Posts Tagged ‘NYC’

John Avlon, “Sue City”

Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow John Avlon, in Forbes:

New York City spends more money on lawsuits than the next five largest American cities — Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix and Philadelphia — combined. The city’s $568 million outlay in fiscal year 2008 was more than double what it spent 15 years ago and 20 times what it paid in 1977.

And the odd and extreme cases continue:

A Brooklyn insurance investigator won $2.3 million this year after he tumbled onto the subway tracks with a 0.18 blood-alcohol level and lost his right leg. (“They’re not allowed to hit you just because you’re drunk and on the track,” his lawyer explained.) A corrections officer received $7.25 million after unsuccessfully attempting suicide, on the grounds that the city should not have permitted her to have a gun. (“Ms. Jones could just have easily turned her city-authorized firearm on anyone,” her lawyer said.)

The piece is adapted from a contribution to a City Journal symposium, “New York’s Tomorrow”, and there’s also an associated podcast (cross-posted from Point of Law). More: Eric Turkewitz talks back from a plaintiff’s point of view (“when you account for inflation, there really hasn’t been much change at all” [compared with 15 years ago)] (& welcome Above the Law, WSJ Law Blog readers)

NYC subway track totterer awarded $5.95 million

You can hardly blame the lawyers for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority if they thought the case looked defensible. John Hochfelder:

the jury heard evidence that on December 12, 2002, James Sanders fell onto the tracks as a subway car in Brooklyn was coming into the station at about 15 mph. The jury was also apprised of the facts that Sanders had been returning from methadone treatment and had drunk pure rum before entering the station (a fact he initially denied).

Then, there were these additional facts:

  • Sanders could not recall why he fell
  • the motorman’s speed was no more than 15 mph
  • witnesses testified that the train was no more than 20 feet away when Sanders fell onto the track

The “last clear chance” doctrine, as Hochfelder explains, provided enough of a basis for Sanders’ lawyer to persuade a jury that the subway motorman was 70 percent responsible for the accident.

More on tipsy track totterers: Feb. 19, etc.

April 28 roundup

  • Forensics gone wrong: Alabama mom spends nine months in jail after medical examiner misdiagnoses stillbirth as murder [Patrick @ Popehat]
  • Bouncer shot outside bar going after owners individually to collect $1.5 million verdict [W.V. Record]
  • “Feds Seize Assets of Companies Suspected of Hiring Illegal Aliens” [Reisinger, Corporate Counsel]
  • Dealing with compulsive-hoarder tenants who fill apartment up to the ceiling with trash can be legally tricky [San Francisco Weekly]
  • NYC has paid more than a half billion dollars over past decade to settle police misconduct suits [NY Post]
  • Los Angeles schools taking aim at state laws that make it near impossible to fire teachers [L.A. Daily News via Kaus]
  • Another parent put through mistaken-identity child-support hell, this time in Pennsylvania [Harrisburg Patriot-News via Amy Alkon] For a similar case from California, see August 7-8, 2001;
  • Disabled man finds vehicle towed, wheels himself in cold to distant lot, catches pneumonia. Liability for tow company and parking lot owner? [John Hochfelder, who also hosts Blawg Review #209 this week on a theme of remembering his father, a veteran of the WWII battle of Iwo Jima]

April 18 roundup

Says he didn’t mug her (but does want her money)

Deron Johnson, 48, a man “with a lengthy rap sheet”, denies that he was trying to rob Margaret Johnson, 59, of her purse and gold chain when she shot him from her motorized wheelchair with her licensed .357 Magnum. Cops grabbed him but he won acquittal at trial and he’s now suing her and the landlord of her Lenox Terrace housing complex in Harlem, asking millions. [New York Post]

More: Scott Greenfield has questions, as does Bill Poser in comments.