Beck S. Fineman

Partner
P: 
203-541-5018
F: 
203-549-6655

Beck Fineman is a partner in the firm.  He litigates cases on behalf of the firm’s corporate, governmental and individual clients, with a focus on labor and employment, railroad, professional negligence and personal injury cases.  Beck has tried high exposure cases to verdict and has tried cases in federal and state courts in both Connecticut and New York, as well as in the federal administrative forum.  He has briefed and argued six appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second and Eleventh Circuits.  Beck also has been an invited presenter at annual and special litigation meetings of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel, where he has shared his experience in trying the first cases arising under a new provision of the Federal Rail Safety Act.

Beck received the Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association’s "Rising Stars" award in 2017.  He has been selected for inclusion in Connecticut Super Lawyers® each year since 2013 and was named one of the Connecticut Law Tribune’s “New Leader in the Law” in 2013. 

Beck is as dedicated to his communities as he is to litigation.  In 2012, he founded RRD’s Volunteer Corps, through which he leads the firm’s outreach to individuals and families in need throughout Fairfield County.  Among other endeavors, the RRD Volunteer Corps has planted, and then expanded, a vegetable garden at a residential home for boys in the care of Department of Children and Families; prepared and served meals at shelters; volunteered with the Stamford-based DOMUS organization’s “Holiday Mall” event providing gifts to families in need; and, contributed and sorted clothing donations for Darien-based Person-to-Person and for Bridgeport’s LifeBridge Community Services. These efforts have resulted in lasting relationships with these organizations, and with others throughout Connecticut. 

Beck also is a member of the Board of Directors for the Anchor Health Initiative, which offers medical and behavioral health care services to everyone, with a particular focus on the needs of the LGBTQ community.  He is the Treasurer of the Connecticut Bar Association’s LGBT Section, was chosen to sit on the Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association Board of Directors, and helps lead RRD’s own Diversity Committee.  Additionally, Beck has been selected as a “Knight of the Roundtables” for the Connecticut Bar Foundation, a non-profit organization of nominated lawyers, judges and teachers of law, dedicated to promoting equal access to justice in Connecticut.  The Roundtables, organized and moderated by the Knights, provide Fellows an opportunity to examine timely issues involving the practice of law.

Prior to embarking on his legal career, Beck graduated Smith College, magna cum laude.  He then worked as a legal assistant at Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C., before earning his juris doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law.  There, he served as a staff editor for the Journal of Race, Religion, Gender & Class, was a member of the executive board of the Moot Court Board, was selected to join the Phi Delta Phi scholastic fraternity, and received the James H. Rosner award for advocacy.  Following law school, Beck served as a Legal Research Clerk to the Judges of the Superior Court of Connecticut.  He joined RRD in 2007.

Professional Affiliations: 
  • Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association
    • Board of Directors
    • Rising Star 2017
  • Connecticut Bar Association
    • Treasurer, LGBT Section
  • National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
  • National LGBT Bar Association
Representative Experience: 
  • In March 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit finally put to rest the first ever lawsuit initiated under a whistleblower amendment to the Federal Rail Safety Act.  Ten years earlier, in 2008, the plaintiff, an employee of Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company, filed a complaint with the United States Department of Labor, claiming that the railroad had unlawfully retaliated against him by denying, delaying and/or interfering with his medical treatment following an on-the-job injury.  Although he had been provided emergency medical treatment, and although his employer paid for several months of post-accident treatment, the plaintiff claimed that the railroad violated the federal statute by declining to directly pay his ongoing medical expenses, instead referring his medical providers to the plaintiff’s company-provided health insurance plan.  Beck and partner Chuck Deluca successfully defended Metro-North in a trial to a Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge, who dismissed the plaintiff’s case in its entirety.  The plaintiff appealed to the Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board, which remanded and directed the ALJ to issue a new decision under the ARB’s novel interpretation of the new federal amendment.  When the ALJ ruled in the plaintiff’s favor under that interpretation, Beck represented Metro-North in its appeal to the ARB, which upheld the ALJ’s second decision in the plaintiff’s favor.  Beck then represented Metro-North in its appeal to the Second Circuit.  That appeal was defended by the United States Department of Labor and involved complex issues of statutory interpretation and administrative law.  Ultimately, the Second Circuit decided in Metro-North’s favor and remanded to the ARB, which dismissed the plaintiff’s claims in their entirety.
  • In August 2017, Beck teamed up with fellow partner Bob Hickey to obtain a full defense verdict on behalf of Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, in a lawsuit brought by a trespasser, who climbed a catenary tower next to the railroad’s right-of-way and was electrocuted by high voltage wires supplying electricity to the trains, resulting in burns over most of the man’s body and amputation of both legs above the knees.  He also suffered brain damage as the result of the electrocution.  The trespasser alleged that Metro-North should be held liable because the railroad was on notice of others trespassing on the right-of-way and the catenary towers and claimed that his injury was precipitated by a hidden danger, namely, static electricity surrounding the wires, which startled him, knocking him off balance and onto the high voltage wires that ultimately caused his injuries.  The case was tried over the course of two weeks in the United States District Court in New Haven.  The plaintiff presented over 20 witnesses in total, including 7 expert witnesses, and asked the jury to award more than 90 million dollars in damages.  In rendering a full defense verdict for Metro-North and the MTA, the jury found that the plaintiffs had failed to prove that Metro-North or the MTA had been negligent or that anything Metro-North or the MTA had done caused the trespasser’s injuries.
  • Beck successfully defended Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company in the federal district court and in the Second Circuit in a case arising out of Metro-North’s decision to terminate the plaintiff's employment.  Metro-North’s decision was upheld by a neutral arbitrator to whom the plaintiff appealed under his collective bargaining agreement.  The plaintiff sued Metro-North, as well as his union and his union representative.  With respect to the claims against the railroad, the plaintiff claimed that Metro-North violated the Labor Management Relations Act, and also sought to vacate the arbitrator’s award upholding the termination under theories of due process and fraud.  Following extensive briefing and oral argument, the district court found that the plaintiff's allegations, accepted as true to the extent the record permitted, did not state a viable claim, and dismissed his action in its entirety.  The plaintiff appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which affirmed the district court's ruling.
  • Beck won a unanimous defense verdict after a two-week trial in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut, in two consolidated cases brought by a railroad employee pursuant to the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, which allows railroad workers to sue for on the job injuries caused by the negligence of the railroad.  The plaintiff received electric shocks while working in a train repair shop on two different occasions and claimed partial paralysis, brain injury, cognitive deterioration and facial nerve injuries, all resulting in an inability to work or care for himself.  The plaintiff’s economic damage model included a significant life care plan and lost earning capacity component approaching $15 million.  The plaintiff’s settlement demand was $16 million. There were numerous experts called during the trial of the case by both sides, including electrical experts, economists, neurologists and neuropsychologists.  The jury deliberated for approximately one hour before returning a defense verdict on both cases finding that the railroad was not negligent.
  • Beck tried a case to verdict in the United States District Court on behalf of Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company, in a case involving a Metro-North employee injured on the job and permanently medically disqualified from his railroad occupation following a partial amputation of the plaintiff’s foot.  The pre-trial settlement demand was $875,000 and a final offer of $150,000 was made at close of evidence. After more than one week of evidence and two days of deliberations, the jury found Metro-North only 10% liable and assessed 90% contributory negligence against plaintiff, resulting in a damages award totaling just under $85,000, nearly one-half the final offer.
  • Beck successfully defended Metro-North Commuter Railroad Company in a lawsuit under the Family and Medical Leave Act.  The plaintiff claimed interference and retaliation under the statute, as well as common law intentional infliction of emotional distress.  A jury trial in the United States District Court resulted in a verdict in Metro-North’s favor on the FMLA retaliation and intentional infliction claims.  Although the jury found in the plaintiff's favor on the FMLA interference claim, it awarded plaintiff only $612.50 in damages.  The plaintiff’s pretrial demand had been more than $400,000.
  • Beck obtained a defense verdict in a trial in the United States District Court, in a case involving a Metro-North employee who had claimed retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act.  When the employee later committed suicide, his widow continued to prosecute the retaliation claim, and brought a second claim for wrongful death under the Federal Employer’s Liability Act.  Faced with a demand of $1,600,000, Beck and Chuck tried the case over ten days.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of Metro-North on all counts.