Posts Tagged ‘New York state’

Great moments in public employee tenure

New York State has agreed to pay $6 million to settle claims that disabled residents of a Bronx group home for developmentally disabled adults were physically abused and neglected by staff, and the state has also spent a further $5.7 million thus far defending the staff members in court [Benjamin Weiser, New York Times] However, don’t assume that any public employees lost their jobs:

A state investigation later substantiated allegations of misconduct by 13 workers.

But the state failed to fire any of the employees, The New York Times reported in June.

A state arbitration process shielded the workers who had been cited for abuse and neglect. They were typically sent to other jobs in the system.

As part of the settlement, lawyers representing families insisted that the group home be removed from the control of the New York state government. [cross-posted at Cato at Liberty with some additional comments on privatization and accountability]

Schools and childhood roundup

Liability roundup

  • As one who wrote at length about the silicone-implant litigation at the time — founded as it was on junk science theories hyped to panic potential plaintiffs — I agree that Elizabeth Warren has nothing to apologize for about her bankruptcy work for Dow Corning. Move on to better criticisms, please [Darren McKinney, WSJ] Related: Federalist Society teleforum on mass tort bankruptcies with Steven Todd Brown, Ralph Brubaker, and Dan Prieto;
  • “What should be the duty of public retailers whose customers have bizarre or offensive clothing, appearance, demeanor or behavior but do not actually engage in or threaten violence on the retailers’ premises? To avoid risk, should the retailers exclude them from their stores?” [Eugene Volokh quoting federal court opinion in Budreau v. Shaw’s Supermarkets, Inc. (D. Maine)]
  • New York residents should brace for higher taxes as trial-lawyer-backed bill in Albany exposes public authorities to more road claims [John Whittaker, Jamestown Post-Journal]
  • “Kansas Supreme Court Throws Out Personal Injury Damages Cap” [Associated Press]
  • Whose proposal for joint trial counts as triggering removal of mass action under the Class Action Fairness Act? The court’s? Choice between federal and state courts implicates fundamental questions of fairness [Eric Alexander, Drug and Device Law on Supreme Court certiorari petition in Pfizer v. Adamyan]
  • Glyphosate, talc verdicts suggest juries may be paying more attention to purported smoking-gun documents than to scientific evidence on causation [Daniel D. Fisher, Northern California Record; Corbin Barthold, WLF] “Inconsistent Gatekeeping Undercuts the Continuing Promise of Daubert” [Joe G. Hollingsworth and Mark A. Miller, WLF]

Disabled rights roundup

Discrimination law roundup

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signs into law two doubtfully constitutional bills applying to campuses an overbroad, subjective definition of sexual harassment, and requiring all college employees to report such conduct on pain of criminal penalty [Tyler Coward, FIRE]
  • New York adopts workplace harassment law that’s much more speech-hostile than federal, including a dropping of the requirement that prohibited expression be “severe or pervasive” [Hans Bader; Wiggin & Dana, NLR; Douglas Oldham, Barnes & Thornburg]
  • One to watch: SCOTUS will decide standard for proving s. 1981 discrimination claims, in case accusing Comcast of bias in not carrying programming of black network [ABA Journal]
  • A thumbs-down review: “The Kamala Harris Plan to Address the Gender Pay Gap,” Cato Daily Podcast with Ryan Bourne and Caleb Brown;
  • Even when there’s nothing unlawful about an eviction, city bars landlords from telling tenants they’re being evicted for discriminatory reasons. Laws banning truthful business speech about lawful conduct should trip First Amendment review [Ilya Shapiro on Cato amicus brief in Seeberger v. Davenport Civil Rights Commission]
  • Second Circuit withdraws decision that held landlords liable for tenant-on-tenant harassment under Fair Housing Act [Scott Greenfield, earlier]

Bloomberg investigation: “confessions of judgment” and NY debt collection

In New York, unlike some other states, the law permits liberal use in business lending of a device called confession of judgment, in which borrowers “sign a statement giving up their right to defend themselves if the lender takes them to court.” Among the consequences: the lender may hold the wherewithal to seize the borrower’s assets unilaterally upon filing affidavits. Following the growth of lenders who advance cash to small businesses at extremely high interest rates, tens of thousands of business borrowers have experienced enforcement actions, often filed in upstate New York counties with little connection to either lender or borrower. Sharp practices? “In dozens of interviews and court pleadings, borrowers describe lenders who’ve forged documents, lied about how much they were owed, or fabricated defaults out of thin air.” [Zachary R. Mider and Zeke Faux, Bloomberg, in what is billed as the first of a series on the merchant cash advance industry] More: Scott Greenfield.

Liability roundup

  • A win for class action objector Ted Frank as Seventh Circuit allows him to challenge what he described as “objector blackmail” payments to other intervenors [Amanda Bronstad, National Law Journal, Pearson v. NBTY]
  • City of Seattle pays $13 million to settle suit alleging negligent probation supervision of drunk driver [Jessica Lee, Seattle Times, Brian Flores, KCPQ, my 2005 take on Washington’s unique rules on sovereign immunity and more]
  • “Family sues Dum Dum lollipop maker over son’s alleged choking incident” [Alexandria Hein, Fox News]
  • Thanks to New York’s Scaffold Law, co-op and condo boards “can be held liable for millions of dollars in damages – even if the injured worker was drunk or failed to use safety equipment.” [Habitat mag] “Coverage for East Side Access [infrastructure project] has surpassed half a billion dollars” [Will Bredderman, Crain’s New York]
  • As Brett Kavanaugh’s SeaWorld dissent shows, he’s a judge who takes assumption of risk seriously [ABA Journal, SeaWorld v. Perez]
  • Twiqbal pleading standards continue to do good, this time in New York state courts [Drug & Device Law]

Liability roundup

Schools and childhood roundup