Property Damage, Design Defect, and Construction Defect Practice Area

Our property damage, design defect and construction defect practice group has extensive experience defending building owners, homeowners, condominium associations, design professionals, contractors, managing agents, lessors/lessees, and developers from claims arising from alleged defective design and construction of buildings and structures; mechanical infrastructure failures; negligent demolition and excavation activities; fires; puff-backs and oil leaks; floods, water infiltrations; and mold infestations.

This practice group also represents insurers, individuals, and entities in the prosecution of direct and subrogation claims resulting from negligent construction and design; breaches of contract and warranty; and violations of applicable building codes and regulations.

Our property damage, design defect, and construction defect practice group also has broad expertise in handling insurance coverage disputes, indemnification issues, and insurance policy priority issues that often arise during complex property damage and construction defect actions.

Attorneys at Baxter & Smith, PC are accomplished litigators who have successfully defended clients during all stages of litigation including trial and appeal in both state and federal courts throughout the State of New York. Our attorneys have the necessary skill set and proven track record to offer exceptional representation to our clients. Our attorneys take great pride in their ability to work collaboratively with clients and claims representatives to develop pragmatic claims resolution plans and to implement those plans to achieve positive cost-effective results.

Premises Liability

Baxter & Smith, P.C. is one of the leading firms in the State of New York in the area of premises liability. We have defended numerous cases premises liability cases including claims involving slip/trip-and-falls; construction accidents; elevator accidents; sick buildings; property damage; security; and sports injuries. Due to our experience and expertise, we have handled some of the highest-exposure trials and appeals in the history of the State. At the request of insurance carriers, our partners have repeatedly been substituted as trial counsel and appellate counsel in cases involving significant exposure and serious injury throughout the State of New York and in a number of states outside New York as well. Our attorneys have also lectured at the New York State Trial Lawyers Institute, The New York State Trial Lawyers Association, the New York Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the Bar Association of the City of New York on topics related to premises liability.

General Liability

Employment Law

Professional E & O

Municipal Liability

Automobile Litigation

One of Baxter & Smith, areas of expertise is the defense of our clients on behalf of insurance carriers. We are no-fault litigation specialists and are highly regarded by both the insurance industry and Trial Bar. Be assured of the ability of our seasoned trial attorneys to successfully handle any matter regardless of complexity. We focus on ensuring each file is handled in a professional and economic manner.

We are experts in Article 51 of the Insurance Law of the State of New York. This knowledge has consistently been applied as evidenced by our high success rate in motion practice on threshold grounds and affirmed by Appellate review. Should trial adjudication be necessary, be confident in the capabilities of our litigation team which has successfully represented major insurance carriers in all primary New York venues. We have offices in every major jurisdiction throughout the state. This ensures that the attorneys handling each matter are extremely knowledgeable about local practice and the intricacies presented by each divergent venue. Further, this expertise enables us to handle any matter that might arise from your insurance coverage areas without the need to retain multiple firms in each venue. Essentially, you receive the benefit of having local counsel regardless of wherever the suit is initiated throughout the state.

We have achieved this high level of success by staying current with New York State insurance regulations that govern no-fault litigation as they evolve. We are committed to success and we fully understand no-fault practice and the claims process. We practice the axiom that timely action, effective alternative dispute resolution, and progressive strategies are critical to efficient and beneficial solutions for our clients. Our firm is dedicated to remaining on the leading edge of all practice areas, especially automobile litigation, which in turn enables us to provide competitive fees, prompt communication of developments, and ensures that your interests are ably represented throughout the entire legal process. We are also experts in UM arbitration process, filings, and representation.

Your claims issues will become our claims solutions. Your claims will be controlled by experienced litigation specialists who will diligently advocate on your behalf. Whether it is arbitration; mediation; settlement negotiation; or ultimately, litigation; we are proficient in all areas of motor vehicle insurance claims handling. Our philosophy of perseverance is applied to every area of our representation. Above all, we are here for you.

Commercial Litigation

Baxter & Smith, PC features an experienced commercial practice group representing a variety of clients from small local companies to national institutions.

Our attorneys handle transactions and disputes involving the businesses of insurance, construction, real estate matters, employment, equipment leases, unfair trade practices, restrictive covenant and non-compete issues, etc.

Presently, our major clients range from some of the larger insurance institutions, brokers, and consultants, to small insurance companies, insurance brokers, and self-insured corporations and municipalities.

Insurance Coverage Litigation

Baxter & Smith, PC features a comprehensive insurance practice serving our clients in every segment of the insurance industry. Our insurance group is experienced in all types of insurance litigation and coverage disputes. We provide services to a broad spectrum of insurance clients ranging from insured to a broker to insurer and all related specialties and specialists. The practice extends to all state and federal courts throughout the United States and abroad.

Baxter & Smith, PC serves as national litigation coordinating counsel to one of the largest and fastest-growing construction insurance brokers/consultants in the country. We handle all insurance-related litigation and disputes dealing with construction, products, catastrophic injury, insurance coverage, contracts, homeowners insurance property and liability coverage, life and disability claims, shareholder derivative suits, ERISA claims, brokers’ errors and omissions claims, RICO claims, product liability and unfair trade practices. Likewise, our partners have significant experience acting as appointed arbitrators and mediators in connection with the resolution of a wide variety of such lawsuits and claims.

Construction / Accident Litigation

Proficiency in construction law and accident litigation has long been the hallmark of Baxter & Smith, P.C. Our involvement on behalf of our clients, whether contractors, brokers or insurers, includes comprehensive pre-litigation claim analysis and extends through trial and appeals. We are regularly retained in the most high-profile construction matters and have made a significant contribution to the continued development of New York’s Labor Law by virtue of dozens of appellate decisions, including critical Court of Appeals decisions, decided in favor of our insurance and construction clients.

Baxter & Smith, P.C., could not be more proud of the results we have achieved and the reputation we have earned as construction accident trial lawyers. Whether the issue is the fundamental applicability of New York’s Labor Law or the viability of a sole proximate cause defense, Baxter & Smith has proven time and again that we have the willingness to try even the most challenging of cases and the skill to prevail.

Our construction accident group handles everything from the catastrophic crane collapse to the more routine worksite slip and fall. Whatever the degree of complexity, our intensity at the point of attack does not vary. From the initial notice of claim, and as needed through trial and appeals, our approach is swift and efficient. For example, we are mindful that a failure to timely issue a proper response may expose our clients to liability they may have otherwise avoided. We work to develop simple and dependable systems to ensure that all proper notices and coverage denials are timely issued.



Baxter & Smith, PC has achieved consistently excellent results in the field of appellate advocacy. We pride ourselves on the impact we have had on the development of law in areas of concern to our insurance and construction clientele. Within the last Five (5) years alone our firm has handled nearly 100 appeals and argued in every New York State Appellate Court, including numerous appearances in the Court of Appeals.

We routinely handle appeals involving a wide range of issues including labor law, contractual indemnification, grave injury, product liability, and general negligence. Attorneys from our Appellate Department are frequently invited to lecture before various bar groups and client gatherings regarding recent developments in the law. Likewise, our appeals group enjoys a unique synergy with the firm’s litigators and trial attorneys. The teams work in unison throughout the pre-trial and trial stages proactively confronting issues that are likely to be raised on appeal.

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Technology Billing

The firm employs the latest systems and technologies for office and law firm management, permitting the efficient delivery of legal services from document preparation to legal research and billing. Our billing system allows us to prepare and deliver statements quickly, thus providing clients with detailed and timely guides to the cost and values involved in the legal matters handled by the firm. All statements include day-by-day detail, identifying the professional providing the service. Detailed billing, together with close collaboration with our clients, permits an ongoing assessment of the economic value of our services and provides the dexterity essential to meaningful future planning.

We stand ready to provide detailed budget projections for any project. Likewise, at the pleasure of our clients, we provide our billing electronically. Further, we are as flexible in the way we price legal services as clients require and will work with you to personalize your litigation and cost containment management programs. The firm is prepared to handle appropriate legal matters under such alternative billing arrangements as fixed fees and contingency fees. We are always willing to discuss any billing arrangement that may make our services more cost-effective for our clients.