Police Assertion of Qualified Immunity Insufficient to Gain Dismissal of Civil Rights Claim For Death Resulting from Use of Excessive Force

Plaintiff Leroy Rasanen, in Rasanen v. Brown, — F.Supp.2d —-, 2009 WL 766205 (E.D.N.Y.,2009.) (decided March 25, 2009) brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.1983 (“Section 1983”), alleging that New York State Troopers used excessive force in fatally shooting his son John Rasanen (“Rasanen”) during a search of Rasanen’s home. The plaintiff alleged that the shooting constituted excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment and that the Defendants were negligent in failing to conduct the search and deal with Rasanen’s shooting “in accordance with professional norms and standards.”

The defendants moved for summary judgment dismissing the complaint … Read the rest

Operation Safe Stop Day Highlights School Bus Safety

Yesterday, April 23, 2009, was this year’s Operation Safe Stop Day, a day when law police officers ride on board school buses and in marked and unmarked patrol units on selected bus routes that have a history of illegal passing complaints. Police will issue tickets to drivers who pass stopped school buses. All violations will be reported to a central command post so that final figures will be available to state and local officials as well as the media.

More than 2.3 million New York children take the bus to school each day. An estimated 50,000 motor vehicles illegally pass … Read the rest

Scaffold Law (Labor Law 240(1)) Held Not Applicable to Lessee Where Window Washer is Injured

In Ferluckaj v. Goldman Sachs & Co., — N.E.2d —-, 2009 WL 856304, 2009 N.Y. Slip Op. 02483(decided April 02, 2009), the Court of Appeals declined to apply the New York Scaffold Law(Labor Law 240(1)) to a worker who was injured while cleaning an interior window as part of the preparation of new office space leased by Goldman Sachs & Co. The worker fell off a desk on which she was standing while cleaning the inside of an office building window.

The Court found that Goldman did not hire plaintiffs employer to clean the window and that Goldman exercised … Read the rest

Whopping Damage Award Against Private Prison Company for Inmates Death Affirmed by an Angry Court

By August of 1997 Texas had about 5,500 prisoners from other states housed in 22 facilities, generating revenues of more than $1,000,000 for private prison corporations. With such a strong profit motive, is it any wonder that cost-cutting measures such as hiring unqualified prison guards and failing to provide necessary medical care will be undertaken that will lead to problems?

In a searing opinion, the 13th Court of Appeals has upheld $42.5 million in punitive damages against a private prison GEO Group Inc., formerly named Wackenhut, a multinational corrections corporation for the horrific and gruesome death of inmate Gregorio De … Read the rest

NYC Not Liable to Mother of Brain-Injured Infant for Not Following the Law and for Giving False Information About Day Care Home

When Charlene McLean was searching for a safe day care provider for her soon-to-be-born daughter she called the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) which sent her a list of registered providers taken from the New York City Department of Health (DOH)s database of registered providers. The list included a family day care program run by Patricia Theroulde in her home. Ms. McLean also spoke by telephone with ACS, which told her, she says, that all of the day cares on the list are licensed and investigated routinely, and that no complaints had been filed against any of … Read the rest

Traffic Deaths On U.S. Roads in 2008 Reached A Record Low While Seat Belt Use Continued To Climb

The number of traffic deaths on U.S. roads last year reached a record low, while seat belt use continued to climb, the U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced April 6, 2009. Based on a statistical projection, in 2008 the fatality rate in motor vehicle traffic crashes is estimated to have dropped to 37,313 a 9.1-percent decline from the 41,059 fatalities reported in 2007. The actual count of fatalities will be reported in August 2009.

Preliminary data reported by the Federal Highway Administration shows that vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 2008 dropped by about 3.6 percent to 2,922 billion miles. The … Read the rest

Inadequate Patient Discharge Instructions and Intervention Resulting in Rehospitalization: Prevalent, Costly and Sometimes Malpractice

Studies have found that when patients leave the hospital without clear understanding of their diagnoses, medication instructions, or need for primary care follow-up, chances are that they will wind up back in the emergency department, and many will be readmitted. Questions are being asked within the medical community whether the standards of care relating to hospitals discharge instructions and follow-up are in fact inadequate and costly to the system by resulting in unnecessary re-hospitalizations.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (April 2, 2009) found that Medicare patients discharged from a hospital are frequently readmitted within a … Read the rest

Ever Improving Safety Rules from the NYC Department of Buildings

The New York City Buildings Department and Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri recently announced a series of changes in the way high-risk construction will be regulated and carried out in New York City. These changes are based on 41 recommendations developed during the unprecedented $4 million study of crane, hoist, excavation, and concrete operations launched last year in response to an increase in construction accidents.

Crane & Hoist Operations
The recommendations related to crane operations and inspections are:

1. Tracking System for Critical Crane Parts. Establish procedures to track critical components of tower cranes, including but not limited to … Read the rest

NFLs New Rules for 2009 Season Hope to Reduce Injuries, Especially Head and Neck Injuries

Last week saw the National Football League make eleven (11) rule changes including issues involving replays, kickoffs, onside kicks, and hits to the quarterback. Viewed as a whole, the rule changes reveal a concerted effort to reduce injuries to players. Some critics contend, however, that the rule changes will water-down the physical aspects of the game, likening future NFL play to flag football. But to the owners, the players are their most valuable assets, and protecting them, and avoiding the sight of players being taken off the field strapped to stretchers is understandably paramount.

The new rules are also consistent … Read the rest

It All Comes Out in the Wash

Oftentimes it seems that when the dust settles, accidents that appeared to come out of the blue were in fact wholly predictable because someone tried to cut a corner or save money in the face of a known danger. Such may have been the case in a construction accident when a crane collapsed last May on East 91st Street in Manhattan. It has recently been reported that 10 months before the accident a Chinese company hired to repair a critical component involved in the fatal crane collapse warned the cranes owner that it was concerned that it did not know … Read the rest