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Municipality Liability Archives

Major Explosion -- Building Collapse -- in the East Village of NYC

According to the New York Times, a powerful explosion in Lower Manhattan on Thursday caused two buildings to collapse and ignited a large fire that quickly spread to neighboring buildings, leaving at least 19 people injured. At least one person was reported missing.

City Wants to Settle NYPD Shooting Case of Eric Garner Early

Today, both the New York Times and the NY Daily News wrote stories about how New York City is worried about the Eric Garner case.  As previously reported, this case has gained country-wide notoriety.  Earlier this year, a New York City Police Officer attempted to subdue Mr. Garner after Mr. Garner allegedly resisted arrest.  The initial interaction between the police and Garner stemmed from Garner's apparent sale of cigerette's without proper licenses.  During the altercation, the police put Garner in a chokehold, which has been banned by NYPD regulations.  A chokehold alone is not, however, a criminal act.  The police say there was no chockehold.  More troubling, there is video that appears to show that nobody helped Garner after he lost consciousness.  Garner died on the sidewalk.  In any event, the City is very worried about this case.  The City is afraid of a lawsuit not only because it will have to pay a large settlement or judgment but also because it will allow personal injury attorneys to highlight problems with the training and methods of the New York City Police Department.  indeed, there has been a litany of cases brought against the City NYPD for bad policing.  For example, last spring, a drunk New York City Police Officer shot an unarmed men in Pelham, New York.   StolzenbergCortelli LLP represents the plaintiffs in that case.  And, just last month, a police officer mistakenly shot an innocent person in a New York City Housing Apartment Building.  It is clear that the City wants to settle these cases to get them out of the media and to protect the City against the prying eyes of attorneys who want to use the Courts to investigate the Police and expose to teh World with the probelms of the police department.       

Nyack Parking Agent Charged with Attempted Murder

Two Village of Nyack men, including Kenneth Byre, who was working at the time as a Village Parking Authority Agent, are facing charges of attempted murder.  According to the Journal News, Byre, while working at the time as a traffic agent, allegedly stabbed Frank DeLorenzo, of Chestnut Ridge, New York.  The alleged stabbing occurred early Saturday on North Franklin Street.  DeLorrenzo is apparently in serious condition at Nyack Hospital.  Considering that this is a personal injury blog, the issue becomes whether the Village of Nyack could be held liable to DeLorenzo for the stabbing.  The law sometimes holds an employer, in this case the Village of Nyack, liable for an employee's actions.  Here, the employee is Byre.  An exception to the rule is sometimes applicable where the employee's conduct is criminal in nature.  Here, (allegedly) stabbing someone would be criminal.  On the other hand, if there is proof that the employee had a propensity for violence (like if it he spent time in prison for a violent offense), then Village will be liable if it knew about that propensity and still let him work the midnight shift anyway.  Even worse, if the employee had a violent propensity and the Village took no steps to discover it, like doing a simple criminal background check, than the Village may be held liable to the victim DeLorenzo.  The best example of this is the police brutality cases.  The cops beat someone up, which is illegal, and the local municpality has to pay the price, usually under the theory that they should have known about the rougue cop's violent propensities and didnt take sufficient steps to protect the public from him.       

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