Lawsuits against New York expected to cost city $735 million

75085df58df1ecf60220e4dcc41c8334

New York City plans to spend $735 million this year on settlements or awards in lawsuits claiming negligence, police abuse and property damage, the most in its history.

The cost of claims is forecast to rise to $815 million by 2016, more than the city pays to run the Parks and Recreation Department, according to budget documents.

Among the incidents triggering payments are malpractice in public hospitals, police beatings, improper arrests, collisions with fire trucks and potholes causing accidents.

The increase in litigation payouts may put pressure on Mayor Michael Bloomberg as he weighs job and service cuts to close a $3.5 billion deficit in a $72 billion budget next year.

“It’s a huge problem for the city and trial lawyers will say it’s only justice,” said E.J. McMahon, a research fellow for the Manhattan Institute’s Empire Center for New York State Policy. “But it’s also a matter of some people considering a case before a New York jury the same as winning the lottery.”

The Manhattan Institute calls for changes to contingency fees for plaintiffs’ lawyers and advocates a so-called loser pays system for legal costs.

One reason New York’s legal payouts are rising, according to the city’s Law Department, is that unlike California, Illinois and Pennsylvania, the state has no laws that cap damages or limit liability in suits against municipal governments.

Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, countered that the Law Department is too quick to settle cases and that some lawyers manipulate the system.

“It’s a cottage industry, suing the department,” Browne said.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

'Five Star': A coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang…

'Five Star' tells a coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang culture at the Tribeca Film Festival.

National

New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…

Local

NYPD detective shoots partner: DA

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.

Local

Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…

Music

Championship of Collegiate a Cappella: Students who are…

Tickets to this Saturday’s International Championship of Collegiate a Cappella reportedly sold out within 11 hours of going on sale.

Music

M.I.A. talks 'Matangi,' divinity, spontaneity and holograms

"There’s pressure for me to become a theatrical production like 'Glee,' or something" says M.I.A., "It’s like, 'the pressure’s on, bitches.'"

Movies

Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.

NHL

Rangers unlikely to change lineup, Steve Mason in…

Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault wouldn't say much, but don't expect any lineup changes.

NBA

Jason Collins named to Time's 100 Most Influential…

Jason Collins was named to the list after coming out as the first openly gay player to appear in an NBA game.

NBA

Nets excited for Brooklyn fans to bring the…

Kevin Garnett has definitely used profanity while trash talking or in practices, but never to describe an entire borough.

NHL

Rangers turn up shot blocking in Game 3…

Game 3 of the Rangers-Flyers opneing round series was not a return to John Tortorella hockey.

Parenting

New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.

Tech

From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.

Style

Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.

Style

MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.