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Transportation Nation

High Court Ruling on GPS Tracking Could Affect NYC Taxi Suit

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

NYC Taxi (photo: Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

(New York -- Kathleen Horan, WNYC) A local attorney will argue a case using the recent Supreme Court decision banning law enforcement from using GPS to track suspects without a warrant to challenge the use of data gathered from GPS systems in cabs as evidence. He's defending a taxi driver in a lawsuit against the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission.

The driver, Mr. Robert Carniol, is one of thousands of cabbies who were accused of overcharging passengers by pushing the out-of-town rate on their meter in 2010. He was found guilty in an administrative hearing and lost his license. But attorney Dan Ackman is arguing in State Supreme court next month that officials obtained GPS data about his client and others illegally.

"Taxi drivers did not consent to be followed around individually 24 hours a day," Ackman said.

He said Monday's Supreme Court decision against law enforcement using GPS to track suspects is relevant, because the information in both cases was seized without a warrant that presents an illegal search and seizure.

"When you're seeking someone's livelihood by taking their license, as the TLC is, to me that's also law enforcement," Ackman said.

But Diana Murray, senior counsel with NYC Law Department, said "the courts have long recognized that 4th amendment privacy protections aren't applicable to highly-regulated industries such as the pawn shop and like taxi industries. The GPS in cabs is only active when the driver is on-duty and is deactivated when the driver is off-duty."

The city is seeking to have the case dismissed.

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WNYC News

Bloomberg Stands By Homeless Policy, Denies Rift With Quinn

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WNYC

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the city's new homeless policy in the face of a threatened lawsuit by the City Council.

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The Takeaway

Nevada May Sue BofA; Executive Pay Exceeds Taxes Paid at Top Corporations

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our partner, The New York Times, reported yesterday that Nevada's attorney general is asking a federal judge to throw out a settlement made between the state and Bank of America, claiming the bank violated the broad loan modification agreement it made with Nevada in 2008. If the judge throws the settlement out, Nevada would likely sue Bank of America.

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WNYC News

City Can Move Ahead on School Closings And Charters, Judge Says

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A state judge has given the city the green light to close 22 failing schools, and let 15 charter schools share space with regular schools when he declined to grant an injunction requested by the teachers union and the NAACP.

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WNYC News

City Goes to Court Over Charter Schools

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The city, the teachers union and the NAACP will square off in court Tuesday over plans to let 19 charter schools take space in the same buildings as regular schools. And, like most things in New York City, the feud is largely about real estate.

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WNYC News

Higher Grad Rates at Some High Schools Set to Close

Monday, June 20, 2011

Seven out of 14 failing high schools the city wants to close posted higher on-time graduation rates last year — and advocates who have sued to keep the schools open says that's a good sign.

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WNYC News

As Court Date Looms, City Revises Plans for Charter Schools

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ahead of a court date Tuesday, the city has been revising plans for charter schools it plans to move or expand inside buildings with regular schools.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

NYPD Tort Cases

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bob Hennelly, WNYC senior reporter, discusses his reporting on lawsuit settlements by the New York Police Department, which last year paid $136 million in settlements.

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WNYC News

With Budget Deadline Looming, City Lawsuits Come Under Scrutiny

Monday, June 13, 2011

With the City budget deadline looming, the City Council is trying to find the hundreds of millions of dollars needed to prevent teachers layoffs and fire company closures. One area of city spending getting additional scrutiny is the hundreds of millions paid each year to settle lawsuits.

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WNYC News

Judge Hears Arguments to Block Park51 Islamic Center Near Ground Zero

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A State Supreme Court judge heard arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit meant to block development of Park51, the proposed mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero. But he often seemed skeptical of arguments made by the plaintiff and suggested he did not want to challenge the authority of city administrators who had cleared the way for the controversial project.

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Transportation Nation

Residents File Lawsuit To Remove Bike Lane

Monday, March 07, 2011

Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation)  In a rare legal action, a group of residents opposed to a two-way protected bike lane along Prospect Park in Brooklyn has filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn state court to have it removed.  The city law department says it received the papers late Monday afternoon and "is reviewing them thoroughly."  A pdf file of the lawsuit can be found here (NBBL vs. NYCDOT) or at the end of the post.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the group Neighbors for Better Bike Lanes, which is backed by the former New York City DOT commissioner, Iris Weinshall, her husband, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, and a group of residents, many of whom live along Prospect Park. In legal papers, the group says says the city did not perform an environmental review, did not adequately collect data, and did not accurately measure the safety of the design changes after they were implemented.  It seeks removal of the bike lane, and restoration of Prospect Park West to three lanes of automobile traffic and two lanes of parking, with no bike lane.

The two-way bike lane was approved by the local community board before it was installed.

Transportation Nation first broke the story of the Brooklyn lawsuit last month.

In a statement, city DOT spokesman Seth Solomonow said: “This project has clearly delivered the benefits the community asked for. Speeding is down dramatically, crashes are down, injuries are down and bike ridership has doubled on weekends and tripled on weekdays.”

DOT data has found crashes involving injuries are down 63%, speeding is down from 75% of cars to 20%, and cycling on the sidewalk down 80%.  Solomonow said there has been no change in traffic volumes or travel times.

In legal papers, opponents of the bike lane suggest that data did not adequately sample crashes, and that the time period it reflects was chosen arbitrarily. They say that if the city had looked only at data immediately prior to bike lane installation, it would have shown the bike lane did not increase safety.

City Councilman Brad Lander, who represents much of the district,  disputes that.

"Most neighborhood residents feel that Prospect Park West is now a calmer, safer street," said Lander.  “The data shows that accidents, injuries, riding on the sidewalk, and speeding are all down.  The DOT is proposing additional modifications – many suggested by community members – that will make PPW even safer.  I hope that the lawsuit does not put these additional safety improvements at risk.  Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I believe this lawsuit disregards the opinions and jeopardizes the safety of the community."

A survey Lander did of 3000 residents found three quarters support the bike lane.  Opponents said the survey is flawed.

NBBL vs. NYCDOT

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The Takeaway

Chevron May Pay Big to Ecuador

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Twenty years ago, the Amazon River in Ecuador was heavily contaminated after chemical-laden wastewater was dumped into it. The effects on the surrounding population were devastating: illness, death, and economic loss. Chevron Corp., the U.S.'s second largest oil company, is the alleged culprits, and the company may have to pay at least $8 billion to repair damages after a ruling yesterday. In a statement, Chevron reacted, saying "The Ecuadorian court's jumdgment is illegitimate and unenforceable. It is the product of fraud and is contrary to the legitimate scientific evidence. Chevron will appeal this decision in Ecuador and intends to see that justice prevails."

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Transportation Nation

When Public Transit Kills, Who To Sue?

Friday, November 05, 2010

(Washington, DC — David Schultz, WAMU) You can sue your boss, you can sue your spouse, you can sue your best friend - you can even sue yourself!

But you can't sue the government.

Photo courtesy: flickr user kristinashan

If the government enacts a law or a policy that injures you in some way - either physically or financially - you can't sue it for damages. That's because of a legal clause known as "sovereign immunity."

The clause has roots dating back to monarchical times. It's designed to give legislative bodies the freedom to make laws in the public good without fear of crippling legal payouts that would deplete their treasuries.

Of course, if you or your loved one has had your lives upended by, say, a horrific subway train crash, you're not a huge fan of sovereign immunity.

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The Takeaway

The Department of Justice vs. Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it has filed a lawsuit against Arizona Sheriff Joseph Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Maricopa County for failing to turn over documents in an investigation into alleged discrimination, unconstitutional searches and seizures, and jail policies that discriminate against people with limited English skills. In their complaint, the government agency says the sheriff's office has failed to turn over documents relating to the case and has refused to cooperate. It is the first time in decades a lawman has refused to cooperate in one of the agency's probes. Sheriff Arpaio says the government is targeting him - and Arizona.

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Transportation Nation

Advocates for the Disabled File Transit Suit

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

(Brooklyn, NY- WNYC) Advocates for the disabled have now officially charged the NYC MTA with violating the Americans with Disability Act over its bus line cuts. The suit claims the transit agency has discriminated against those with disabilities who can't ride the subways because they are in wheelchairs or have other physical or mental disabilities that make it almost impossible to navigate New York's subway system. The vast majority of New York subway stops don't have elevators. Ailsa Chang first covered this story earlier this month. Click here for the full story.

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WQXR News

Possible Settlement for 9/11 Workers

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A federal judge praises proposed legal settlement for ground zero workers that could pay as much as $712.5 million.

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The Takeaway

Internal Memo Reveals Wal-Mart Aware of Discriminatory Pay

Friday, June 04, 2010

Discount retailing giant Wal-Mart is facing the largest class action lawsuit in American history. Over one million women say that the corporation pays both salaried and hourly female workers less than their male counterparts.

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WNYC News

Conflicting Reports on Seizure of Mentally Ill Man

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


The family of a mentally ill man, Gamalier Reyes, plans to sue the NYPD for beating him so brutally, they say he'll need facial reconstruction surgery. Relatives and supporters gathered today outside of the 83rd Police Precinct in Bushwick, Brooklyn, holding photographs of Reyes' damaged face. Last Saturday, when Reyes, who is schizophrenic, refused to take his medicine, his mother called his social worker, who then called 911. Zully De La Cruz, Reyes' sister, says when the police arrived they used unnecessary force on her brother, who was upset, but not violent:

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