Suffolk County Nation’s First County to Ban Electronic Cigarettes from Minors and From Public Indoor Spaces

On August 18, 2009, the Suffolk County Legislature voted to ban electronic cigarettes from public indoor spaces where ‘traditional forms of smoking are already disallowed,’ but allows adults to use the devices anywhere cigarette smoking is permitted. The bill also bans the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 19. The bill has been described as the first of its kind in the nation. It cites the ‘unknown’ amount of nicotine in the battery-operated devices as presenting a ‘significant risk of rapid addiction or overdose.’ Suffolk’s new law is expected to take effect 90 days after the New … Read the rest

Four New York Juvenile Detention Centers Use Excessive Force and Restraints, Concludes U.S. Department of Justice

A report of the Civil Rights Division of the Civil Rights Divisions investigation of conditions at four Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) facilities found conditions violate constitutional standards in the areas of protection from harm and mental health care. The investigation revealed that: 1) staff resort quickly to a high degree of force that is disproportionate to the level of the youths infraction; and 2) the technique employed to restrain a youth results in an excessive number of injuries, including concussions, broken or knocked-out teeth, and spiral fractures. There was even one death.

In November 2006, a 15-year-old … Read the rest

N.Y.C. Departmentof Buildings Special Enforcement Team Does Its Job – Prevents Potentially Disastrous Hotel Fires

The N.Y.C. Department of Buildings has suspended the license of Master Electrician Robert Spallinos and fined him $100,000 after determining he installed cheap, illegal wooden parts, instead of the metal, insulated collars required by the Electrical Code, inside the electrical systems of five high-rise hotels in midtown Manhattan. It wasn’t an accident – Spallino even painted his wooden “carvings” black in a bid to fool inspectors into thinking they were made of fireproof metal, according to Department of Buildings documents. He used homemade wooden collars to rig wires together — a potentially deadly fire hazard. The city building code requires … Read the rest

Comprehensive Set of Regulations For The Pedicab Industry Signed Into Law

Pedicabs, the three-wheel pedaled vehicles with a carriage in the back have gone unregulated for years in New York City. They are increasingly popular among tourists and New Yorkers in fact, our office has recently been contacted via the internet from Australia on behalf of a visitor who sustained injuries, including a broken collar bone, while a passenger in a pedicab that was struck by a motor vehicle. Up to the bills signing on August 12, 2009, its been a bit of a free-for-all. Thats changed now. Under Local Law 53 of 2009, which amends Local Law 19 of 2007, … Read the rest

Comprehensive Set of Regulations For The Pedicab Industry Signed Into Law

Pedicabs, the three-wheel pedaled vehicles with a carriage in the back have gone unregulated for years in New York City. They are increasingly popular among tourists and New Yorkers in fact, our office has recently been contacted via the internet from Australia on behalf of a visitor who sustained injuries, including a broken collar bone, while a passenger in a pedicab that was struck by a motor vehicle. Up to the bills signing on August 12, 2009, its been a bit of a free-for-all. Thats changed now. Under Local Law 53 of 2009, which amends Local Law 19 of 2007, … Read the rest

Continuing Violation Doctrine Extends Prisoners Time to Bring Claim Alleging Medical Indifference to His Paralyzed Hands That He Was Able to Use to Fire Murder Weapon

Jose J. Shomo was convicted in New York State court, after a jury trial, of murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, and sentenced as a persistent violent felony offender to concurrent terms of 25 years to life. He had used a firearm to commit the murder. He was in the custody of the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC) from September 20, 1999, to January 4, 2001. In 2003, Shomo filed a pro se Section 1983 lawsuit infederalcourt alleging that on the day that he entered DOC custody, he was … Read the rest

District Attorney Unsuccessfully Attempts to Prosecute Charges Carrying Maximum Penalty Against Taxi Driver for Fatal Accident

In 2006, Hassan Afzal, was involved in an accident while driving a taxicab on West Street (a/k/a the West Side Highway) in the vicinity of West Houston Street in Manhattan. Mr. Afzal had a history of seizures that he failed to disclose in applications that he filed for a taxi license. In the accident, Danielle Ricci, one of the passengers in the taxi, either exited or was ejected from the cab and was then struck and killed by a second taxi. Three other passengers in the taxi suffered significant injuries while still in the cab when the vehicle struck a … Read the rest

Take Me Out to the Ball Game, Take Me Out to the Crowd, Buy Me Some Peanuts and a Helmet

Two stories recently in the news raise questions about what risks are assumed by baseball fans attending games. One story involves a minor-league game last year, at which pitcher Julio Castillo threw a baseball that went into the stands during an on-field melee in Ohio, striking a fan who suffered a concussion. Castillo was recently sentenced by a judge in Montgomery County, Ohio, to 30 days in jail and three years probation. The other story involves a minor-league game in 2003, at which 4-year-old Emilio Crespin was with his family at a picnic table in the left field stands before … Read the rest

A 100th Birthday and Lessons Learned

Today marks what would have been the 100th birthday of our founder, Louis H. Levine. Its hard to imagine that on this day 100 years ago he was just starting out, and how different the world was in 1909 and all the things that have happened since then. One of the important lessons Mr. Levine taught was tenacity dont think that a case is lost solely based upon first blush, such as an unfavorable police report. Sometimes, for instance, a defendant at a deposition says something that provides an opening to argue that what is on a police report is … Read the rest

Court of Appeals Reverses: No Liability Where Violation of Leash Law Without Pet Owner’s Prior Notice of Pet’s Vicious Propensity

Last year we wrote a blog about the case of Petrone v. Fernandez, 53 A.D.3d 221, 862 N.Y.S.2d 522 (2009), an Appellate Division, Second Department decision that held that liability can be imposed when the leash law violation is coupled with affirmative canine behavior such as a dog bite, or an attack upon the plaintiff, or where there is a history of prior violations, even in the absence of a showing that the dog owner or possessor had or should have had knowledge prior to the attack of the dogs vicious propensities. The Second Department was apparently not completely sure … Read the rest