Troy, Latham & Saratoga Offices


Call(518) 274-5820

View MapThe Jones Building
28 Second Street
Troy, NY


Call(518) 783-3843

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7 Airport Park Boulevard
Latham, NY


Call(518) 584-8886

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511 Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY


E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy Law Firm Represents Victim of Synthetic Marijuana


TROY – The family of Victor Woolson, a 19-year-old from Oswego, New York who died in 2012 after consumption of over-the-counter synthetic marijuana, has succeeded in a wrongful death lawsuit against Brian Colombo, owner of Xtreme Underground, a smoke shop located in Oswego. The family received $350,000 in the settlement. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm, who represented the family in the wrongful death lawsuit, is also pursuing for damages, Charles Burton Ritchie, who owns ZIW, LLC and manufactured the product.

John Harwick, Albany based lawyer at E. Stewart jones Hacker Murphy

Attorney John Harwick

“We are aggressively pursuing the individuals who manufactured this poison,” said John Harwick, attorney for E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy. “Selling an improperly labeled product that was not reasonably safe for its intended purpose is inexcusable under the law. The defendants knew, or should have known, the true intended purpose of the product and the dangers associated with such.”

Synthetic marijuana, called Spice, has reportedly led to several negative side effects, including psychotic episodes. Although this “designer drug” was sold over-the-counter and marketed as potpourri and incense, experts report it was smoked by consumers and was much more powerful and dangerous than marijuana.

Woolson smoked a product called K2 Avalanche Incense before going swimming in a local lake. After a reaction to the product, during which Woolson lost control of his bodily functions, he drowned. A toxicity report showed that the only chemical in his body was the synthetic marijuana.

Avalanche was manufactured, distributed and marketed by ZIW, LLC. The product contained no labeling information on use, side effect warnings or potential dangers, and no reference regarding who made the product or how it was manufactured. However, the product was labeled falsely as having 100% all natural ingredients, when in fact it included synthetic psychotropic drug, which are considered hallucinogenic substances.

Avalanche was created with the illegal drug, XLR-11, illegally obtained from China and mixed in with plant matter. Ritchie sold ZIW in 2012 and is now a producer for Heritec Films, an indie movie production company. ZIW made millions of dollars a year on synthetic cannabinoids before it was sold. Richie is also the subject of lawsuits being pursued in Virginia and Oregon.


About E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy: The January 2015 merger of the E. Stewart Jones and Hacker Murphy law firms created an entity with a combined 134-year track record of success in the Upstate New York legal community. With offices in Albany, Troy, Latham and Saratoga Springs, the firm’s 15 attorneys offer unparalleled legal counsel in the areas of commercial litigation, property tax dispute, criminal defense and personal injury law. For more information, visit


Get Prepared For Safe Driving In The Winter

Safe Winter DrivingIn Upstate New York, winter can be one of the most beautiful seasons of the year, but it can also be the most dangerous. If you’re planning to travel this winter, be sure that you properly prepare your vehicle and follow our three key winter driving tips.

Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter

To avoid any potentially hazardous situations while traveling this winter, be sure to have your vehicle winterized by having the following inspected next time you have your vehicle serviced.

  • Ignition, fuel, cooling and exhaust systems
  • Fluid levels and windshield wipers
  • Tire tread, pressure and alignment
  • Battery, lights, brakes, belts and defroster

Remember, always keep your fuel tank as close to full as possible. This minimizes condensation and adds extra weight to the vehicle. Be sure to pack your car with seasonal essentials – ice/snow brush, sandbags (if needed for traction), jumper cables, road flares, a blanket and flashlight with batteries.

NY Winter Driving Tips

  1. Be sure to remove ice and snow from your vehicle, especially from all windows and lights. Don’t forget to clear off the hood, roof and trunk. Also, remember to check your local road conditions, you can do this quickly and right from your cellphone by calling 511.
  2. Just because you have a 4×4 or all wheel drive vehicle, doesn’t mean you should get comfortable in adverse winter conditions. Brake early. Brake carefully. Brake correctly. In snowy ad icy conditions it takes longer distances for a vehicle to stop – be sure to leave sufficient space between yourself and other drivers at all times.
  3. Please remember to slow down this winter season – posted speed limits are for dry pavement, not snowy or icy conditions. Also, please remember to buckle your seatbelt, it’s the law.

For more winter driving tips, visit the AAA website.

If you have been injured in a car accident, contact us immediately to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. We offer convenient meeting times at any of our four regional law offices in Albany, Troy, Latham and Saratoga Springs, NY.

The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy legal team is also available 24/7 for emergency situations by calling (518) 274-5820. We are here to help you through this difficult time.

E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy Firm Named to “Best Law Firms” 2016

Best Law FirmE. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy Law Firm Named to “Best Law Firms” 2016

Firm awarded Metropolitan Tier 1 for Albany

TROY – Law firm E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy has been selected by its peers for inclusion in the 2016 “Best Law Firms” U.S News and World Report publication. Awarded tier one (the highest level of recognition) for Albany, New York, the firm received recognition in six practice areas

The practice areas in which the firm earned this distinction are: Commercial Litigation; Criminal Defense: Non-White Collar and White-Collar; DUI/DWI Defense; Legal Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs; and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. The selection process of “Best Law Firms” is rigorous, including peer review and client and lawyer evaluations. There are no fees to submit information or receive a rankinlawfirms-badgeg in the publication. The sixth edition of “Best Law Firms” is available online today, and will be published in print in mid-December.

Four attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy were named “Best Lawyers” 2016 in August. E. Stewart Jones, Jr., James E. Hacker, John F. Harwick and Meghan R. Keenholts received a cumulative 15 awards in the publication. E. Stewart Jones, Jr. has been an awardee of Best Lawyers since its inception in 1983.


About E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy: The January 2015 merger of the E. Stewart Jones and Hacker Murphy law firms created an entity with a combined 134-year track record of success in the Upstate New York legal community. With offices in Albany, Troy, Latham and Saratoga Springs, the firm’s 15 attorneys offer unparalleled legal counsel in the areas of commercial litigation, property tax dispute, criminal defense and personal injury law. For more information, visit

Negligence and New York State Law

NegligenceYou may hear it on TV shows and in the movies, but do you actually know what the word “negligence” means when it comes to New York State law? More importantly, if you become a victim of someone else’s negligence, what would you do? Do you know your legal rights?

There is an implied responsibility for every person to use ordinary care to protect the safety and well being of others. The failure to exercise such care in protecting others from a risk of harm could render one liable for injuries.

In New York State, civil remedies exist to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. For example, if you are injured in a car accident because a driver fails to use reasonable care in the operation of his vehicle, or if you are injured on someone else’s property because the owner failed to maintain the premises in a safe condition, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim to receive compensation for your injuries.

Negligence requires elimination of foreseeable and unreasonable risk but does not require the elimination of all risk. It is measured by an objective, prudent person standard. Would a prudent person text while driving? Would a prudent person leave a broken step on his stairs?  In order to sue and be compensated for negligence, there must be evidence that the defendant failed to act reasonably under the circumstances and that failure must have been a direct and proximate cause of the injuries and damages suffered.

Behind every case of negligence is a person who has been hurt. At E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy, our experienced attorneys have dedicated our careers to helping people obtain the compensation owed to them due to someone else’s negligence.

If you are injured and want to know if you could be compensated due to someone else’s negligence, contact the law offices of E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling personal injury cases across New York State, and can meet you at any of our four regional offices located in AlbanyTroyLatham and Saratoga Springs, NY.

Breathalyzer Test: To Blow or Not To Blow?

S80-copIf pulled over after drinking you might ask yourself, “To blow or not to blow”?  That is a question that  DWI defense attorneys in the Albany area hear all the time.   Under New York State law, by operating a motor vehicle in this state, you have consented to a chemical test of your breath or blood.  Upon an arrest for driving while intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol, you still have a right to refuse to submit to such a test.  However, if you are lawfully arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a refusal to submit  can result in the revocation of your New York driving privileges for one year

There are times when it may not be in your best interest to submit to a chemical test, whether it is a breath test or a blood test.  For example, when a person is potentially facing a felony charge because of a prior conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident in which someone is hurt or injured, submitting to a chemical test may not be in the motorist’s best interest.

Under either of these circumstances, a conviction could also result in incarceration and loss of driving privileges.

Whether you should submit to a chemical test ultimately depends upon the particular facts and circumstances that you find yourself in, and that’s why it’s critical that if you’re ever arrested for driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs, you consult with an attorney before you determine whether or not to take the chemical test.  Asking to contact an attorney prior to submitting to a chemical test after being arrested for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) or DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired – by drugs or alcohol) does not in and of itself constitute a refusal to take the test.  In fact, it can be the one of the smartest decisions you make.

In every case, whether the police had the right to request that our client submit to a chemical test is something that we examine and, where appropriate, we challenge that issue in court, and seek to suppress any chemical test results that have been obtained against our clients. 

If you wish to fight a DWI charge, contact us immediately to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced DWI/DUI/DWAI attorneys. We offer convenient meeting times at any of our four regional law offices in AlbanyTroyLatham and Saratoga Springs, NY.

The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy legal team is also available 24/7 for emergency situations by calling (518) 274-5820.  We are here to help you through this difficult time.

For more information on DWI laws in New York State, take a moment to read DMV’s guide on DWI laws.

Distracted Driving Is Dangerous Driving

Distracted Driver Caused Serious Injury Albany LawyersThe facts are clear: distracted driving is dangerous driving. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an estimated 424,000 injuries and 3,154 fatalities occurred in 2013 due to distracted driving.

Many drivers do not realize that distracted driving does not just mean using your cell phone. Injuries can occur from all forms of distracted driving and our firm is ready to represent those impacted by accidents stemming from:

  • Eating while driving
  • Listening to headphones while driving
  • Reading while driving
  • Applying makeup while driving
  • Distracted by other people in the car (such as kids in the backseat or a teenage driver with a car full of friends)

From our experience, distracted driving accidents have caused serious injuries including: back and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, burns, scars, disfigurement, traumatic brain injury and paralysis.

Our experienced legal team are ready to take action to protect your rights. Contact us now for a free personal injury consultation by phone or schedule a confidential in-person meeting at one of our four offices in the Capital Region: Albany, Latham, Troy, or Saratoga Springs, NY. We are here to help you through this difficult time.

F. Redmond Griffin receives prestigious Jones Award

Prominent Troy attorney, Griffin is recognized by his peers.

The entire Albany Times Union story is available below, or by clicking here

Albany Times Union Story on Saratoga Springs man freed from confiment

Story Reprinted from the Times Union

Troy – A staircase rising up from Congress Street to the front door of Russell Sage College’s Manning Hall is where F. Redmond  “Red” Griffin began developing his expertise in planning and zoning law. “I love it. You’re dealing with people in the areas that mean so much to them,” said Griffin, 82.

Griffin began his dive into planning and zoning when he volunteered to take on the case for Russell Sage College. He recounted how he convinced the city to grant a variance to allow the stairs to be erected at the corner of Congress and Second streets in the city right of way.

From that set of stairs Griffin continued an upward climb that has seen him tackle some of the largest projects in the city for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Samaritan Hospital, Troy Savings Bank and Russell Sage. When he looks around, he sees the buildings that he helped make possible through variances and planning.

Whether it’s dealing with legal issues for RPI regarding its nuclear reactor in Schenectady or getting the city to approve fraternities converting downtown churches into their frat houses, Griffin is the lawyer you go to in Troy.

“He did what some people thought would be impossible to do,” said Paul Marano, alumni advisor to the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity.

The impossible was convincing the city to allow the former St. Francis de Sales Church on Congress Street to become the fraternity’s house.

“Red’s quite a character, very personable, a straight talker,” Marano said.

“He’s the king,” said Michael E. Ginsberg about his partner at Patterson, Sampson Ginsberg & Griffin.

The Rensselaer County Bar Association is recognizing Griffin and his 55-year legal career when it presents the 2015 Jones Award to him Thursday at a dinner.

The Jones Award is named for the late E. Stewart Jones Sr. of Troy, known for his legendary criminal defense work.

“Red Griffin is a fine example to each of us in the way he has conducted his private, public and professional life. A life that indeed reflects the dedication and service to both his profession and his community as did Mr. Jones,” said Kelly A. Cramer, president of the bar association.

Griffin, who was raised in Watervliet, graduated from La Salle Institute, Bowling Green University and Albany Law School. Griffin and his wife, Deborah, live in Brunswick. They have three children and four grandchildren.

The dinner’s proceeds support continuing restoration and preservation of the photos and oil on canvas paintings of the attorneys, judges and prominent community leaders of the past which were located in the Rensselaer County Courthouse when the historic edifice was restored in 1998. So far, nine pictures among the collection of more than 25 have been restored and returned to courthouse walls.

Griffin joins previous Jones Award recipients, all of whom are prominent in county legal circles. They include Jones’s son, E. Stewart Jones Jr., a trial attorney; Joyce M. Galante, a Troy matrimonial attorney; and retired Rensselaer County Surrogate Conrad H. Lang Jr.

The dinner will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Bush Memorial, Russell Sage College.

For more information, call 436-4170. The dinner is open to the public.

Story by Ken Crowe, Times Union,, 518-454-5084