Brian P. Kerley
Civil Trial Defense Law - Seaford, NY

I very much enjoy what I do. The whole process – trial preparation, litigation, going to bat for people. I defend the livelihoods of good people. And I take a lot of satisfaction from that.

First and foremost I represent physicians. Insurance companies may want to settle a case, but if a physician wants to go to trial, we go to trial. I understand the thinking. Reputations are at stake.

Are liability claims declining? There’s evidence that they are. Airbags in automobiles are making cars safer, for instance. Better training in health care is making a difference as well.

But that said, the claims that we do see are better prepared. Plaintiffs’ lawyers are preparing their claims in a higher-quality fashion. We see few sloppy plaintiffs’ claims anymore. There aren’t as many personal-injury lawyers out there, but the ones that are left are doing their homework.

And while there may be fewer cases, there’s a trend toward larger damage claims. Big dollar claims of course make the stakes higher. In a handful of cases, we’ve seen plaintiffs insisting on doctors paying damages out-of-pocket. That was unheard of 10 or 15 years ago. Of course, it’s happened perhaps a half-dozen times, but when it does it’s big news, and it understandably spooks people.

I pride myself on preparing well – as well as anyone -- for a trial. And I can relate well to most jurors. I come from a big family of hard workers. All of us earned everything we got. Every jury I’ve ever appeared before, I’ve spoken to them straight, on a level they understand and respect.

My role, in many cases, is to try to show a jury what was going on between the doctor and patient at the time something occurs. Jurors often recognize and relate to situations, and in many instances they are going to give the doctor the benefit of the doubt.

I spend a lot of time giving lectures on minimizing the risks of malpractice lawsuits. It’s about helping doctors help themselves. If the patient likes the doctor, even if he does make an error, the patient is less likely to sue. That’s why, for example, a pediatrician is rarely sued. The relationship drives a degree of trust.

Our firm is successful because we are all in it together. We have a great team, and we’re committed to our clients’ success. Back in 1988, when Ray, Jeff and I launched our firm, it took me all of a second to make the decision to create what we have today. We share the same goals – with one another, and with our clients.

Brian P. Kerley
"My role, in many cases, is to try to show a jury what was going on between the doctor and patient at the time something occurs."
Phone: (516) 409-6200
Fax: (516) 409-8288
St. John’s University, B.A., Government, 1979
New York Law School, J.D., 1982
2011-11-21 09:26:46