lesser specializes in personal injury and property damage claims, insurance defense and coverage litigation, and product liability and toxic tort litigation.

She has tried jury and bench trials in state and federal court and has argued appeals in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First and Second Departments. For two decades, Renée has successfully defended churches, synagogues, schools, nursing homes, non-profit entities, as well as large and small businesses and individuals throughout New York State.  Most of these cases involve allegations of personal injury, property damage or economic loss resulting from premises defects, sports related injuries, labor law claims, assaults, sexual misconduct, negligent supervision, and building design and maintenance claims.  Renée has also secured significant awards for plaintiffs in personal injury cases, including a $4.5 million judgment obtained after trial and appeal against a property owner resulting from the rape and sexual assault of a tenant.  Her representation of plaintiffs and defendants has given her a unique insight into the successful resolution of personal injury, wrongful death and product liability claims.

Renée has been recognized and selected for inclusion in New York Metro “Super Lawyers” for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. This survey, published by Thomson Reuters, honors the top five (5%) percent of New York City-based attorneys.

Recent Notable Representations

  • Thompson v. Steuben Realty Corp., 820 N.Y.S.2d 285 (2d Dep’t 2006).  Obtained a $7 million judgment after trial in connection with claims against property owner resulting from the rape and sexual assault of a tenant.  The Judgment was later modified on appeal to $4.5 million and otherwise affirmed

  • In re 698 Flushing Realty Corp., 355 B.R. 17 (Bnkr. E.D.N.Y. 2005).  In connection with the multi-million judgment in the Thompson case, the son of the judgment debtor’s principal attempted to transfer real property to evade the judgment to an affiliated company, which then filed for bankruptcy.  Renée successfully obtained dismissal of the bankruptcy petition, as well as sanctions against the debtor and its counsel.

  • Christopher v. PharmaStem, Inc., 824 N.Y.S.2d 761 (N.Y.Sup. 2006):  Successfully prosecuted action for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and deceptive business practices against umbilical cord blood preservation company which issued communication to obstetricians around the nation threatening claims for patent infringement if they collected cord blood for patients who intended to preserve with competitors.  Click to view AAJ article about case.

  • Ehrens v. Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 385 F.3d 232 (2d Cir. 2004).  Obtained summary judgment, affirmed on appeal, on behalf of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod on claims based on an alleged sexual assault upon a minor by a retired pastor.

  • Spielman v. Grace Gospel Church of Suffolk, Inc., 77 A.D.3d 816, 910 N.Y.S.2d 105 (2d Dep't 2010), leave denied, 2011 N.Y. LEXIS 1479 (2011).  Obtained appellate reversal of denial of motion to dismiss claims asserted against a Church in connection with alleged sexual misconduct by a pastor.  See Half-Sisters Lose Bid to Sue Church Over Affair with Pastor, NYLJ, Oct. 25, 2010. Click to view article.

  • Egar v. Congregation Talmud Torah, 885 N.Y.S.2d 711 (NY Sup., Queens Co. 2009).  Obtained summary judgment dismissing traumatic head injury claim involving a hospital patient's trip and fall allegedly caused by a downed synagogue's "eruv" wire located on hospital property.  See Court Says Temple Had No Notice of Fallen Eruv, Dismisses Trip Suit, NYLJ, May 5, 2009.  Click to view article.

  • Underwood v. Church of God of Prophecy, Index No. 8905/10 (N.Y. Sup., Orange Co. 2011).  Obtained dismissal of claims against a church in Orange County, New York in connection with alleged sexual assault committed by a pastor.

  • Young v. Trinity Presbyterian Church, Index No. 13508/10 (N.Y. Sup., Westchester Co. 2012).  Obtained dismissal of claims against a church in Westchester County, New York in connection with alleged sexual assault committed by a pastor.

  • Brown v. Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Index No. 38074/05 (N.Y. Sup., Kings Co. 2008).  Obtained summary judgment for a Church in Brooklyn, New York dismissing sexual misconduct and negligent retention/supervision claims.

  • Butler v. First Baptist Church Of Westbury, Index No.  14544/04 (N.Y. Sup., Nassau Co. 2007): Obtained Summary Judgment for Church in Nassau County on claims in defamation and slander against a board member.

  • Lissauer v. Shaarei Halacha, Inc., 829 N.Y.S.2d 229 (2d Dep’t 2007).  Obtained summary judgment for a Kings County Yeshiva in a negligent retention and supervision case where the plaintiff sought $10 million for a severe injury.

  • Meneses v. Wake Eden Community Baptist Church, Index No. 13213/02 (N.Y. Sup., Bronx Co. 2005).  Obtained summary judgment for a Church in Bronx County in a premises liability and Labor Law case where the plaintiff sustained compound comminuted fractures of distal tibia/fibula requiring several surgeries.

  • Useche v. Zion Lutheran Church and Discipleship Chapel, Inc., Index No. 12552/04 (N.Y. Sup., Kings Co. 2006).  Obtained summary judgment for a Church in Kings County where plaintiff suffered a laceration to the right forearm, laceration of the ulnar nerve, and compartment syndrome.

  • Uddin v. Corner Stone Baptist Church, 823 N.Y.S.2d 178 (2d Dep’t 2006).  Obtained summary judgment affirmed on appeal on plaintiff’s claims under Labor Law § 240(1) for workplace injury involving disc herniation, disc bulge, a compression fracture of the spine, radiculitis, and radiculopathy.

  • Avila v. Mission Evangelical Pentecostal, Inc, Index No. 116571/00 (N.Y. Sup., N.Y. Co. 2003).  Obtained summary judgment for a Church in New York County in an assault and negligent supervision case where the plaintiff sought $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.

  • Richardson v. Throop Memorial Presbyterian Church Daycare, Index No. 19895/02 (N.Y. Sup., Queens Co. 2004). Obtained summary judgment for a religious day care facility in Queens County in a negligent supervision case where a female infant plaintiff was severely injured in a playground accident.

  • Mangia v. New Dorp Baptist Church, Index No. 11232/99 (N.Y. Sup., Richmond Co. 2001).  Obtained summary judgment for a Church in Richmond County in a premises liability case where the plaintiff sustained severe spinal injuries necessitating spinal fusion surgery.

  • Successfully represented motorcyclist struck by U.S. Government vehicle driven by federal agents.

  • Successfully prosecuted an action for negligence against restaurant property owner in connection with a customer’s injury claim stemming from a fall down the restaurant’s stairwell.

  • Successfully prosecuted actions for negligence against home repair department stores in connection with customers’ injuries stemming from incidents where building supplies fell onto customers.

  • Successfully prosecuted wrongful death action in connection with vehicular accident in a parking lot wherein the defendant’s vehicle struck and killed an elderly pedestrian.

  • Successfully prosecuted action for lead paint exposure to a minor.

Professional Experience

Renée was formerly associated with Quirk & Bakalor, P.C., Kroll & Tract LLP, and Fisher, Fisher & Berger.
Renée also served as a clerk to Hon. Carol H. Arber, New York State Supreme Court, New York County.

Professional Activities

Renée has served as an Arbitrator in New York City Civil Court since 1999.  She is a member of the New York City Bar, the Women's Bar Association of New York City, and the Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

Bar and Court Admissions

Renée is admitted to the bars of New York State, the State of Connecticut, and the District of Columbia. She is also admitted to the U.S. District Court, Eastern and Southern Districts of New York, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Education

J.D., American University Washington College of Law, 1992
B.A., State University of New York at Albany, 1989 (magna cum laude)

Languages

Fluent in Hebrew

Interests

Renée is an avid surfer, and is a member of the ASL, Association of Surfing Lawyers.

 

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