Articles Posted in Municipal Liability

The Metropolitan Transit Authority, responsible for running New York City’s subways and buses, is attempting to dodge responsibility and pin a $30-million award on a homeless man.

In 2012, Naeem Davis, described as “homeless” and “a drifter” by the New York Post, pushed Ki Suck Han in front of a subway train. Arguing that he was only defending himself, Davis was acquitted by a jury just last year. Notably, Davis was too poor to afford an attorney for the murder charge.

bus-300x175Still looking for justice, Ki Suck Han’s family then went after the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The family filed a “wrongful death” lawsuit against the state agency. In short, the family argued that the train operator should have stopped earlier, before Davis had the opportunity to push Han in front of the Q train. According to the family’s attorney, “Just because someone is on the tracks, you can’t run them over and kill them and say it’s not our fault. Davis pushed him, Transit killed him.” Continue reading

Parents of a victim lost to the terrorist attack on one of Lower Manhattan’s bike trails has filed a notice of their intent to sue New York City. The parents of Darren Drake state that New York designed a bike path that was unsafe for people to use. According to them, New York should have foreseen the possibility of a terrorist attack and not allowed the terrorist to have “unfettered” access to the bike path. According to the family, this was “grossly negligent” of the city and its various departments.

bikeBike lanes and bike-sharing programs have shot-up across the world in recent decades. Possibly fueled by urbanite’s increased enthusiasm for exercise and the environment in recent decades, New Yorkers know that the best part of biking is how quickly it can get you somewhere. As bike lanes and Citi Bike’s ridership have skyrocketed in the city over the last few years, the lawsuits have, perhaps predictably, followed. Continue reading

medical-malpracitce-300x200A recent report released by the Department of Veteran Affairs shows the government agency going to great lengths to cover up medical malpractice by its doctors. With over 100 procedures performed incompetently, the routinely-criticized government agency now has a new stain on its reputation. According to the government, most of these botched procedures can be blamed on a single doctor – Dr. Thomas Franchini.

The Department of Veteran Affairs states that of the 100 medical malpractice cases that surfaced during the investigation, 88 could be attributed to the doctor. The stunning number of victims is secondary only to the horrific damage he caused by his incompetence. Of the many examples given by USA Today, the doctor drilled the wrong screw into one veteran’s leg, he once “cut into patients who did not need surgery at all,” and, perhaps, most horrifically he failed to fuse the ankle of a woman. The resulting pain was so great that she chose to have her entire leg removed. Continue reading

According to a watchdog organization, New York has the 47th worst record in the United States when it comes to hospital safety. New York’s ranking has been in a slow decline – dropping a full seven spots in the last five years.

The watchdog group, Leapfrog, was founded by healthcare employers and unions wanting to provide more public information about patient experiences at hospitals. Among other factors, the group considers the rate of medical errors, injuries and infections, and patient satisfaction.

According to LoHud.com, the group is “widely considered among the toughest graders” and gave 15 hospitals an “F” rating this year. Most hospitals receiving a failing grade catered mostly to low-income, minority groups. Of the hospitals that Leapfrog failed, almost 90 percent were rated “average” by Medicare and Medicaid. Continue reading

After a Central Park tree fell on top of a woman, causing significant injuries to her and one of her children, she is now planning to sue the city.  After filing notice with the city, an important and time-sensitive measure whenever seeking to sue a municipality or city in New York, the mother, Anne Goldman, raised concerns about how the city maintains the parks in New York’s most famous park.

tree-fallingThe amazing story took place near 62nd Street on the west side of the park. Goldman was walking with her three young children. Then, according to Goldman, she sacrificed her own safety to protect her children as the giant tree fell on the path.  Goldman’s injuries were the most horrific and the first responders at the scene said she was in and out of consciousness when they arrived. According to her lawyer, she is “not allowed to move her neck for at least two to three months… She can’t pick up her baby, she can’t breast-feed, she can’t do her job.” Goldman says she is in immense pain and her life has been turned “upside down.” Doctors are not sure if she will ever be able to walk normally again. Continue reading

According to a new lawsuit, two federal prison guards in Brooklyn allowed a gang member to attack a fellow inmate causing horrific damage. The injured inmate, Rafael Lopez, alleges in his new lawsuit that the Metropolitan Detention Center knew that Douglas Mendoza was a disturbed person and affiliated with the notoriously violent MS-13 gang.

prison-assaultThe alleged attack took place in September 2016 when Lopez was watching a baseball game in the community room of the Sunset Park prison. Mendoza, who is in prison for murder, then changed the channel. According to Lopez, this sophomoric power play was meant to increase Mendoza’s status among his fellow gang members. After a brief argument, Lopez said that everyone calmed down until Mendoza returned with a sock filled with padlocks. Mendoza then brutally battered Lopez, all within full view of two security guards. Refusing to intervene, a riot squad eventually stopped the bludgeoning. Lopez was left with broken ribs and a lacerated kidney. Unable to protect him from Mendoza, the prison put Lopez in “special housing” for three months before transferring him to another federal jail.  Continue reading

Disgraced New York City Councilman Ruben Wills has sued the City of New York over his treatment while incarcerated on Riker’s Island. According to the former politician, his four-day stint at Rikers caused him immense pain and resulted in his need for a wheelchair. Wills is now trying to hold the Department of Corrections and the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation, which runs medical operations at Rikers, liable for the damages he says were caused by their neglect.

The former councilman was convicted of stealing over $33,000 campaign funds and grants. Wills was originally indicted on multiple fraud and larceny charges in 2014. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that Wills spent government grant money meant for charities at two department stores. Less than a year later, Wills was arrested again on separate charges relating to his campaign. According to the Conflict of Interest Board filings, Wills did not properly disclose his financial dealings.

After refusing a plea deal, Wills was eventually convicted in 2016. The Queens judge who presided over his case immediately expelled him from City Council and sentenced him to two to six years for his crime. Continue reading

Despite its reputation for progressive politics, New York City is failing its residents with physical disabilities. While the subway has long created a nightmare of obstacles for New Yorkers with special needs, sidewalks are also becoming an increasing problem for the city.

Disability advocates point to two main problems with the city’s sidewalks. First, there are an insufficient amount of so-called “curb cuts.” Curb cuts are the term used for the are where the concrete sidewalk becomes level with the asphalt on the street.  For individuals with walkers or wheelchairs, the steady and smooth decline into the street is necessary for their safety. If the curb cut has a large bump or cracks, wheelchairs can be more difficult to navigate, imperiling the safety of the person as he or she attempts to safely cross the street. Continue reading

An audit of Westchester Medical Center (WMC) found company executives were paid millions of dollars in bonuses between 20013 and 2015. State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli’s office found that $4.6 million dollars were to paid to 18 employees without sufficient record keeping as to why the payments were made.  The hospital was audited because it is a public authority, meaning it follows different state laws than the state’s nonprofit hospitals. The audit did find that some largest bonuses, paid to the CEO and CFO, followed state regulations; the two top executives were paid a total of $2.7 million in bonuses over three years.

WMC officials disagreed with many of the findings and noted they will be implementing a new bonus payment program in order to better comply with the state law and regulations cited in the report. The health system stated they maintain their total compensation approach and salary withhold process are in compliance with the incentive guidelines set forth by the Comptroller’s office. Auditors noted that in the past, state regulators have required an evaluation program with specific criteria and other rules. Continue reading

NYU Langone Medical Center was investigated by the state after a patient caught fire during surgery; the facility was cited due to lapses in safety procedures and communication.  The fire took place in December 2014 when a medical instrument accidentally reacted with the patient’s oxygen and sparked a fire. The Department of Health inspected the hospital and declared an “immediate jeopardy” situation due to the gaps in safety procedures and communication.  The New York Post was able to obtain the report on the incident through a Freedom of Information Law request,  however the report was heavily redacted.

The name of the patient, nature of surgery, and type of instrument that caused the fire were not revealed in the report, making it unclear as to what injuries the patient sustained. The operating room staff told investigators that a fire-risk assessment was conducted prior to the surgery, but they did not provide any details of the strategies or actions of prevention that were discussed. The operation room fire occurred at the beginning of December, but there was no evidence that the hospital took remedial steps to implement prevention protocols until the after the state inspection later that month.

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