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By Andrea Peyser
October 3, 2016
This crook just might have hit the jackpot.
Saykou George admits he wielded a knife as he was caught on video allegedly shoving a New York City cop and slugging him in the face last year. Now, in a new lawsuit that should make solid citizens scream, George, 31, of Harlem is suing the city, as well as two police officers, for an unspecified sum, claiming his civil rights were violated by a false arrest.
He contends in his cockamamie suit that cops should have used a “pocket ruler’’ to measure the gravity knife he swung, to determine if it was too small to be illegal. I wish I were kidding, but I’m as serious as a heart attack.
Suing the city has become a favorite pastime for people with nothing to lose and potential riches to gain, and a veritable cottage industry for ambulance-chasing lawyers.
Take Dominique Sharpton. Or better yet, make her go away.
The Rev Al’s 30-year-old daughter has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the city, claiming she suffered permanent injury to her ankle after stumbling into a pothole in Manhattan. But the diva of disfigurement admitted in a damning July deposition, a transcript of which was obtained by The Post, that just hours after the 2014 fall, she changed into a party dress and attended a gospel concert in honor of her dad’s 60th birthday, before finally heading to an emergency room. She concedes she was told that nothing was broken.
She did, however, say under oath that she can’t “dive off a diving board, go skiing . . . or go run marathons” — but admitted she was never a runner. “But if I, you know, if I needed to do it and exercising or something like that, I was capable of it. Now, I can’t.”
Dominique Sharpton said that she underwent physical therapy, wore a therapeutic boot, used crutches for a few weeks, got an injection after swelling in her ankle failed to subside, and eventually underwent surgery for ligament tears. But none of this prevented her from visiting her fiancé in Miami a dozen times in a year, working out, touring the country in a play, dancing with her dad in New Orleans, and, most gallingly, hiking a mountain in Bali.
She also danced in high heels, but said she can only wear them “for a short amount of time. It’s really annoying.”
No matter who wins these really annoying suits that eat up precious court time, the rest of us lose.
“It’s much cheaper to pay someone $10,000 for slipping on the sidewalk than litigating it,” top city lawyer Barry Slotnick, who’s not involved with George’s or Sharpton’s suits, told me. Most of the time, “you will get money because the city will settle,” he said.
Frivolous lawsuits have become a cash cow for the litigiously inclined, and clog a judicial system that should better be used to find justice for the rightfully aggrieved.
No city agencies are exempt from the gold rush.
Randy public-school romance language teachers Alini Brito and Cindy Mauro were fired from Brooklyn’s James Madison HS — evermore to be known as “Horndog High” — after a topless, married Brito was caught by a security officer in 2009 lying on the floor of a darkened classroom, with Mauro “kneeling between her legs.” An arbitrator reduced the Sapphic sweethearts’ penalties to suspensions. Then they sued the Department of Education.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Alice Schlesinger ripped the DOE in July for punishing two women with “unblemished records” (except for that lesbian romp in school). “The activities, sexual in nature, between two consenting adults involved no students,” Schlesinger declared, slashing Mauro’s two-year suspension in half while letting Brito’s one-year penalty stand.
Mauro now works as a substitute teacher in various schools, and Brito teaches in another Brooklyn school.
Desperate for relief from the gravy train, the city’s Law Department has set up a panel to fight state-court claims against the Police Department, modeled on a federal-court one.
Last year, taxpayers were hit with a record $202.6 million in jury awards and settlements in New York state courts. These include a $5,000 settlement awarded to a Brooklyn man who sued for $3 million after he was shot in the leg by a cop in 2010 — although he pleaded guilty to menacing a police officer with an 18-inch machete.
Stop the insanity!
Suing the city may beat working for a living. But in so many cases, it’s an insult and a burden to those of us who pay through the nose.