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

Metro announces Earth Day New York partnership for…

Metro is pleased to announce we are once again the media partner of Earth Day New York for 2014.

International

Putin fields question from NSA fugitive Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of intelligence eavesdropping, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin a question on Thursday during…

Local

Cops release sketch of Madison Avenue jewelry robbery…

Authorities continue to look for a man suspected in a $54,000 jewelry heist at a Madison Avenue store from from last week.

National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

Television

Way to go, guys: 'Game of Thrones' broke…

Proving that not everyone has parents who subscribe to HBO and are generous with their HBO Go logins, the latest episode of "Game of Thrones"…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Movies

Review: 'Fading Gigolo' finds few jokes in women…

John Turturro writes, directs and stars in "Fading Gigolo," in which he plays a prostitute whose pimp is Woody Allen. And there's still very few jokes.

Movies

Interview: 'Fading Gigolo' director John Turturro talks about…

John Turturro discusses his new film "Fading Gigolo," how to get Woody Allen to wear more than khakis and the far-off "Barton Fink" sequel.

NHL

Rangers' speed versus Flyers' size makes interesting playoff…

Among the myriad aspects that will make this Metropolitan Division semifinal series fascinating will be the battle between the Rangers' speed and the Flyers' size,…

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

NBA

Nets-Raptors first round NBA playoffs schedule, TV, times

The Nets tanked their way to the No. 6 seed over the course of the final few games of the season.

NBA

Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.

Parenting

Star-studded summer camps

Give your child the star treatment this summer with a celebrity-endorsed camp.