New Law in New York to Measure Fairness of Minorities Representation in Civil Jury Pools

When I started trying cases about 25 years ago New York County (Manhattan) was considered to be a plaintiff-friendly venue due to juries’ proclivity to render favorable verdicts. Today the plaintiffs’ bar views Manhattan juries quite differently.

Litigators often attribute this to the elimination of jury service exemptions, which meant that many of the more conservative leaning professionals who reside in Manhattan who routinely avoided jury service could no longer do so. But other lawyers saw a different reason – that jury pools were skewed so that minorities were underrepresented in comparison to their proportion of the population.

A study … Read the rest

A Busy Season for Criminal Proceedings Involving Construction Cranes

Two deadly crane collapses in 2008, ignited furious investigations into the world of construction cranes and their safety, or lack thereof. Crane rigger William Rapetti has been indicted for manslaughter. Although not involved in the crane collapses, one investigation led to the guilty plea by James Delayo, the city’s former chief crane inspector, pleaded guilty in March to approving cranes that he had not inspected, and issuing operators licenses to people who had not earned them.

Nu-Way Crane Service owner Michael Sackaris pleaded guilty in May to paying one such bribe. Nu-Way employee Michael Pascalli guilty to a misdemeanor charge … Read the rest

National Health Care Reform Law Comes to New York Medical Malpractice Litigation

A $2.9 million grant from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to New York State (roughly $500,000 of which will go to the Unified Court System) to conduct a pilot program to reduce expenses associated with medical malpractice lawsuits by encouraging early settlement and by improving patient safety to reduce preventable medical injuries. Five New York City hospitals will participate in the initiative: Beth Israel Medical Center, Maimonides Medical Center, Montefiore Medical Center, Mount Sinai Medical Center, and New York Presbyterian Hospital Columbia Presbyterian Center.

The hospitals will receive funds that can be applied to patient safety … Read the rest

New York State Bar Unveils New Legislation to Reduce Wrongful Convictions and to Compensate Those Wrongfully Convicted

In 2008, the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) created a permanent Task Force on Wrongful Convictions. The task force examined 53 cases where a defendant was wrongfully convicted of a crime but later exonerated. In a report issued last year, it concluded that wrongful convictions resulted from multiple factors including identification procedures, government practices, mishandling of forensic evidence, defense practices, the use of false confessions and the improper use of jailhouse informants.

Based upon the findings and recommendations of the Task Force on Wrongful Convictions, the NYSBA earlier this month unveiled new legislation that would amend the Criminal Procedure … Read the rest

Perhaps Sling Carriers for Babies Should be Banned Until a Mandatory Safety Standard is Developed

Baby slings – soft fabrics that wrap around the chest so that busy parents can carry their babies or just stay close as they bond with their infants are potentially dangerous products that continue to be of great concern. This past week the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall of about 40 Sprout Stuff infant ring slings. The CPSC advised consumers to immediately stop using Sprout Stuff infant ring slings due to a risk of suffocation to infants.

This recall follows one on March 24, 2010, by Infantino LLC, of more than one million Infantino SlingRider and … Read the rest

New York Drivers Dissed in 2010 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test

New York drivers ranked last in the 2010 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test. The test found that nearly 1 in 5 licensed drivers roughly 38 million Americans would not pass a written drivers test exam if taken today. Kansas drivers ranked first in the nation (82.3 percent average score); New York drivers ranked last (70 percent average score). The national average score decreased to 76.2 percent from 76.6 percent in 2009.

The results were reported by state, age and sex. Some specific questions involving safe following distances and yellow lights posed particular difficulty. Seventy-three percent of drivers could not properly … Read the rest