Homeowner/Parents’ Duty to Supervise Departure of Underage Guest Who Became Intoxicated at House Party Extended to Ride Home in Car Driven by Son

Sometimes parents can try to do the right thing but end up liable for someone’s injuries anyway. In Aquino v. Higgins, 891 N.Y.S.2d 853 (4th Dept. 2009), reversed 2010 N.Y. Slip Op. 08386, 2010 WL 4642476 (November 18, 2010), the defendant parents permitted their daughter to host a party at their residence following a high school dinner dance.

Defendant father expressly told his daughter that alcohol would not be permitted to be served. Although defendant parents were home, they were not aware that there was alcohol present at the party until defendant mother entered the basement at the end … Read the rest

More McDonalds Cases for the Late Night Comics?

At first, it was coffee. Now it’s chicken sandwiches and cancer. Perhaps the greatest propaganda tool for the insurance industry in its self-serving campaign against supposedly frivolous lawsuits is the so-called McDonalds Case where the plaintiff sued for spilling hot coffee on herself. Never mind the hundreds and hundreds of prior complaints against the coffee McDonalds deliberately super-heated in order to keep customers from realizing just how bad it tasted, or the third-degree burns to sensitive, private areas requiring grafting.

Carnival operator Frank Sutton sued McDonalds after suffering burns to his lips when he bit into a chicken sandwich at … Read the rest

New Yorks Statutes Aimed at Protecting Construction Workers Held to Apply to Accident on Indian Reservation

In Alexander v. Hart, — N.Y.S.2d —-, 2009 WL 1955556, 2009 N.Y. Slip Op. 05716 (N.Y.A.D. 3 Dept., 2009) the plaintiff, a service technician, fell while working on a rooftop heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit at defendants’ fitness center on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation in Franklin County. The defendants moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s Labor Law 240(1) and 241(6) claims on the ground that these construction worker safety statutes do not apply on the grounds that
(1) the statutes do not apply to accidents that occur on an Indian reservation,
(2) since the tribe is the title owner … Read the rest

New York Plans Permanent Task Force on Wrongful Convictions

The Chief Judge of New York’s Court of Appeals, Hon. Jonathan Lippman, said on Law Day, May 1, 2009, that he would create a Justice Task Force to examine the causes of wrongful convictions and develop systemic remedies to minimize them and to make the states criminal justice system more effective. Importantly, the task force is permanent. Members of the task force are being selected by Judge Lippman and will include prosecutors, defense lawyers, scientists and lawmakers. They will have a broad mandate to examine police procedures, court rules and other issues involved in wrongful convictions.

The task force will … Read the rest

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

1789 Law and Nuremburg Code Intersect to Permit Claims To Proceed Against Pfizer For Conducting Medical Experimentation Without Consent

The Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. 1350, a 1789 law, gives foreigners the right to raise tort claims in federal court to vindicate violations of ‘the laws of nations.’ The 10-principle Nuremberg Code was formulated as part of a war crimes trial conducted after World War II in which 15 doctors were convicted of crimes against humanity for conducting non-consentual experiments. Seven of the doctors were sentenced to death.

The 1789 law and the 20th Century Nuremberg Code intertwined recently as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit revived Nigerian families’ damage claims for billions of dollars against … Read the rest

Woman Convicted of Computer Fraud After MySpace Taunts Leads to Young Girl’s Suicide

The woman accused of using MySpace to bully a vulnerable teenage girl who subsequently killed herself has been found guilty of three misdemeanor charges. Lori Drew created a fake MySpace profile in the name of Josh Evans and used the persona to flirt with a thirteen year old girl named Megan Meier, who her daughter had previously fallen out with.

After weeks of flirting Drew then sent her message which said: “You’re a shitty person, and the world would be a better place without you in it.” About 20 minutes later, Tina Meier found her daughter hanging from her belt … Read the rest

Metrocard To The Rescue

We have written about how the New York City Transit Authority has taken to request claimants in personal injury suits produce the Metrocard that they used to board a bus or enter the subway system at the time that their accident occurred. It just happened in one of our cases yesterday morning. This past week it was reported that a murder suspect used his Metrocard to establish his alibi – that he was not present at the location of the murder.

Jason Jones was arrested, along with his brother, in a fatal shooting in the Bronx in May. He told … Read the rest

Court Rejects Medical Malpractice Defendants’ Attempt to Allow Jury to Find Plaintiff’s Father and Cousin, Both Physicians, Liable for Plaintiff’s Injuries

The plaintiff in Antaki v. Lerman sued North Shore University Hospital Plainview and Craig C. Lerman, MD alleging that he was the victim of medical malpractice in the hospital’s emergency room for failure to diagnose the presence of the bacteria C-difficile in his colon, which failure ultimately led to undergo surgery including a subtotal colonoscopy for the removal of the mega colon. The defendants requested that the trial court permit the jury to consider allocating total liability not only among the defendants, but also against the plaintiff’s father and his uncle, both of whom are physicians.

The plaintiff’s father, August … Read the rest

New Law Makes It Harder to Introduce Evidence of Prior Incarceration or Conviction in Negligent Hiring Claims

Under a negligent hiring theory, an employer’s liability arises from its failure to take reasonable care in making hiring decisions, thereby placing the newly hired employee in a position to cause foreseeable harm to others. The negligent hiring theory creates an incentive for employers to avoid hiring previously incarcerated individuals.

To avoid such tort exposure, many employers choose not to hire ex-offenders when they apply for employment even though New York Law provides that to do so under certain circumstances constitutes unlawful discriminatory practice.

The employer’s dilemma poses a serious problem for society.The unemployment rate for ex-offenders in New York … Read the rest