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The Perecman Firm

New York, NY Personal Injury Blog

The families of two construction workers killed in 2008 crane collapse awarded $48 million

Site of the crane collapse in 2008 that killed two construction workers

A New York City jury has awarded $47.8 million to the families of two construction workers killed when a crane collapsed at the East 91st Street site in 2008.

The verdict is against self-described “King of Cranes” James Lomma who tried to claim that worker Donald Leo Jr. caused his own death by being a “recalcitrant worker” who “willfully failed and refused to utilize available safety devices.”

However, the jury disagreed and assigned zero blame to Donald Jr. and two other contractors for the accident. Instead jurors determined Lomma was 61 percent responsible and his companies 39 percent liable.

Donald Jr. was a 30 year old crane operator from Staten Island when the bearing on his Kodiak crane cracked and the heavy machinery collapsed causing him to fall 240 feet to his death.  His family received over $16 million for the trauma he experienced and to cover his funeral expenses and economic losses to his family.

Jurors awarded over $32 million to the family of the 27 year old construction worker Ramadan Kurtaj, an immigrant from Kosovar who yelled “run! run!” to his coworkers when he saw the crane collapse just before he was crushed by the wreckage.

It took over 20 minutes for rescue workers to pull Kurtaj from under the rumble as he lay “moaning and groaning” according to his lawyer, Susan Karten.

Of the $32 million jury verdict, $24 million was for the pain and suffering Kurtaj endured before he succumbed to his injuries later that day at the hospital and passed away.

The rest included $7.5 million for the construction worker’s emotional distress and over $600,000 to compensate his family members for his future earnings.

In the following days, the jury will determine punitive damages which may result in Lomma having to pay millions more to the families of the deceased men.

NYPD officers on video using excessive force and beating a black man in Target

Police pinning down and beating 25 year old black man in Target.

Police caught on video beating a Black man in a Target on Flatbush Avenue, Saturday into Brooklyn.  A Target customer, Michael Rolland, recorded the encounter on his cell phone because he felt the police were using excessive force on the man who has been identified as 25 year old Alando Brissett.  “One person, 50 police” Rolland stated.

Sources vary on what led cops to place Brissett under arrest.  It was reported that the man had been to Target the day before the incident occurred and exchanged a few unkind words to a few employees that left one employee feeling unsafe when he returned that next day and police were called.

The man refused to give his name to the officers who claim he was resisting arrest, but the video shows a swarm of at least twenty cops at the time of filming.   Twenty cops for one man seems a bit excessive.

It appears that four officers pinned Brissett down as he struggled and the 14-minute video footage shows a male and female officer punching him repeatedly in the back. One of the officers used his knee to pin the suspect’s head to the floor.

Target released a statement saying police were called to the store because Brissett was acting in a concerning manner.

The man was charged with trespassing, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and obstructing government administration.

To most who watch the video, it suggests that the police used excessive force.  A spokesman for the New York Police Department said they are reviewing the video to determine if it is in fact a case of police brutality.

If you or anyone you know have experienced police brutality, wrongful arrest or your civil rights violated, contact the lawyers at The Perecman Firm where we will fight to get the justice you deserve.  Contact us today for a free consultation.

Protesters pepper sprayed after Black Lives Matter conference for questioning arrest of teen boy

Police officer pepper spraying protesters at Black Lives Matter conference

Hundreds of activists around the country attended the first Black Lives Matter conference that was held this past weekend in Cleveland, Ohio.

What was supposed to be a peaceful gathering, uniting civil rights activists from all over turned into an arrest of a 14 year old boy and a police officer unjustly pepper spraying the crowd of protesters.

Sources state the reason the teen was arrested was because he was drunk.  When protesters seen the boy in handcuffs they became concerned and crowded to the area to understand what was happening.  After pleading to the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority officers to no avail, the crowd united and locked arms to prevent the police cruiser from leaving the scene with the teen in the backseat.

Video was recorded on several cell phones which show the protesters were not unruly and officers were not in harm’s way, yet one cop decided to pepper spray the crowd to get them to disperse.  The Daily News reports that the crowd was “taunting” the officers for apparently not calling the boy’s mother during the arrest.  Even if that was the case, aren’t police officers supposed to know how to properly react under stress?  I don’t see how taunts, questions, nagging, or whatever you want to term it, should result in pepper spray.

Nevertheless that was the action the officer took and it was recorded on video.  Those injured used milk to ease the burn and the protesters comforted each other.

Transit Authority officials claim protesters tried to take the boy out of the cruiser, but there’s no video of that and no arrests were made.  The teen’s mother arrived and he was released to her and they drove away.

The protesters celebrated his release by chanting, jumping and cheering.  In the end there was still unity among the activists and this incident of police

Two New York City autistic teens missing

Missing autistic teen Davaion Needom

This past week, two New York City teens with autism went missing when they wandered away from their families.

Family members are desperately searching for 15 year old Davaion Needom, known as DJ, who was last seen early Wednesday morning at Lincoln Park in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn.  He was at the park with his uncle, Michael McCoy who was walking his dog and told Needom to stay seated until he returned.  When McCoy came back, Needom bolted and McCoy from until to catch him.

Needom, whom family members say has moderate autism, can able to communicate and is very friendly.  Originally from Atlanta, Needom now resides in the Bronx and isn’t familiar with the area that he disappeared from.

Needom’s family have posted flyers all around the neighborhood and he is described as 5 feet 4 inches tall and 120 pounds with a scar on the back of his head. He was last seen wearing a light blue polo shirt, dark jeans and striped Jordan sneakers (News 12).

Missing autistic teen Christian Santos from Yonkers

Thursday morning, 18 year old Christian Santos went missing from his home on Morsemere Avenue in Yonkers.  Authorities report that while Santos is able to communicate, they fear he may wander into the water as many people with autism have a fascination with bodies of water.

The teen’s family describes him as 5 feet 5 inches, 130 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing a black t-shirt, khaki pants, blue sneakers and a stainless steel chain with a black cross.

If you recognize one of these missing teens, please notify Crime Stoppers of their whereabouts at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Million People’s March to take place Saturday, July 25th in Newark, NJ

Thousands are expected to march against “police brutality

On Saturday, July 25th, the People’s Organization for Progress (POP) will hold a “Million People’s March” in Newark to protest against police brutality, racial injustice and economic inequality.

The march will start at noon and it will begin at the Lincoln monument at the intersection of West Market Street and Springfield Avenue in downtown Newark.

Police brutality is a serious problem and lately it’s been happening more often in the African American community.  Police officers are using excessive force on unarmed civilians causing them personal injury and even death.  Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Rekia Boyd, Walter Scott and 7-year-old Aiyana Jones just to name a few victims.

The public outrage over these occurrences and the lack of justice for the victims is what has sparked several protests around the world.  The police need to be accountable for their actions.  They should not be above the law, but instead enforcing it.

People’s Organization for Progress Chairman Lawrence Hamm stated, “We will march to demand an end to police brutality and justice for all of its victims, police reform, and an end to the problems of racial injustice and economic inequality which lead to police brutality.”

Thousands are expected to attend the march and it is endorsed by over 100 community and grassroots organizations, union locals, religious groups, political prisoners defense committees, immigrant rights, women’s and LGBTQ groups.


Two Brooklyn men awarded $500,000 for wrongful arrest

Meliek Sanders and Corey Phillips cleared by DNA evidence

The city will pay $500,000 to settle a federal lawsuit for two Brooklyn men who were falsely arrested and jailed for 11 months for a series of robberies they did not commit.

Thanks to DNA evidence and surveillance video Meliek Sanders and Corey Phillips were cleared of the robbery charges against them.  A video from one of the robberies shows the assailants were both the same height but Sanders is an astounding 6-feet-6 inches tall and Phillips is remarkably shorter.

A spokesman for the Law Department stated the settlement was in the best interest of the city based on the evidence.  Legal fees amounting to $250,000 will also be paid by the city.

How do you put a price on injustice?  Two lives were turned upside down and their civil rights violated.  Time is something we cannot get back and jail isn’t a pleasant experience for anyone.

Their lawyer Michael Lumer stated, “While nothing will make up for the eleven months Meliek and Corey spent wrongly imprisoned, this resolution will help them reclaim their lives.”

If you or someone you know has been a victim of false arrest, police brutality or had your civil rights violated contact the attorneys at The Perecman Firm.  We fight for you and we have the experience and legal knowledge necessary to help you obtain a favorable outcome.  Contact us today for a free consultation.

Drunk Driver kills four friends in Long Island

Truck t-boned limo killing four friends

The 55 year old truck driver who killed four friends when his pickup truck t-boned their limo on Saturday afternoon was charged with a misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated and arraigned Sunday from his hospital bed at Eastern Long Island Hospital according to CBS NY.

Steven Romeo of Bethpage is a local Long Island business man who was reportedly drunk and speeding when his truck crashed into a limo on route 48 at Depot Lane in Cutchogue, on the North Fork of Long Island.  The limo contained a young group of friends who were on a wine tour in Long Island.  The women had just left Vineyard 48 and the limo driver, 58 year old Carlos Pino, was making a U-turn, although legal, it’s a dangerous move.

The strong force of Romeo’s pickup truck almost tore the limo in half.  Three women died on the scene, another died at the hospital and two women are listed in critical condition.

The group of friends, all women in their twenties were out celebrating and hired a limo to drive them around so they could enjoy themselves and not have to worry about driving drunk.  A very responsible move on their part, but who would have predicted this bitter twist of irony that ended so fatally.

According to NY Daily News, a Cutchogue resident who lives one block from the crash site said the roads leading to the wineries are known to be treacherous.

“These roads were made for potato trucks, not super stretch limos and party buses,” said Nicole Brewer.

28 year old black woman, Sandra Bland dies in police custody

28 year old Sandra Bland died in a Texas jail cell

Sandra Bland was a 28 year old black woman from Naperville, Illinois who was set to start a new job at her alma mater Texas Prairie View A & M when she was pulled over for improper signaling a lane change, arrested and then found dead three days later in her Texas jail cell.

An officer pulled Bland over on Friday, July 10th for failing to signal a lane change, according to Waller County Sheriff’s Department officials.  Bland was removed from the car and reportedly thrown to the ground.

“After he pulled her out of the car, forced her and tossed her to the ground, knee to the neck, and arrested her,” says her friend Malcom Jackson.

There is video of Bland face down on the ground and the officer on her back. Bland can be heard saying “You just slammed my head into the ground. Do you not even care about that? I can’t even hear!”

Bland was arrested and charged with “Assault on a Public Servant” and taken to a Waller County jail by a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper.

Three days later on Monday around 9:00 am, Bland was found dead, hanging in her jail cell.  The sheriff’s office stated that she died from “what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation,” but Bland’s family and friends aren’t buying it.  They want to know what happened in that jail. Bland was described as “a warm, affectionate, outspoken woman” excited about starting her new job in student outreach and would have never taken her own life.

An autopsy on Tuesday ruled Bland’s death a suicide, but her family wants federal authorities to take over the case and do a full investigation.  Many are asking, how did a routine traffic stop end in death? An online petition has also been created calling for the Justice Department to take over

Unarmed black man Jonathan Sanders killed after deadly chokehold by police officer

Jonathan Sanders died after being placed in a chokehold by a Mississippi police officer

Jonathan Sanders a 39 year old unarmed black man from Stonewall, Mississippi died after Officer Kevin Herrington placed him in a chokehold for over 20 minutes on the night of July 8, 2015.

Sanders who was a farmer and was at a gas station with his horse and two wheel buggy last Wednesday night, witnessed an altercation between Officer Herrington and a white gentleman he knew.  When Sanders approached the pair, and asked Herrington to leave the man alone, the officer became angry and according to the witness, stated “I’m going to get that n—-r.”

Herrington got in his police car to chase after Sanders and when he turned his blue lights on, it startled Sanders’ horse who jolted and caused him to fall to the ground.  According to witnesses, when Sanders began to run after his horse, that’s when Officer Herrington grabbed him from behind and placed him in a fatal chokehold for over 20 minutes.  Sanders also stated several times “I can’t breathe.”

Another witness who watched the incident from his house, said he ran outside and told the officer to let him go, when he saw Sanders’ was unconscious, he pleaded with the officer to let him perform CPR, but Herrington refused.

State medical examiners provisionally found Sanders died through homicide by manual asphyxiation, according to the Sanders family attorneys Chokwe Lumumba and CJ Lawrence. They believe there is probable cause for prosecution.

The Guardian reported, Clarke County’s district attorney Bilbo Mitchell, stated that he had handled 15 cases of killings by police during his career and none had resulted in an officer being indicted.

Of course many want answers but autopsy results are being analyzed and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation stated an investigation was ongoing and it is too soon to know what really happened.

The details of this case sound

The Perecman Firm will be sponsoring the Ecuadorian Day Parade

Ecuadorian Civic Committee (ECC) of New York, Inc

In honor of Ecuadorian Heritage Month, The Perecman Firm will be a sponsor for the Ecuadorian Day Parade taking place Sunday, August 2, 2015 on Northern Blvd, in Queens, New York.

The Ecuadorian Civic Committee (ECC) of New York, Inc is a non-profit charitable organization created in 1978, with a mission to educate and train the Ecuadorian population and other citizens through the implementation of national programs and provide a united force to address the concerns of Ecuadorian groups in the area.

The Latino Market is the fastest growing consumer group in the Tri-state area, in population and in buying power. Each year, more than 100,000 Latinos attend and celebrate the Ecuadorian Day Parade.  This parade has a consistent history of support from the highest dignitaries of the city and state including the honorable Mayor Bloomberg, State appointees, Honorary City guests and the support of the entire community.

The parade is the central act for the exhibition of Ecuadorian heritage and we are excited to participate the celebration of a culture rich in history and beliefs.  It will take place on Sunday, August 2nd and it spans from 69th Street to 92nd along Northern Blvd in Queens, NY.  Come join the celebration!