NYT on Bronx courts

New York Times probes patronage-ridden Bronx courts: “Last summer, Justice Douglas E. McKeon, up for re-election to State Supreme Court in the Bronx, decided he needed to raise some campaign money. … fearing a tough fight, his campaign obtained a membership list from the state trial lawyers’ association and used it to send solicitations to Bronx and Manhattan trial lawyers. The lawyers donated by the dozens.

“Among the largest donors were law firms and lawyers who routinely file malpractice lawsuits against the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs the public hospitals. The judge is the Bronx justice assigned to cases against the corporation, handling a lengthy list of malpractice suits charging that patients were neglected at Jacobi, Lincoln, North Central Bronx and other hospitals. …

“In all, the 150 or so donors to the McKeon committee have some 300 current cases before him, according to a comparison of the donor list and an electronic database of court records compiled by LexisNexis. Justice McKeon’s fund-raising strategy is common” both in the Bronx and in the rest of New York. Also many details on judges’ dispensing of lucrative guardianships to favored attorneys (see Nov. 11; Dec. 20, 2001) (Clifford J. Levy, Kevin Flynn, Leslie Eaton and Andy Newman, “A Bronx Judiciary Awash in Patronage, All Legal”, New York Times, Jan. 3)(see Dec. 20, 1999; May 1, 2000). The Bronx has the reputation of awarding the highest medical malpractice verdicts in the country.

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