Articles Posted in Municipal Liability

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The Leading Cities study found that 70% of women avoid walking in cities out of fear of sexual assault.

A new study examining the gendered nature of urban design, published by Leading Cities, found that the risk of sexual assault disproportionately prevents women from walking around their cities. Continue reading

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Activists are campaigning to get the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act passed this legislative session in Albany.

Earlier this month a group of safe-streets lobbying groups in New York released the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act, a collection of eight pieces of legislation “that will better support victims of traffic violence and make streets safer across New York State at a moment when traffic fatalities and speeding are both on the rise,” according to advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. The lobbying group, which includes Families for Safe Streets and and other organizations, is campaigning for the passage of these eight bills this year.

The eight bills in the Crash Victims Rights and Safety Act include the following, according to StreetsBlog NYC:

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New York City paid $142.4 million to settle car crash injury claims involving city employees in FY2020.

The New York City Comptroller’s office recently released a report showing that between July 1, 2019 until June 30, 2020, New York City paid $142.4 million to settle “1,390 claims filed by people injured by the on-the-job driving practices of city employees.” StreetsBlog NYC reported earlier this month that this figure reflects a 3% increase in car crash claims since the previous fiscal year and a 33% increase in total settlements.

In contrast to the increase in claims concerning injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents, according to StreetsBlog, the Comptroller’s report showed a decline in total personal injury claims against New York City, “from 16,713 in fiscal year 2019 to 15,553 in 2020.” In a statement, Comptroller Scott Stringer suggested this was tied to the coronavirus pandemic, saying: “The pandemic took an unimaginable toll on our neighbors and loved ones, small businesses, and the way we all work and live. Protecting and strengthening the city’s fiscal health is now more important than ever to make a strong economic recovery.”

A new study released by the American Journal of Industrial Medicine showed that falls remain the second leading cause of death for workers across the country. The study showed that falls represented 14 percent of all workplace fatalities in the United States during an 11-year period between 2003 and 2014. Workers with the highest rates of fatal falls were employed in the construction industry, representing 42.2 percent of all fatalities, and installation, maintenance, and repair, representing 12.5 percent of all workplace fatalities caused by falls.

Overall, a total of 8,800 workers died in America as the result of a fall during this 11-year period. The falls were further divided into the “length of the fall” and, unsurprisingly, workers that fell a single story or more were more likely to die as a result – with 84.7 percent of all worker deaths caused by a fall of “more than one level.” For workers that fell, but not a full story or level, only 12.7 percent of workers died. The remaining 2.6 percent passed away from “all other types of falls.”

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Workplace fatalities in New York rose 55 percent during 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. With 87 deaths during the year, the number of workplace fatalities has not been this high since 2008. The high number of deaths is especially surprising because the number of construction fatalities, the industry with the highest number of deaths each year, remained flat. Further, the high number of deaths follows a historically low number of deaths in the immediately preceding year. In 2016, only 56 workers died while performing their duties.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the high number of deaths was caused by two anomalies. First, the year saw an oddly high number of deaths caused by “falls, slips, and trips” outside of the construction industry. In total, 31 people died during the year compared to 13 in 2016. Second, seven finance workers, an industry not known for its hazardous job conditions, died during the year. No finance workers died while working in the immediately preceding five years. In another historical anomaly, workers dying from “unintentional overdoses” almost doubled from 10 to 18. With more Americans addicted to dangerous opiates, economic analysts expect this number to continue to increase.

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New York lawmakers are revisiting the state’s century-old scaffolding law that requires construction companies to cover the full cost of all workplace injuries. According to The New York Daily News, the recent conversation about reforming New York’s construction safety laws comes at the behest of the Trump administration and the construction industry, which are looking for ways to reduce the price of construction projects in New York. As the only state in the country with the so-called “Scaffolding Law,” critics of the law say it increases the cost of construction and believe the time to reform the laws and join the rest of the country have arrived.

According to the construction industry owners, the scaffolding law significantly increases the cost of constructing a building in the state. In some circumstances, the law pushes costs so high that entire construction projects are canceled. As evidence of these claims, critics of the law point to a 2013 study from SUNY Rockefeller Institute which determined the law costs private businesses approximately $1.5 billion and taxpayers almost $800 million for public projects each year. The Trump administration told Gov. Cuomo in a recent meeting that the law would make the Gateway Project, a vital infrastructure project in the Northeast, almost $300 million more expensive. With the citywide building boom driving up wages for construction workers coupled with the increased price of construction materials caused by President Trump’s tariffs, the federal government is looking for ways to lower the price of the Gateway Project. Continue reading

Cindy Frey, the widow of late Eagle’s co-founder Glenn Frey, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mt. Sinai hospital and physician Steven Itzkowitz. The lawsuit alleges the hospital and doctor were negligent in failing to properly diagnose and treat the health conditions that led to his untimely death in January 2016. Frey died at the age of 67 from complications resulting from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia, according to The Rolling Stone.

glen-frey-wrongful-death-300x158According to the lawsuit, Glenn Frey was under the care of the Upper East Side hospital and Dr. Itzkowitz between October 2015 and November 2015. The lawsuit alleges that a competent doctor, acting in similar circumstances, would have diagnosed and promptly treated the Eagles co-founder’s “ulcerative colitis and associated symptoms.” Ulcerative colitis is a form of irritable bowel disease. Further, the lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court, the lowest court in the Empire State, a competent doctor would have assessed Frey’s respiratory problems – the ultimate cause of his death. Dr. Itzkowitz, according to the lawsuit, did not properly check for the problems, diagnose the infection, or hospitalize him. Continue reading

A Queens mom has sued New York City for a missing stop sign that caused the Uber she was riding in to crash, injuring herself and her one-month-old son. The mother, Oddeth Davidson, was traveling with her infant son, Kaiden Brown, in a ride-share vehicle when another car T-boned the Uber in Cambria Heights at the intersection of 225th street and 120th Avenue on January 11, according to the New York Post. According to the lawsuit, the Department of Transportation’s negligence in failing to replace the stop sign, which had allegedly been missing for several months, caused the accident and should, therefore, be responsible for the damages.

In total, Davidson is suing for $45 million in damages – $30 million for her child’s injuries, $10 million for her own injuries, and $5 million for the anticipated costs of caring for her brain-damaged child. The car accident left the young infant with traumatic brain injuries, seizure disorder, and a neck injury from the crash, according to the New York Post. “He is under the care of a neurosurgeon and a pediatric neurologist. This could be catastrophic and affect him for the rest of his life,” Davidson said of her infant child.

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Two New York City hospitals are being sued for the damages caused by the release of allegedly dangerous patients from their psychiatric wards. In the past month, two lawsuits have been filed against New York City hospitals alleging that the hospitals behaved in a negligent or careless manner when they released dangerous patients into the tri-state area. These patients then went on to physically attack the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

subway-push-victim-300x200The first case involves Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, where a Queens man is suing the hospital after one of its patients pushed her husband in front of a subway car last year. Tragically, the man’s wife died as a result of the fall. According to the lawsuit, Bellevue never should have released the patient, Melanie Liverpool-Turner. Liverpool-Turner, a diagnosed schizophrenic, was allegedly ranting about killing transit riders while on an involuntary psychiatric hold at the hospital, according to filings with a Manhattan Supreme Court. Continue reading

bronx-fire-300x198A month after one of New York’s deadliest fires in a quarter-century killed 13 people, the survivors and their families have sued the city. Eleven of the victims are seeking a combined $110 million from the Administration for Child Services Department (ACS) alleging that the mother of the child was known to the city’s welfare agency for her neglectful parenting, according to court documents. The victims allege that because the welfare agency knew of the mother’s subpar parenting skills, they should have taken steps to either remove the child from the mother or otherwise protect the residents of their building.

On December 27, 2017, a three-year-old child was playing with the fire that came off the stove-top burner when the deadly fire supposedly erupted.  According to the lawsuit, the child began playing with the knobs on the stove in the kitchen after his mother left him and his two-year-old sibling to watch TV while she took a shower. According to authorities, the mother said this was not the first time her son had played with the stove. Continue reading

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