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I came across this and thought it was interesting, if only because it is believed to be the only time a U.S. Supreme Court Justice said “Happy Halloween” from the bench. During oral argument on October 31, 2005 in the case of Central Virginia Community College v. Katz, 126 S. Ct. 990 (2006), the following exchange took…

Read More Judge Scalia: Halloween Fan
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In a recent case, SJS Distribution Systems v. Sam’s Club (decided October 11, 2013), the Eastern District of New York discussed and applied the doctrine of “spoliation” as it relates to discovery in civil litigation. There, plaintiff argued that it “discovered a discrepancy between the packaging of the diapers that it ordered and some of…

Read More Court Imposes Sanctions For Evidence Spoliation in Diaper Case
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Last Friday the Appellate Division, Fourth Department issued a short but sweet (for plaintiffs) Labor Law § 240 (1) decision. In Signs v. Crawford, plaintiff sustained injuries at a construction site owned by defendant “when a metal plate that was being hoisted by a jib fell and caught plaintiff’s glove, causing him to fall from scaffolding.” The trial…

Read More Scaffold Fall Results in Summary Judgment for Plaintiff Under Labor Law § 240(1)
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In Northeast Research LLC v. One Shipwrecked Vessel, 729 F.3d 197 (2nd Cir. Sept. 5, 2013), the Second Circuit held that the State of New York was the legal owner of the “Dunkirk Schooner” shipwreck – discovered in the “chill depths of Lake Erie” – under the Abandoned Shipwreck Act, 43 U.S.C. § 2101 et seq (ASA).…

Read More Second Circuit Holds That New York Owns Title to “Dunkirk Schooner” Shipwreck
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A recent Eastern District decision, Butler v. Coca-Cola, 12 Civ. 1791 (Aug. 26, 2013), illustrates the risks inherent in litigation in general and employment litigation in particular. There, the court taxed costs against plaintiff in the amount of $2,800.64 following its dismissal, on summary judgment, of plaintiff’s Section 1981 hostile work environment and retaliation claims. Citing the…

Read More Dismissal of “Marginal” Case Based on “Workplace Gossip” Results in Taxation of Costs Against Discrimination Plaintiff
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A Bronx Criminal Court judge recently concluded, in People Chavez, that “the common areas inside a residential apartment building, including its elevators, do not constitute a “public place” as defined by New York City’s “open container law”, New York City Administrative Code § 10–125. Defendant was charged with, inter alia, Resisting Arrest and Obstructing Governmental Administration…

Read More Apartment Building Elevator Not a “Public Place” Under NYC Open Container Law
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Recently, in Askins v. NYC, the Second Circuit explained the relationship between the liability of individual police officers, on the one hand, and that of a municipality (such as the City of New York), on the other. Specifically, it held that the dismissal of claims against individual police officers on qualified immunity and statute of…

Read More Second Circuit: Plaintiff Can Assert Municipal Liability Claims Even if Officers Have Qualified Immunity
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Last week an upstate trial court granted petitioner’s request to undo his termination for drinking on the job.  The decision is Peterson v. City of Poughkeepsie. Petitioner Carleton Peterson was employed by the City of Poughkeepsie as a Street Supervisor.  On Christmas Eve 2009, while working his shift from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., petitioner was…

Read More Court Rules That Termination for Drinking at Work Was Too Harsh a Penalty
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Today Judge Scheindlin found the City of New York liable, under Section 1983 and Monell v. Dept. of Social Services of the City of New York, for violating plaintiffs’ constitutional rights in connection with its stop-and-frisk program.  (Gothamist article here.) Her 198-page opinion (which mercifully has a table of contents) setting forth her findings of fact and conclusions…

Read More Floyd Plaintiffs Win Stop-and-Frisk Case
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