Law Firms Seek Recovery for Creating ‘Common Benefit’ in 2003 Staten Island Ferry Disaster
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Two firms, Dougherty, Ryan, Giuffra, Zambito & Hession in Manhattan, and Bosco, Bisignano & Mascolo on Staten Island, claim they are entitled to as much as 13 percent of the nearly $90 million the city of New York has paid out to victims of the 2003 Staten Island Ferry disaster.

Dougherty Ryan served as maritime counsel and Bosco Bisignano served as liaison counsel for the 171 cases against the city, stemming from the October 15, 2003 crash of  the the Andrew J. Barberi. The Staten Island Ferry vessel crashed full-speed into a concrete pier at the St. George ferry terminal, killing 11 people and injuring over 70.

The firms argue that in most of the 171 cases, they created a “common benefit”, most notably by Dougherty fighting the city’s attempt to use a 19th century maritime law to cap its total liability for the accident at $14 million.


Last week, the two firms sought a temporary restraining order that would require each of the individual claimants’ attorneys to place 13 percent of their gross recovery in escrow.

Eastern District of New York Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky recommended against it, finding the issue insufficiently urgent to require such an order.

In the 171 cases stemming from the ferry accident, the city settled 164 for $67.9 million and was ordered to pay $19.4 million in three judgments, according to the New York City Law Department.

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Godosky & Gentile is representing Dougherty Ryan and Bosco Bisignano.



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