A mentally disabled man named Karl Taylor died in prison, and his estate has sued, accusing prison guards of beating and choking him to death.  In defending the case, New York State proposed to offer expert testimony “that in the time leading up to and at the time of his death, Mr. Taylor was experiencing acute symptoms of his psychotic illness.”

In an order today, Chief Judge McMahon granted a motion in limine to exclude the testimony, and, in doing so, warned the defendants about trying to devalue the life of Mr. Taylor:
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In an opinion today, Judge Ramos denied a motion to preliminary enjoin recent changes to the admissions process for New York City’s eight elite, specialized schools, which generally admit students based solely on a highly competitive test.  Last summer, the City announced modified the criteria somewhat to set aside a larger proportion of each class for disadvantaged students, with the aim of creating greater diversity.

The challengers alleged that the changes discriminate against Asian-Americans, but Judge Ramos, in denying a preliminary injunction, found that they were unlikely to succeed on that claim:
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In an opinion last week, Judge Daniels denied a motion to dismiss a case alleging that extreme delays in the Bronx Criminal Court system violated the constitutional guarantee of a speedy trial.  While Judge Daniels found that the named plaintiffs lacked standing because their cases had been resolved, Judge Daniels allowed 30 days for the plaintiffs to be replaced with plaintiffs having pending cases in the Bronx Criminal Court system.

On the merits, he found that the plaintiffs had stated a claim:
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Yesterday, Judge Sweet granted in part a motion for sanctions against the City of New York and the NYPD for spoliation of evidence in a class action over the NYPD’s alleged quotas for issuing summonses even when the officers lacked probable cause.  Judge Sweet found that the City failed to implement and maintain a litigation hold which, when combined with the NYPD’s robust document destruction policies already in place, led to the destruction of key evidence.  The lack of document preservation led to little or no documents being produced for key custodians, including no emails from former Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

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Judge Sweet denied last week the City of New York’s request to unseal 850,000 criminal court records for putative class members in a civil rights class action against the City.  The complaint, originally filed in 2010, alleges that the City of New York and the NYPD violated the class members’ civil rights by requiring officers to meet minimum quotas of summonses issued regardless of whether a crime had occurred or probable cause existed.  The records were sealed pursuant to a privilege codified in New York’s Penal Law.  The City argued that the records should be unsealed so that defendants could identify potential class members and then seek discovery from them in order to challenge class membership.

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The 119-page pinion, published this morning, states in the introduction:

This mountain of evidence and argument confirms that planning for, and responding to, emergencies and disasters is a Herculean task, and that, in many — perhaps most — respects, the City has done an outstanding job. But it also reveals that while the City’s emergency preparedness program adequately accommodates the needs of people with disabilities in some respects, it fails to do so in others. Most significantly, the City’s plans are inadequate to ensure that people with disabilities are able to evacuate before or during an emergency; they fail to provide sufficiently accessible shelters; and they do not sufficiently inform people with disabilities of the availability and location of accessible emergency services. Notably, there is no evidence that these failures are a result of intentional discrimination by the City against people with disabilities. But the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, and the NYCHRL seek to prevent not only intentional discrimination against people with disabilities, but also — indeed, primarily — discrimination that results from “benign neglect.” Alexander v. Choate, 469 U.S. 287, 301 (1985). Moreover, these laws require that a government entity do more than provide a program on equal terms to those with and without disabilities; they require “affirmative accommodations to ensure that facially neutral rules do not in practice discriminate against individuals with disabilities.” Henrietta D. v. Bloomberg, 331 F.3d 261, 275 (2d Cir. 2003). The evidence shows that the City has not done so in various ways.


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