Articles Posted in Assaults and Excessive Force

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Eddie Fernandez
As I read the recent stories across the county of police officers using excessive force and taking the life of two men; I was reminded of the events of August 12th, 2012 right here in the Bronx.  28 year old, Eddie Fernandez, enjoying a day in his neighborhood was run down by a NYPD Police officer who decided to use his vehicle as a dangerous weapon and take the life of this young man.

Whether it was the shooting death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or the killing of Philandro Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota, the ongoing debate rages around the country.  When should or can a police officer use a level of force they know will or likely to cause serious injury.   Under the general definition an officer may use deadly force when he or she is threatened with the same force or the perpetrator is acting in a way that causes a likelihood of serious injury to others.

When my firm was retained by Eusebia Ramirez to represent her on behalf of her son, Eddie Fernandez for the unlawful and excessive force used, I immediately hoped that some video would exist that would show what happened that day.  Luckily, video surveillance does exist and the story it tells, rivals those recently shown around the country in the recent shootings.

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On May 25th, 2016 famed rapper TI was set to perform at Irving Plaza in NYC.  From early reports one person was shot and several others injured when an argument escalated into a fight which then turned into a shooting and chaos.  TI was not involved directly in the argument or fight.

The fight, CNN reported, erupted outside a green room, reserved for rappers scheduled to perform.  After at least 5 minutes of fisticuffs the fight turned deadly when a gun was pulled and people scrambled to escape harm.

Leav & Steinberg, with a solid reputation in representing victims of similar incidents in and around NYC, was recently retained by several  victims injured at Irving Plaza.  Just this year, the firm resolved a matter involving another rap concert billed as a gangster party in New York City.  Several were shot and others injured in the stampede.  We recently reported about this problem in New York and around the country.  See this link.

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New York’s Dram Shop law is found in Section 11-101 of the General Obligations Law. Dram Shop laws are strict liability statutes that allow for alcohol vendors to be held liable for their violations in serving people alcohol who are visibly intoxicated or are actually or apparently under 21 years of age. Courts allow for people who are injured as a result of the vendor’s violation of these laws to bring suit for their damages. New York’s law is distinctive in that it allows for a third-party who may never have had any contact with the bar themselves to sue for injuries caused to them by the bar’s intoxicated patrons.

A case brought pursuant to the Dram Shop law is difficult to prove; it requires a showing that the injured person was harmed by an intoxicated person, that there was an unlawful sale of alcohol by the vendor, and the sale of alcohol contributed to the person’s intoxication.

In our most recent Dram Shop case, the plaintiff was sitting at a bar in Brooklyn, when he observed a visibly intoxicated patron continuing to order and be served drinks by the bartender. The patron became more and more intoxicated, and eventually assaulted the plaintiff with a glass. The glass broke and caused the Plaintiff to subsequently lose his eye. Leav & Steinberg presented this evidence to the Court who agreed that the Plaintiff was entitled to a recovery. A judgment was obtained for $1,200,000.

 

 

 

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Recently, Leav & Steinberg, LLP were successful in resolving a case involving a shooting and stampede at a New York City Dinner Club.  The event was advertised to the general public as a hip hop/rap concert.  The advertisement and public ads showed “hip hop gang bangers”; certainly a vision of what the night would be like.  Sadly the club security was lacking any appropriate steps to ensure that weapons were not brought in.  In fact, there were no female security guards and anyone entering would be free to give a female guest a weapon and she would be able to walk right in.

A fight broke out, several people were shot and a resulting stampede resulted in several people being seriously injured while trying to flee for their safety.

Similarly, in Galveston Texas club owners didn’t beef up security for a show featuring two rival rap groups and an aspiring emcee was shot in the head in a fight that could have been expected, his mother claims in court.

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It was with great anger that I read the article from the NY Times discussing a South Carolina man who was fatally shot by a police officer after being pulled over for a broken taillight on his vehicle. As Walter Scott the driver was outside the vehicle, a scuffle ensued. Certainly we would expect the officer to use that force necessary. However, due to video captured by a bystander, Mr. Scott is seen running away, when Officer William Slager fires multiple shots at him when he is at least 15-20 feet away. What is captured on video next is terrible.

The officer approaches Mr. Scott see that he has been wounded, handcuffs him, but then walks back to where the vehicle was, picks up his Taser gun and drops it right at the foot of a dying Mr. Scott. This, he hoped, would be his alibi that he feared for his safety and that Mr. Scott had used the Taser on him and fled with it.

Officer Slager is being charged with murder.

The brazen acts of this officer are both shocking and upsetting. It reminded me of the matter in which my firm, Leav & Steinberg, LLP is representing the Estate of Eddie Fernandez who was killed by NYPD Office McClain in August 2012. At that moment, Eddie was riding away on his dirt bike, when officer McClain, who had already used his police vehicle to strike one dirt bike rider, makes a U-turn and crosses into oncoming traffic and strikes the back of Eddie’s dirt bike with his vehicle. Clearly using his vehicle as a deadly weapon. Eddie died as a result of the very serious injuries sustained. A young man, who had taken care of his mother was gone. The distraught family has sought criminal and civil charges against Officer McClain and also Federal Civil Rights violations against the officer and the NYPD.

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Regardless of where one sits on the issue of rights to domestic partners, there have been some current legislative activities in the New York state legislature that people should give some attention. The New York State Assembly Bill # A04024 is a bill intended to amend the executive law, “in relation to eligibility of domestic partners for compensation from the crime victims’ board, introduced in January 2014.”

This bill allows for domestic partners to be eligible to receive awards under the crime victims compensation allocation. On April 24, 2013, this bill passed the New York State Assembly and was delivered to the New York State Senate for consideration.

The New York State Office of Victim Services is the state entity involved with providing legal recourse and compensation for victims. There is a laundry list of eligibility requirements as well as a list of what a victim may be entitled to. That list includes:

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Sustaining an injury, whether it is a slip and fall or a car accident or something else entirely, can be a scary and confusing time. For many people, sustaining a serious injury is among the lowest points in their lives. It can be particularly confusing when someone else is at fault for your injury. While no one wants to think about bringing a lawsuit immediately after an injury occurs, it is in your best interest to prepare as though a lawsuit will occur.

First, you need to make sure that your medical needs are taken care of. It will not do you any good to start any of the other steps if you have not ensured that your medical needs are met. In fact, it may hurt your lawsuit if you neglect your medical needs, as the defendant could argue that your injuries were increased by a failure to seek immediate medical attention.

Evidence

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Dating website Match.com has had its share of controversies circulated since it went live in 1995.

To its credit, the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed the 2005 class action lawsuit which alleged that Match.com “secretly employs people as ‘date bait’ to send bogus enticing E-mails and to go on as many as 100 dates a month – or three a day – to keep customers ponying up.”

However, a 2009 class action lawsuit is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York with allegations such as “Match misleads paying subscribers by charging them for the ability to write e-mails to members who can’t reply to their e-mails or even read them.”

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The New York City Board of Education is supposed to provide a safe environment for our children to learn. Unfortunately, some schools fail in this respect, and students are being attacked while attending school. Parents have the right to send their children to school and expect them to come home unharmed.

As recently reported in the New York Times by Karen Zraick, a student was stabbed in the neck on his way to school in the Bronx. The victim is currently in critical condition at Jacobi Medical Center.

We at Leav & Steinberg, LLP. have represented many families whose children were attacked while in school. In one recent case, a settlement was reached with the City of New York and the Board of Education on behalf of the parents of a high school student who died for the sum of $550,000.00. A settlement was reached on behalf of another family, whose son survived the same stabbing but was seriously injured and traumatized, for the sum of $350,000.00.