January 2011 News - The New York Personal Injury Law Blog

The New York Personal Injury Blog

January 2011 Archives

Inspectors Find PCBs At Brooklyn's Public School 11

According to the New York Daily News, Environmental Protection Agency inspectors discovered toxic levels of dangerous cancer-causing substances at Clinton Hill's Public School 11. Inspectors found toxic PCBs seeping out of the school's light fixtures earlier this past month, causing much concern to many Brooklyn parents.

"They've got to do something about this - children could be getting sick," said 50-year-old Brenton Palmer, who has two children attending PS 11. School administrators have already informed parents about the issue in letters sent home with students.

New York May Ban Use Of Mobile Devices While Crossing Street

Several New York lawmakers believe pedestrians may be distracting themselves with devices like cell phones and iPods as they cross streets, which can ultimately affect traffic safety. To resolve the issue, a bill pending with New York's transportation committee seeks to prohibit the use of electronic devices while crossing streets and even includes runners and other exercisers in its legislation.

"The big thing has been distracted driving," said policy specialist Anne Teigen. "But now it's moving into other ways technology can distract you, into everyday things." According to The New York Times, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported pedestrian accident deaths have risen significantly for the first time in four years.

Juan Batten Killed In Brooklyn Tortilla Factory

Police said Guatemalan immigrant Juan Batten, 22, was crushed to death after falling into a dough mixer at the Tortilleria Chinantla factory in Brooklyn. According to the New York Daily News, the plant's security video showed Batten reaching into the mixer as if he were trying to grab something and then suddenly getting sucked into the waist-high tub.

Batten's wife Rosario Ramirez said she was "still in shock" after the factory told her Batten had fallen into the machine. She revealed her husband had been working without any legal documents, but he worked nine hours a day and six days a week while earning minimum wage.

"He didn't complain; he liked his job," said Ramirez.

Yvonne Freeman's Family Sues City For Wrongful Death

The family of Yvonne Freeman, a 75-year-old Queens resident, is suing the city and claims the elderly woman would not have died, had they not waited three hours for an ambulance to arrive at their home in Corona. According to the New York Daily News, the unplowed and snowy streets of Queens kept the medics from coming sooner.

"I can't believe they wouldn't plow the streets," said Laura Freeman, Yvonne's daughter. "The city can't let this happen again."

Eric Ulrich Proposes Bike Registrations In New York

New York City cyclists may soon be required to have an ID tag attached to their bike if city councilman Eric Ulrich gets his proposal for bike registrations approved, according to the New York Post. Bikers would also have to pay a small fee for the registrations, which Ulrich thinks will help tackle the “double standard” that seems to exist “when it comes to enforcing the traffic laws” to bikers.

“Bicycles are involved in accidents, unfortunately, across this city,” said Ulrich. He also mentioned that most bike riders do not carry any form of identification, because “they’re in Spandex or whatnot.” Not having an ID may be problematic in the event a biker gets into an accident.

Huberto Sanchez Killed After Wall Collapses in Queens

The New York Daily News reported construction worker Huberto Sanchez, 27, was killed after a 20 foot high and 60 foot long concrete wall gave way and fell apart at a site in Queens. Three other construction employees suffered injuries after the incident and remained in stable condition at the Elmhurst Hospital Center.

Gerardo Escalona, another construction worker at the site, said the four men had been pouring cement into the wall before it collapsed on top of them. But the site’s concrete-pump operator Juan Campusano, 41, said he had filled the cinder blocks with cement at least an hour before the construction accident occurred.

Rikers Island Correction Officers File Injury Suit Against NY

Four correction officers from Rikers Island and the widow of a fifth officer have filed an injury suit against the city in Bronx Supreme Court, alleging that they contracted cancer from working at the prison. The suit claims New York City officials knew the employees were exposed to cancer-causing toxins on Rikers, which is almost entirely build on landfill.

According to the New York Daily News, over 8,000 correctional personnel work on Rikers Island. Officers have said a potent chemical odor covers the prison island, as unusual clouds of smoke rise from the ground. The smoke apparently causes vomiting and is even thick enough to trigger the alarms of gas detectors.

Courtney Love Faces Defamation Suit For Offensive Tweets

Many New Yorkers may be talking about the new defamation lawsuit filed against Hollywood star Courtney Love. Reuters reported Love wrote a stream of insults on her Twitter in March 2009 about fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir, who had demanded compensation from Love for several thousands of dollars' worth of clothes.

In her tweets, Love called Simorangkir a drug-using prostitute who had a history of assault and battery. The former rock musician even called attention to Simorangkir's personal life, talking about how the designer had lost custody over her child and allegedly stole money from Love after supposedly taking advantage of her fame. Soon enough, Love's tweets against the "Boudoir Queen" of fashion sent her to trial.

New Health Bill Offers Medical Care For September 11 Responders

President Barack Obama signed a $4.3 billion health bill that will provide medical care for firefighters and other people who responded to the attack on September 11, 2001. According to Reuters, the new law offers medical treatment to individuals who were injured or ill after inhaling the toxic dust that surrounded the World Trade Center site.

Thousands of police, firefighters, other rescue and cleanup workers suffered from respiratory problems and other illnesses after working at the former Twin Towers in the aftermath of September 11. Bronx Police Officer Robert Oswain, 42, passed away last year as a result of cancer, and some believe that the lethal dust at Ground Zero may have contributed to his death.

Vangelis Kapatos Jumps Out Of Apartment Building

Manhattan local Vangelis Kapatos jumped out of the ninth-floor window of his New York apartment on Monday, according to Reuters. Fortunately, Kapatos landed on a large mound of trash that was left uncollected during the city's intense snowstorm last week. Katharina Capatos, Vangelis' aunt, said many of the residents had been complaining about the accumulating trash and layers of snow that were piling up along the sidewalks.

"I'm thankful that [the trash] was never picked up," Capatos said as her nephew currently remains hospitalized under critical but stable condition. New York police officials said Vangelis Kapatos left no suicide note before leaping out of the apartment and that the garbage below had broken his fall.