Archive for the tag 'lawsuit'

Lady Justice, atop the Fontaine de la Justice in Cudrefin, Switzerland. Source: Wikimedia

Lady Justice, atop the Fontaine de la Justice in Cudrefin, Switzerland. Source: Wikimedia

A federal judge has come down hard on the outgoing Bloomberg administration, ruling that the city has inadequate plans for helping the disabled evacuate should a major disaster like Superstorm Sandy strike the city again. WNYC is reporting that Judge Jesse Furman’s ruling came from a lawsuit waged by the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled and the Center for Independence of the Disabled who argued that the city violated the Americans with Disability Act.

According to Furman, the city’s plans for the disabled in case of a major emergency were insufficient.

“Most significantly, the city’s plans are inadequate to ensure that people with disabilities are able to evacuate before or during an emergency; they fail to provide sufficiently accessible shelters; and they do not sufficiently inform people with disabilities of the availability and location of accessible emergency services,” Furman wrote in his ruling.

WNYC listed three crucial foundations of the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled’s lawsuit that Furman agreed with:

  • Many of the evacuation shelters were inaccessible to people in wheelchairs;
  • There was inadequate transportation to help disabled people evacuate, especially from high-rises;
  • Emergency officials had no plan to find and rescue those trapped after an emergency.

While Furman came down hard on the Bloomberg administration as far as the disabled go, he did praise them for doing an otherwise “outstanding” job when it came to preparing for future catastrophes.

The Bloomberg administration tried to hold the ruling in a positive light in a statement:

“While we are disappointed with the Court’s conclusions, we are gratified it recognized that the City’s extensive planning is impressive, and the efforts and valor of those responding to emergencies have been ‘extraordinary.’ Planning for the needs of people with disabilities has always been and remains a priority for the City. We are continuing to review this decision and assess our next steps.”

Here’s hoping that city administrators take this ruling seriously and find a way to adequately accommodate the city’s disabled should another disaster strike.

Are you disabled or have disabled family or friends that were in the evacuation zone during Superstorm Sandy? What was your experience like?

Source: changeschanging / Flickr

Source: changeschanging / Flickr

A B36 bus driver picking up passengers on Sheepshead Bay Road is in the cross-hairs for refusing to let a 10-year-old child board his bus and declaring him a “terrorist.” The New York Daily News is reporting that the family of the boy has brought a lawsuit against the city over the incident, which happened a year ago.

The Daily News relayed the details of the story as told by the boy’s lawyer:

The unidentified plaintiff was searching for his MetroCard as the B36 Bus pulled up on Sheepshead Bay Road last October, according to the suit, filed Friday in Brooklyn Federal Court.

He began reciting a Muslim prayer: “I stand in the name of God the most merciful, the most beneficent,” the suit states. The driver became alarmed, called the boy a “terrorist” and slammed the door shut, the boy’s lawyer, Hyder Naqvi, told the Daily News.

“The driver said ‘Get off!’ and used the T-word,” Naqvi said, referring to the word “terrorist.”

The lawyer said the boy was so hurt afterwards that he was didn’t want to use public transportation, but later he became angry and is resolved to right the wrong.

“He was two days shy of turning 11 when this happened, but he’s old enough to know what it feels like to be discriminated against,” Naqvi said.

According to the report, the parents had complained to the MTA but never received an answer. The boy, now 12, claims he can still identify the driver if asked.

Brooklyn District Attorney, Charles Hynes

Charles Hynes, the Brooklyn District Attorney, is being taken to court by DA candidate and Sheepshead native Abe George on the grounds of breaking election laws. George’s complaints stem from Hynes’s upcoming CBS reality show, which will  feature the activity of the DA’s office right before the election primary, according to a press release. Last March, we reported on the detailsof Hynes’s show, which will follow several high profile cases that Hynes and his team of lawyers are prosecuting. At the time, George blasted Hynes for the timing of the show, which he said will give Hynes an undue level of free publicity. George also alleged that Hynes used a political connection to ensure that the show would serve as a glossy political ad designed to paint him in a positive light right before the primary. George’s press release detailed the specifics of his lawsuit:

The lawsuit alleges that the incumbent Brooklyn District Attorney for the past 23 years has agreed to take an excessive campaign contribution from defendant CBS in violation of New York State election law during the final, critical months of his closely contested race for re-election this year. The contribution from CBS, which could amount to millions of dollars to Hynes, is under the guise of a reality television show called Brooklyn D.A. that CBS recently announced it will broadcast starting May 28 in six one-hour, weekly episodes starring Hynes and his office. It will far exceed the state limit for a corporate contribution, capped at $5,000 a year. In expending the time and resources of his office to coordinate with CBS in the production, filming, and promotion of the show, Hynes has also unlawfully used state money to further his own political campaign.

It is also worth noting that George’s lawsuit will be joined by the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation of Justice, a group committed to the prevention and eradication of wrongful convictions, and a group representing families and victims of wrongful convictions they allege Charles Hynes’ office prosecuted.

Source: Rodrigo Moraes via Wikimedia Commons

Lea Shimunov, a 47-year-0ld Sheepshead Bay housewife, broke her teeth when she was scarfing down some peanut M&Ms, and is filing a suit against the monolithic Mars candy corporation in Brooklyn Supreme Court, according to a report in the New York Post.

After purchasing a medium-sized bag of peanut M&Ms at the Duane Reade located at 2931 Avenue U in December 2011, Shimunov allegedly bit into a “petrified peanut,” painfully shattering several teeth in the process.

“There was either a foreign object that was made into a M&M, or it may have been a petrified peanut,” lawyer Robert Berkowitz told the New York Post.

I thought M&Ms were supposed to melt in your mouth… not break your jaw.

Source: blhphotography / Flickr

As we reported last month, the battle over the future of Coney Island’s historic boardwalk is finally coming to a head this Thursday, October 25, at 360 Adams Street, Kings County Supreme Court House, in hearing room 38.

Todd Dobrin, president of the “Friends of Coney Island Boardwalk,” along with Rob Burstein, president of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance, are taking on the Parks Department’s effort to replace the wooden slats that comprise the historic walkway with plastic and concrete.

Dobrin and Burstein not only object to whatever cosmetic degradation a plastic and concrete boardwalk might bring, but also to, what they believe, are looked-over safety concerns ignored by the Parks Department in the installation of a massive concrete infrastructure. Dobrin and Burstein made their complaints clear in an op-ed to the Daily News:

Already, thousands of settling cracks have appeared in the concrete pilot project sections of the Boardwalk, and chunks of concrete have broken off in a number of places.

Concrete stores heat, making it uncomfortable to sit on and increasing the temperature of the whole area. The sun glare is blinding, and the hard surface is damaging to the joints of the countless runners and pedestrians who use the Boardwalk daily.

For those wishing to attend the hearing, it is requested that you dress modestly, bring no signs of any kind, and arrive as early as 9:00 a.m. Because this is a high profile case with large public interest, it is likely that it will be the first case called at 9:30 a.m., so arriving early will afford attendees adequate time to pass through security and find seating.

Rob Burstein, president of the Coney-Brighton Boardwalk Alliance, Todd Dobrin, president of Friends of the Boardwalk, and the concrete boards on their beloved wooden boardwalk are headed to court.

Burstein sent out a letter to his supporters detailing the legislative actions law firm of Goodwin-Proctor will be taking against the Parks Department.

According to the letter:

The suit alleges that they failed to perform the required environmental impact studies to assess the numerous negative impacts that their intended plan will have for our community and all who make use of the Boardwalk were it to be implemented, and asks that the Court compel them to do so before going forward.

Burnstein and Dobrin also write an op-ed piece yesterday in the New York Daily News highlighting safety issues the concrete slabs that replaced the wooden board have created.

They write:

Already, thousands of settling cracks have appeared in the concrete pilot project sections of the Boardwalk, and chunks of concrete have broken off in a number of places.

Concrete stores heat, making it uncomfortable to sit on and increasing the temperature of the whole area. The sun glare is blinding, and the hard surface is damaging to the joints of the countless runners and pedestrians who use the Boardwalk daily.

The Parks Department says it cares about safety. Its actions, though, speak louder than its words.

For those who want to take action, Burstein has asked supporters to show up on October 4 – the court date – at the courthouse to showcase a “widespread level of concern.”

The court hearing starts at 9:45 a.m. at the Kings County Supreme Court located at 360 Adams Street in downtown Brooklyn. The Hearing Part number is 38 and the name of the judge hearing the case is Martin Solomon. The group will meet outside the hearing room at 9:30 a.m. and then enter and sit together.

Contact Burstein at 718-449-7017 or email him to confirm your attendance at robburstein@hotmail.com.

Dennis Vinichenko and his new family via Facebook

Evgueni Kniazev came to the United States in 1992. He then met, paid $5,000 and married Irina Dubenskaya, who was already a U.S. citizen.

When Kniazev died tragically in the 9/11 attacks, his wife collected $1.4 million from the World Trade Center Victim’s Compensation Fund.

Only, his son, Dennis Vinichenko, is now disputing Dubenskaya’s claim to the financial inheritance. Vinichenko says that the marriage was fraud, arranged to get his father citizenship. Vinichenko claims that Dubenskaya does not deserve the money.

“My father was burned alive,” Vinichenko told the New York Post. “This woman was saying she was my family, and then she took all this money. She wasn’t really his wife. She was just trying to cash in.”

Dubenskaya lives in the Sheepshead Bay home that she and Kniazev shared since 2001. She claims the marriage was real.

“I can’t tell if that was Eugene’s original intention,” she said. “I thought we had a nice marriage. We started living the American dream life. Then he died.”

Others who knew the couple say the marriage may have been a fraud, but it was one that was mutually beneficial.

A friend of the couple, Alexander Teperev said though Kniazev may have initially married Dubenskaya for a green card, he also enjoyed her company.

“It was both,” Teperev said. “It was business, and he liked her, too.”

Dubenskaya claims that Vinichenko has been hounding her and leaving threatening messages on her door.

“I have nothing to hide,” she said. “Dennis got what he was entitled [to]. I respect Eugene. I love him. I just wish he didn’t have a son like that,” she said.

Vinichenko’s former lawyer admits that Dubenskaya is actually entitled to the entire sum.

“She would have technically been entitled to the whole thing, even though the marriage was a sham,” said attorney Brian Schachter. “At the time, I thought it was a decent deal.”

Vinichenko believes the money would be better spent on Kniazev’s family still living in Siberia, and on his newborn son.

Vinichenko was not left out to dry. He received more than $35,000 from her. Vinichenko’s sister, who still lives in Russia, is also due to receive a cut.

The amount the siblings got totaled about $150,000, after legal fees. However, Vinichenko feels that Dubenskaya pushed him to accept the deal by threatening to call the immigration on him because he is here illegally.

“I didn’t like the way the money went,” he said. “Her son got to go to college for free. It wasn’t his son. I felt bad about that. The money wasn’t distributed properly.”

It’s not clear whether or not another suit, or immigration fraud charges, will be brought against either party. Sadly, Kniazev never got the green card he so badly wanted. It arrived in the mail three years after his death.