Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Municipal Litigation Attorney

Municipal litigation is a growing area of my practice.  I have substantial experience in the area, ranging from administrative hearings, to State court litigation, to Federal trials and appeals.

In addition to numerous run of the mill slip/trip and fall cases and "lights and sirens" motor vehicle cases, I have litigated a number of highly complex multi-million dollar liability cases dealing with the very limited exceptions to governmental immunity for discretionary judgments.  In one case, I had a client who was rendered a parapalegic in a shooting at a Bronx housing project while basic security measures (such as who would fix broken door locks) were tied up in red tape.  I have had two wrongful death cases related to negligent psych evaluations.  One where a mental patient was improperly released from State care and pushed someone onto the subsay tracks, and another where staffing changes led to a police officer having his firearm returned despite despite imminent threats to use it to kill himself.  I also litigated a case, and won a precedent-setting appeal, on the issue of the duty to report and respond to a third-party assault.

With employment, constitutional, and civil rights issues, I have argued a First Amendment case before the Second Circuit Court of Appes, and litigated multiple such cases before the Federal and State trial courts.  I have litigated several due process cases, including successfully bringing an Article 78 to have a volunteer EMS worksr reinstated to service, and litigating a pro bono appeal on the sufficiency of the hearings over red light camera tickets.  

As I'm writing this, I'm sitting in court waiting to be heard on a case where I am representing a town worker named in a sexual harassment suit, whom the Town is not defending due to a conflict.

I would prefer to have a steady practice representing municipalities, but I may also accept good Plaintiff's cases (assuming there's no conflict).  I have seen many attorneys who are eager to bring municipal claims on the idea that there are deep pockets, but I have a very different approach and perspective.  Municipal claims are difficult to win, and can be a waste of time and resources (mine, the client's, and the public's) if brought unnecessarily.  I have seen personal injury cases, for example, where the client recovered less and waited longer due to adding a poorly thought out municipal claim to an otherwise simple case.  I'm very selective about what plaintiffs' cases I take, but it is because I know the difference between a good case and a bad one.