The New York Personal Injury Blog

December 2012 Archives

Family of Man Crushed to Death by Street Sweeper Seeks Answers

There's an old legal truism that applies to situations like this: res ipsa loquitur, or the thing speaks for itself. The classic example is a barrel of flour that rolls out of the second story window of a bakery, crushing a man standing below. While one might not be able to point to the exact negligent behavior that led to the man's death, absent some negligence, in storing the barrels, securing the windows, or in transporting flour, he would not have been killed.

This seems perfectly applicable to the case of Ronald Sinvil, 36, who was crushed by a street sweeper. You've seen these vehicles. They move slower than a grandmother on a Hoveround. So how did such a slow moving vehicle manage to accidently run over a man who, minutes earlier, was asking his girlfriend for directions to her apartment?

They stop. They grope. They release. No, they aren’t the men in Super Mario and Elmo costumes in Times Square. They are the boys in blue, the NYPD. You’re probably tired of hearing about Ye Olde Stop and Frisk. We certainly are. However, this lawsuit deals with more than pat-downs; it deals with individuals’ personal information and privacy.

You may have forgotten about this entire issue. We wouldn’t blame you. In 2010, New York passed a law that prohibited the NYPD from storing individuals’ information who were stopped and released after finding no wrongdoing. Prior to the law, not only were these individuals being (arguably) unconstitutionally stopped and searched without reason, but the department was storing their names and addresses for future use.

One Failed Gun Control Strategy: Litigation

Sometimes, lawsuits are not filed for financial reasons. Instead, the lawsuit is merely a tool to get answers, to assign blame, or to put a company out of business by running up exorbitant legal fees. For the last strategy, the death by a thousand paper cuts, the plaintiff will refuse to settle and will push extraneous motions for years in order to build up the cost of the lawsuit.

Unethical? Quite possibly. Does it happen? All the time.

Litigation, with legitimate ends in mind or not, was one strategy formerly pursued by gun control advocates. Fortunately or not, they lost. They lost in legal decisions, and eventually, a federal law banned lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

Another Stop and Frisk Lawsuit, Harder to Prove Than the Last

The problem with lawsuits is that you eventually have to prove your claims. Now, this is not to say that Hadiyah Charles' claims are not true. It's just going to be really difficult to actually win.

Charles was walking home in Bedford-Stuyvesant earlier this year when she ran across two of New York's finest, who were allegedly harassing a trio of black teenagers. The teens were reportedly fixing a bicycle. The officers stopped-and-frisked, Charles filmed with her cell phone, and she ended up in jail on disorderly conduct charges that were later dropped, reports Reuters.

Lawsuit Seeks to End Tour Bus Monopoly

Prior to 2009, there were two tour bus operators in town: City Sights and Gray Line New York, the latter of which was operated by Coach USA. Stiff competition between the two companies meant lower prices for consumers. City Sights managed to obtain a sizeable portion of the market share by offering discount rates. The relentless competition was, at least legally, the ideal situation.

Of course, all that competition meant less profits for Coach USA, reports Reuters. In 2008, the larger company initiated discussions about an alternate arrangement. In 2009, the two companies created a joint venture: Twin America LLC. Prior to the merger, the two controlled 99 percent of the market. No other company has challenged them since. Profits are split 60-40 in Coach USA's favor.

Passengers' Bill of Rights Means Less Delays, Happier Holidays

I’ll be home for Christmas. Bing Crosby promised it. Jonathan Taylor Thomas did too. Sometimes though, it’s beyond your control. The nightmare scenario for many is to be bumped off of a flight and stranded at the airport.

Fear not, however. Thanks to recent changes in airline regulations by the Department of Transportation, the financial penalties for un-merry mishaps are great. Airlines, therefore are far more likely to be nice than naughty. Just ask American Eagle, which was fined $900,000 last year for keeping passengers stranded on the ground, awaiting takeoff, for more three hours. Or JetBlue, which was fined $90,000 in August for not reminding passengers of their right to deplane from a delayed flight.

Bride Sues Over Shoddy Sewing, Gets Wedding Present From Judge

Ask any bride and they’ll tell you: it’s all about the dress. That’s why they have an entire television show dedicated to the dress. It’s not “say yes to the flowers” or “affirm your choice of ministers,” it’s “Say Yes to the Dress.” Nothing, other than the bride and groom themselves, is more important than the dress.

Nothing ruins a wedding faster, either, than a bad dress. Samantha Shea described her experience with an altered dress as a “nightmare” in a recently resolved small claims case. She bought the dress for $599 and paid a seamstress $600 more for alterations. At some point before the wedding, the seamstress replaced the zipper, which she said was broken, reports Reuters.

Zip. Rip. Split.

'Conversion Therapy' Provider JONAH Sued; Is There a Case for Fraud?

Some think that homosexuality can be "cured." They believe that environmental factors are to blame, or that sexual preference is a choice that people make. The American Psychological Association agreed that homosexuality was a curable disorder until about 1974 or so, when the second edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-II) was published.

Nowadays, most people find those who believe in "gay cures" to be a outside the mainstream of thought. Research is showing a stronger link between genetics and homosexuality. It's no longer listed as a mental disorder, and society in general has become more tolerant.