Saturday, October 6, 2012

Report on civil litigation against NY city shows increase in cases filed vs police department; reformers blame the victims

The New York World is reporting (here) that the recently released Mayor’s Management Report reveals a 28 percent increase in claims against New York City over the previous fiscal year and that most of the cases are civil rights violations claims against the police department. In 2010, the NYPD became the city agency with the highest volume of tort claims with more than 8,100, surpassing the Department of Transportation and the Health and Hospitals Corporation, and accounting for $135.8 million of the city’s total expenditures for judgments and settlements. (Given a recent court ruling on false arrests by the city police, it also predicts the numbers will soon be higher.)

The consequences for the city can be costly.  The article states that "because cases against the NYPD can take at least two to three years to conclude, a spike now means that payouts for court judgments and settlements are likely to squeeze the city budget in coming years."

Interestingly, as soon as the report came out, tort reformers, as usual, immediately assessed the situation by blaming the victims. See here. According to this twisted view, the problem is the fact that victims of civil rights abuses file too many claims, not that the police is committing too many torts.  Perhaps if the city learned from its mistakes and caused fewer injuries, it would not have to spend so much money paying up for their liability. 

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