Personal Injury Attorney Steve Barnes Killed in Small Plane Crash Outside Buffalo
In this photo from Spectrum News Buffalo, a helicopter orbits the site of a small plane crash near Pembroke, New York on October 2, 2020. Two people on board the plane died. (Spectrum News Buffalo via AP)
Personal injury attorney Steve Barnes was killed Friday when his small plane crashed outside of Buffalo, longtime partner Ross Cellino confirmed in a statement.
Cellino & Barnes, founded in Buffalo, became famous for its memorable jingle and ubiquitous billboards, although recent headlines have focused on the company’s liquidation and related lawsuits.
Barnes and Cellino had geographically divided the company’s many offices, with Barnes running his own business in New York City and California, among others.
Barnes’ niece Elizabeth Barnes was the only other passenger on the plane, and she was also killed in the crash that occurred around noon in Genesee County. Her father Richard Barnes is also a partner in the company.
Cellino said he was “deeply saddened” by the loss along with everyone at the company.
“Steve and I worked together in our company for many years,” said Cellino. “He’s always been a fearless advocate for his clients. His death is a significant loss to the legal community. “
The flight took off from Manchester, New Hampshire and flew to Buffalo, according to flight records. The aircraft, a Socata TBM 700, was registered with an LLC at the same address as the Cellino & Barnes Buffalo office, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, which is standard practice.
Barnes, a US Marine veteran, served in Kuwait during the Gulf War. He is survived by his three children and his long-time partner Ellen Sturm, who is also the firm’s lawyer.
Cellino & Barnes received multiple eight-digit judgments and settlements on behalf of its clients during Barnes’s nearly three decades with the company, and the company reported that total profits were more than $ 2 billion.
Barnes’ own company, The Barnes Firm, said in a statement late Friday that Barnes and his niece “are sorely missed by many”.
“Steve has been a friend, colleague, partner, and mentor to so many people in our company, in New York, California and beyond,” the statement said. “He was a giant in the legal industry, a proud marine and a loving father.”
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