Al Sharpton’s daughter, suing NYC from high places

“Dominique Sharpton posted pictures to Instagram showing she completed a difficult mountain climb in Bali, Indonesia — even though her suit says that ‘she still suffers’ debilitating pain after twisting her ankle in a street crack in Soho last year.” [New York Post and more (“Al Sharpton’s daughter sues city for $5M after spraining ankle”)]


  • I defended these cases for four years of my life, so I ask for permission for a brief rant. The entire business of personal injury lawsuits against the City of New York — which has had payouts in a year’s time of around half a BILLION dollars — is one of the biggest scams of all time. I remember one supervisor in the Bronx estimating that half the cases were fraudulent — and that’s probably being generous. But as the author of this blog notes, the fix is in: all the legislators are themselves personal injury attorneys (see: Sheldon Silver), so expectations of reform are low. Everyone gets a cut: these attorneys, the defense attorneys, the doctors, the judges who preside, you name it. And it all looks so official from the outside. There should be a Pulitzer for the journalist who blows the lid off this thing, but of course, the media take lawyers’ word for everything, so there’s little hope there. Did you realize the city even has liability for ‘negligent snow removal’? Unbelievable!

  • So in response to Anonymous Attorney’s response above I work for an insurance company and my main focus is on handling commercial claims in litigation. My question is why should the City of New York be held to a lower standard of care than a business or individual?

    Now maybe you are talking about the exaggerations of extent of the injury or what would be considered reasonable treatment and I would intend to agree with you there. I believe that is what the article is discussing since she has debilitating pain but is climbing mountains.

    I think it is highly ironic that the cities complain about these liability exposures when they gladly will install sidewalks and then under their municipal code make landowners adjacent to said sidewalks responsible for their maintenance and liability for any injuries arising out of defects. Immunity for me, but not for thee.

    • Ah New York City! What’s not to love? A client of mine got a Notice from the City imposing a sidewalk violation as follows:

      Dear Property Owner:
      Attached is a Notice of Violation along with a Preliminary Inspection Report (PIR) informing you that certain “flags” (squares) of your sidewalk are defective. The report specifically details the types of defects and locations.
      New York City law, under Section 2904 of the New York City Charter and Section 19-152 of the New York City Administrative Code, requires property owners to repair or replace defective flags that are adjacent to their property within 45 days, as specified in the Notice of Violation. Additionally, under Section 7-210 of the NYC Administrative Code, also known as Local Law 49, a property owner may be liable for any personal injury or property damage caused by the failure to maintain a sidewalk in a safe
      condition. Listed on the reverse side of the Notice of Violation are the options you may pursue to eliminate the sidewalk defects.
      In the event that you fail to correct the defects within the time allowed, the City of New York may exercise its right to replace the sidewalk and bill you for the cost. The current rate for sidewalk replacement for one through three family properties, only, is as follows:
      $11.54 per square foot for 4 inch thick sidewalk
      $12.64 per square foot for 7-inch thick sidewalk (driveways)
      Please note that these prices serve as a guideline only and that actual prices depend on when the work is performed.
      Defective sidewalk over vaulted areas (underground piping, or structures) or sidewalks that contain distinctive materials (material other than concrete) will not be replaced under a City contract.
      Please make arrangements to replace your sidewalk privately.
      If you have any questions regarding the Notice of Violation, you may contact the New York City Department of Transportation’s (NYCDOT) Office of Sidewalk Management by dialing 311. If you disagree with the Notice of Violation, you may request a reinspection of your property within the 45 day notification period.

      The work involved was in the order of about $7,500. My client, however, got a quote from a private contractor that was about 20% cheaper than the City’s price.

      Now here’s the kicker:

      Upheaval of the flags by tree roots from the City’s trees were the cause of the broken flags. Properly installing new flags requires cutting the tree roots back. The NYC Parks Dept. then stepped in and sent a letter stating that if the home owner’s contractor should damage the trees, the homeowner may be fined up to $10,000 per tree.

      Sound’s illegal, but go fight City Hall.

  • Will everyone who, given the opportunity to wave their hands and make themselves immune, would not do so, raise a hand?

    Mine is not raised.


  • @ Richard:
    There have been a number of sites which have reported this suit, and some of them have posted copies of Dominique Sharpton’s FaceBook postings and tweets from her post alleged accident vacation in Bali. An Instagram post contains a photo of her and another woman, in the background is a jungle covered mountain top rising through clouds. The post states, in part, “We hiked UP the mountain, over the clouds . . . into SUNRISE.”

    Someone who, post alleged injury, goes hiking up and down jungle mountains (even assuming they have tourist trails) doesn’t appear to be very hurt. But, if an apparently mildly turned ankle is worth $5 Million in a NYC P.I. suit, I guess I know where I’m vacationing.

  • @wfjag

    I agree with the point being made in the article and said as much. I deal with this stuff all the time. My issue was with the above comment that talked about all those crazy “personal injury lawsuits against NYC.” Businesses deal with this all the time and a municipality shouldn’t get held to a lower standard just because it is a municipality.

    As an aside social media is turning out to be such an Achilles heal for the plaintiff bar. You would be amazed how often claim debilitating injuries but post all sorts of fun activities even when their account is open to the public.

  • Richard:

    I don’t see the issue as holding a municipality to a lower standard, though one could defend that position. Trust me: I think the suits against insureds like the ones you work with are just as bogus.

  • Oh, and Sharpton is a tax evading race baiting crook. Can the apple fall far from the trees?