Personal-injury lawyer Harry Lipsig, who gained fame and riches by showing, among other things, that a man had been frightened to death by a car and that a hotel was to blame for a shark attack, has died at age 93.
He had suffered from heart disease and died Friday night at his Manhattan home, said his son-in-law and law partner, Mark Manus.Energetic, flamboyant and driven by a passion for perfection, Lipsig became known as the "King of Torts" and "The Equalizer" for a string of huge settlements in seemingly long-shot cases.
He continued practicing law into his 90s, though in recent years he curtailed his courtroom appearances. His law firm recently settled for $15.5 million a lawsuit Lipsig filed less than a week after the 1990 Happy Land social club fire that killed 87 in the Bronx.
Lipsig's earlier victories included winning $740,000 for a heart-attack victim's family by convincing a jury the man had been frightened to death by a car that rolled onto his lawn.
Lipsig once proved that an Acapulco hotel was to blame when a shark attacked a guest because the hotel had dumped garbage into the ocean and failed to warn guests that it might attract sharks. Such victories helped win him adoring profiles in Time magazine and The Wall Street Journal.
In 1988, Lipsig also acted as an exhibit when he argued that a 71-year-old psychologist, run over by a police car driven by a drunken officer, could have earned money for years to come.
"He could well have outlived me," argued Lipsig, then 86. City lawyers settled for $1.25 million.