October 2012 News - The New York Personal Injury Law Blog

The New York Personal Injury Blog

October 2012 Archives

Homeowner and Renter Notes for After the Hurricane

Irene almost seems like a dress rehearsal now, doesn't it? Hurricane Sandy has come and mostly gone, leaving a six alarm fire that destroyed dozens of homes in Breezy Point, flooded subways and tunnels throughout the New York area, and a tanker ship sitting on a beach in Staten Island.

Fortunately, if any city can handle the damage to its infrastructure, it's New York. This city has dealt with plenty, and a little rain and wind won't be much more than a speed bump in the long run. For individuals however, the cleanup process and rebuilding of homes and lives starts now.

Tiny Payout for Toddler with Burned Hands Caused by City Park

More than two years after then one-year-old Paula Spolar's hands suffered second-degree burns, the lawsuit between the family and the parties responsible for installing the sizzling metal playground equipment has settled, and quite frankly, the settlement is just $17,500, reports The New York Times.

On June 16, 2010, Spolar was playing at the new Brooklyn Bridge Park. As she was walking along, she stumbled a bit and placed her hands on the metal "orb" climbing domes. In an instant, both hands were burned and blistering.

DOJ Accuses BofA of Plundering While Mortgage Ship was Sinking

A man takes a lump of dog feces, puts it in a box, and sells it to you as organic baking chocolate. That would constitute fraud.

Imagine that same scenario, except the product is subprime mortgages labeled as "investment-quality" mortgages. Banks eliminate all quality control and mass-process thousands of defective mortgages, which are then bundled and sold to Fannie and Freddie Mac, which are owned by the government (and by extension, the taxpayers). That also is allegedly fraud, at least according to a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice.

Pizza Delivery Rapist, Pizzeria, Condo, Doorman, Sued for Attack

Late last month, 16-year-old Caesar Lucas was arrested after he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman while making a pizza delivery. According to news reports, he checked for an unlocked door after making the delivery and came across the victim, who was sleeping next to her 7-year-old daughter. She awoke with Lucas assaulting her. He apologized, grabbed her iPhone, and took off.

We were amazed that Lucas was still employed by Sal’s Pizzeria. Back in August, he was arrested after stealing a wallet out of an unlocked apartment while on a delivery. Most employers would have fired him immediately, or reassigned him pending the outcome of the criminal case. It turns out, however, that he is the son of the owner, according to the New York Daily News.

Parent of 'Horndog High's' Victim Sues for $10 Million

The mother of student Kevin Eng followed through on her earlier promises to sue, after James Madison High School (commonly referred to as Horndog High) teacher Erin Sayer, 35, had inappropriate sexual relations with the then 16-year-old student, reports the New York Daily News. She is seeking $10 million for the damage to her son.

Some "brilliant" blogger already covered the criminal aspects of the Sayer case on our sister blog, but here is the short version: teacher had numerous sexcapades with a student in her SUV and classroom, shared her weed, and was caught because the duo were exchanging Facebook messages and the victim's suspicious girlfriend hacked his account.

Soda Ban Gets Challenged in Court via Administrative Law?

We really didn't see this coming. After all, who would have expected the beverage industry to challenge Mayor Bloomberg's ban on sodas larger than 16 oz?

Yep, that's sarcasm.

What we didn't expect, however, were administrative law arguments. For those unfamiliar with the ban, it was passed last month, along with the circumcision regulation, by the Department of Health. It limits soda and other beverages with more than 25 calories to 16 oz containers, which means no more super-sized Dr. Pepper.

The stated objective of the ban is to fight the growing obesity epidemic.

Injunction Sought to End 'Clean Halls', Halt Stop-and-frisks

No one is sure who started the program, but the Clean Halls program has been a fact of life for many residents and visitors of New York City's public housing. The program, which has existed for over 20 years, involves the pat-downs of anyone suspected of trespassing or committing other crimes. In reality, it means residents and non-residents alike are stopped-and-frisked, allegedly without justification, reports the Courthouse News Service.

Monday was the first day of hearings regarding a preliminary injunction to stop the program. In order to successfully obtain the injunction (which is a court order halting stop-and-frisks in the projects), the plaintiffs must show the following:

Orthodox Jews Sue to Block Restriction on Orally Assisted Circumcision

The City's Department of Health voted last month to require informed consent from parents before a religious ritual was performed on their children. Normally, a government restricting religious practices is something we can all disagree with in unison. However, what if that ritual has allegedly led to the infection of eleven babies with herpes since 2000, killing two of them?

Back in March, the Brooklyn D.A. was looking into the most recent case of a baby dying from herpes contracted as a result of orally assisted circumcision. Though it seems no charges came from the case, it did renew calls for a governmental regulation. The Orthodox Jewish practice involves circumcision, followed by removal of the blood from the wound with the rabbi's mouth. The practice, known as metzizah b'peh, continues to be widespread in Orthodox communities in New York, despite the occasional herpes case.

Immigrant's Ex Sets Up Fake Escort Profile? INS Investigates

If there is one thing that the Immigration and Naturalization Service hates, it's recent immigrants that turn to crime. So, when they hear a tip that a young Russian female immigrant is advertising her "touchy breasts" and "medium frame" on an escort site (for only $200 to $600 per hour), they are sure to investigate. Of course, should they find evidence of illegal activity, there's a good chance that her visa will be revoked and she'll be sent back home.

Ruzilya Khusnutdinova, 24, does not want to go home. She also does not engage in prostitution. According to Khusnutdinova, her ex-boyfriend created the profile as revenge and then tipped off INS. The numerous nude and semi-nude photos were taken during a romantic trip to Lake George in 2010. Their relationship ended in 2011. She's now suing him for $16 million, reports the Daily News. Among her claims for relief are emotional distress, defamation, and constitutional violations.

Weekly TSA Screwup: Internal Audit Says Newark Security Fails

Are there any other government officials that get as much universal disdain as the Transportation and Security Administration? Sure, many of us distrust the police. We mock presidential candidates, point out the stupidity of certain Midwestern politicians, and constantly question Nanny Mayor Bloomberg. But is there any other agency as hated by everyone as the TSA?

Perhaps it is because they took our toothpaste. Perhaps it's because they smuggle drugs and pat down infants. Now, we can add "fail to warn about possible cancer risks" and "are generally bad at their job" to the list.

Meningitis Outbreak Spreading via Steroid Injections for Back Pain

A custom formulation of a steroid used to treat back pain may be responsible for a Meningitis outbreak that has claimed the lives of five, sickened at least thirty-five, and could affect thousands of others. So far, the damage has been limited to six states: Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana. However, the drugs were also distributed to New Jersey clinics as recently as a few days ago, reports CBS New York.

According to The Associated Press, the questionable injections were formulated at a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts, the New England Compounding Center. Compounding pharmacies typically produce specialty combinations or dosages of drugs that aren’t available commercially. For example, they might provide a pain reliever in a lozenge (cough drop) form instead of a pill.

Banks Reduce $25 Billion Settlement by Forgiving Dead Debt

Most lawsuits don’t go to trial. If they did, our courts would be more congested than a South Korean freeway. When five of the largest United States banks were accused of questionable mortgage practices, including robo-signing documents and attempting to foreclose on mortgages that they didn’t even own, the case quickly settled for the bargain price of $25 billion.

Under the terms of the settlement, the banks wouldn’t have to pay the entire amount. Instead, they would be credited for activities designed to forgive debt and keep families in their houses.

It’s a win-win, right?

Master Key Mishaps Expose Massive New York City Security Flaw

Yesterday, we mocked the hype over master keys. Today, Mayor Bloomberg tells the New York Post that there is a "glut of master keys" and that there are at least 11,000 keys out there, one per firefighter. The keys sold on eBay to a New York Post reporter weren't just firefighter keys. It was a collection of five keys that opened everything from traffic light controls to high-rise elevators to city construction projects.

One set of leaked keys sold online is annoying, but not necessarily a red-level terror alert. When there are 11,000 firefighter keys (which Bloomberg has admitted are hard to keep track of due to turnover) and an unknown amount of electrical keys handed out to every city electrician, now the enormity of the problem is starting to come into focus. Keys can be copied, lost, stolen, or sold. The locksmith that sold the keys on eBay bought his copies at trade shows and swap meets.