Cost of Lawsuits Against NYPD, City, Up Five Percent - The New York Personal Injury Law Blog

The New York Personal Injury Blog

Cost of Lawsuits Against NYPD, City, Up Five Percent

By nearly every measureable statistic, lawsuits against the City of New York, and against the NYPD are hitting record highs and could lead to increased strain on the city’s budget, reports the New York Daily News. For the most recent year that figures are available, July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011, there were 8,832 suits filed against he NYPD alone - many as a result of the oft-criticized stop-and-frisk policies.

In terms of dollars and cents, the city paid $550.4 million in personal injury and property claims, $185.6 million of which came from NYPD lawsuits. Per NYC resident, that comes out to $70 each and is a 5 percent increase year-over-year.

Claims arising from the actions of police offers, such as false arrest, battery, and civil rights violations, which are all claims one might see in a stop-and-frisk lawsuit, were up 14 percent.

The dollar figures represent settlement costs. One wonders how much money was spent in legal fees to defend the cases before settlement. And with the increase in publicity over the constitutionally questionable stops, and the multiple class-action lawsuits pending over the matter, (with apologies to Carrie Bradshaw) we can't help but wonder - is this merely a hint at what's to come?

One more statistic - civil rights lawsuits against all city departments were up 13 percent from 2010 to 2011. The 2011 figure is double the 2007 figure. The stats point to a trend of citizens increasingly filing lawsuits. Whether these lawsuits are warranted or frivolous, defending them costs money. Settlements and verdicts cost even more.

Questions about the efficacy of stop-and-frisk tactics and about whether the procedures run contrary to the Constitution's prohibition on unwarranted search and seizure have led to half-hearted claims that stop-and-frisk should be "mended, not ended." If legitimate questions about the practice have failed to yield results, will a tidal wave of lawsuits do the trick?

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