NYC terror attack victim’s parents plan to sue city

By Bruce Golding; November 21, 2017 5:42pm

https://nypost.com/2017/11/21/nyc-terror-attack-victims-parents-plan-to-sue-city/

The parents of a victim in last month’s terrorist truck attack along Manhattan’s west side bike path filed notice Tuesday that they plan to sue the city over his grisly death.

Barbara and James Drake allege that officials were “grossly negligent” for “failing to remedy the known occurrence of frequent motor vehicles entering the bike path.”

Paperwork served on city Comptroller Scott Stringer and the Hudson River Park Trust says 32-year-old Darren Drake of New Milford, New Jersey, suffered “extensive trauma” along with “fear and terror of the impending incident” when he and seven others were fatally mowed down on Oct. 31.

“My clients are heartbroken because this terrible tragedy was 100 percent preventable,” plaintiffs’ lawyer Rosemarie Arnold said.

The Drakes also plan to sue the state and filed similar paperwork with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, she said. Their eventual suit will also target Home Depot, from which accused killer Sayfullo Saipov rented the flatbed truck used in the bloody attack, Arnold said.

Saipov, 29, allegedly shouted “Allahu akbar” — Arabic for “God is great” – when he hopped out of the rented flatbed truck brandishing pellet and paintball guns following the carnage, that also left more than a dozen others injured.

The immigrant from Uzbekistan was busted when a cop on patrol nearby shot him in the gut, and allegedly asked for an ISIS flag to decorate his hospital room.

Authorities installed concrete barriers at 57 spots along the pathway afterward.

Last week, The Post revealed that data obtained by the NYC Park Advocates group showed 50 motorists were ticketed for driving on the path — and one was busted for driving while intoxicated — between January and October.

Stringer’s office and the Park Trust — which oversees the bike path for the city and state — declined to comment, while Scheiderman’s office didn’t return an inquiry.

A Home Depot spokesman noted that the company “cooperated with law enforcement throughout this ordeal to help them with their investigation.”

New Milford parents of terror attack victim intend to sue New York City

Joshua Jongsma, Staff Writer; Published 6:07 p.m. ET Nov. 21, 2017; Updated 4:02 p.m. ET Nov. 22, 2017

http://www.northjersey.com/story/news/bergen/new-milford/2017/11/21/new-milford-parents-terror-attack-victim-intend-sue-new-york-city/887019001/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/11/21/nyc-terror-attack-victims-parents-sue-city/887635001/

The parents of a New Milford man killed in the New York City terrorist attack on Halloween intend to sue the city and multiple departments citing an unsafe environment that contributed to the attack.

Darren Drake, 32, was one of eight people killed on Oct. 31, when authorities say Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old Uzbekistan immigrant from Paterson, sped down a bike path in lower Manhattan in a truck he rented from The Home Depot. He allegedly knocked down pedestrians and cyclists, including Drake, before ramming a school bus.

Also Tuesday, Saipov was charged in Manhattan federal court with providing material support to the Islamic State group, along with eight counts of murder and 12 counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering. Numerous counts carry a potential penalty of death.

Drake’s parents, James and Barbara, are seeking monetary damages from the City of New York and its Department of Parks and Recreation, Department of Transportation, and the Hudson River Park Trust.

According to the notice to sue issued Tuesday by attorney Rosemarie Arnold, representing the Drake family, the agencies being sued were “grossly negligent” in the operation of the bike path.

Officials responsible for the path did not recognize vehicles had “easy access” to the path and did not install barriers that could have blocked entry, according to the intent to sue document.

“All of the above entities were instrumental in creating and constructing the bike path, which should have been free and clear of vehicular traffic,” Arnold stated in an email to NorthJersey.com. “All of the above mentioned entities were aware that vehicles regularly either mistakenly or purposefully used the bike path but did nothing to curtail that problem. The terrorist, who did a test run of his terror mission, knew in advance that he would have unfettered access to the plaintiff and other victims.”

Messages left for the New York City Comptroller’s Office, which handles claims for and against the city, were not immediately returned.

A 2003 graduate of New Milford High School, Drake lived most of his life in the borough. He was pursuing a second master’s degree in technology management from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, and was a program manager for Moody’s Analytics at the World Trade Center.

“Darren was a highly educated, well-loved, successful 32-year-old man who was a happy, positive person who used biking as a means to stay healthy in mind and body,” Arnold stated. “His parents are heartbroken, especially since this terrible tragedy was completely preventable.”

A message left for James Drake on Tuesday night was not returned.

Darren Drake rode his bike on the lower Manhattan path every day to stay slim, Arnold said. On the morning of the attack he spoke to his mother and was distressed because he was too busy at work to take his ride that day, Arnold continued. However, one of his appointments canceled and he was able to ride his bike for an hour — the same time as the attack.

Barriers were credited with preventing more fatalities and injuries when a car plowed into pedestrians in Times Square in May.

The New York State Department of Transportation recommends bollards for paths shared by cyclists and pedestrians

“Unauthorized motor vehicles are banned from bicycle or shared-use paths,” the state’s design guide says. “Barriers should be provided.”

However, the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials calls them “ineffective” and says they may hinder access by emergency vehicles and cause serious injuries to cyclists who strike them.

Ridgewood father speaks on son’s brutal beating on school sports field

POSTED 7:12 PM, NOVEMBER 17, 2017, BY CHRISTIE DUFFY

Exclusive: Ridgewood father speaks on son’s brutal beating on school sports field

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Two New Jersey families have now filed suit against the Ridgewood School District, including students, and the social-media platform Snapchat after a teenage boy was video-taped being brutally beaten on school property.

The violent assault, which left the teen with a shattered skull, occurred on October 27 and again on October 28 on a school sports field.

“For the first week after I saw the video, I couldn’t sleep. The image is just so horrifying,” the father of the student beaten told PIX11 exclusively. He did not want himself or his son to be publicly identified and he did not want video of his son’s beating broadcast. “He’s got several titanium plates and screws to hold his skull and his face together.”

He said his son’s face is still numb and swollen from the assault. He’s had reconstructive surgery and he may need a second operation if the wounds don’t heal accordingly.

“In the media I’ve heard this called a fight,” said the family’s attorney, Rosemarie Arnold. “This was not a fight, this was an ambush and a beat down.”

According to the lawsuit and the teen’s father, a bully had been spreading rumors and circulating seductive photos of a female classmate at the high school. The teen beaten allegedly approached this student inside the school library and asked him to stop. In return, the alleged bully ordered a friend on the wrestling team to pummel the teen.

“This poor child was the only one who came forward and said you really need to stop this,” said Arnold. “And because he came forward, like he was taught, he got a beat down.”

The teenage girl and the teen beaten are the two alleged victims who are suing.

PIX11 contacted the Ridgewood Schools Superintendent for comment today. He referred us to earlier public statements published on the district’s website.

One reads: “[We] will use this recent incident to address ‘witness’ behavior as a school community. It is highly unfortunate that the incident – which happened after school hours on district property – resulted in unnecessary and unacceptable violence.”

New Jersey passed an anti-bullying bill of rights in 2010 in an effort to combat bullying in public schools.

“There is this whole thing now in high schools now, how they want you to try and intervene,” said Arnold. “They have interviews and they have training materials, but what they don’t do is they don’t teach you how to safely intervene,” said Arnold.

“Frankly, I’m disgusted,” said the boy’s father of the school’s response to the incident.

Teen whose beating was recorded by classmates suing high school

By Paul Milo, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com; Updated Nov 17, 2017; Posted Nov 16, 2017

http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2017/11/teen_whose_beating_was_recorded_by_classmates_suin.html

RIDGEWOOD– A boy who was beaten on public school property and a girl who was cyber-bullied are suing the school district, claiming they were victims of a cruel game involving social media that had been ignored by the district for years, their attorney said Thursday.

“Two years ago Ridgewood High School had this exact same problem where students were disseminating photos” and school officials failed to address the situation, said Rosemarie Arnold, of Fort Lee.

Police and school officials launched an investigation early this month after they learned of a male student who was allegedly beaten by classmates on school property outside school hours. The first incident occurred on Stevens Field, followed by a second incident on Brookside Field, according to Facebook posts and a news release sent out by Ridgewood police. The first fight happened around Oct. 23, according to a notice of claim filed by Arnold Thursday.

The youth was hospitalized after suffering serious injuries, including facial fractures and eye damage, Arnold said.

Students recorded the second fight and jeered the boy as it was occurring, Superintendent of Schools Daniel Fishbein said.

Arnold and family members say the boy was attempting to defend his girlfriend after pictures of her were circulated on social media. The girl was clothed in the pictures, which showed her from the waist up and had been sent to a prior boyfriend, Arnold said.

She also said that for at least two years students at the school have participated in a game the object of which is to collect nude photos of other students, which are then shared on social media.

“The board and the administration knew about this game but did nothing…The kids get a sense of ‘I have to handle this myself,'” Arnold said of the boy’s attempt to defend the girl.

The suit names Ridgewood High School and the Board of Education as defendants. The social media site Snapchat is also a defendant for allegedly failing to uphold its own policies governing certain kinds of photos.

A spokeswoman for the district could not immediately be reached Thursday night.

Harlem charter school choir teacher, 29, is jailed for sexually assaulting two boys aged 10 and 12 in sick fondling ‘game’ he made them play

  • Darnelle Watts was found guilty in January of predatory sexual assault against a child, sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child
  • Until October 2015, Watts had worked as a choir teacher and aide at Promise Academy II in Harlem, New York
  • Prosecutors said Watts had repeatedly sexually assaulted two boys, ages 10 and 12, between the fall 2014 and summer 2015
  • Watts told detectives he touched the penis of one of the boys ‘by accident’ while the two were at a movie theater
  • On another occasion he fondled one of the boys in the school auditorium

By Snejana Farberov For Dailymail.com

PUBLISHED: 14:15 EDT, 15 February 2017 | UPDATED: 17:48 EDT, 15 February 2017

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4228386/Harlem-teacher-gets-20-years-sexually-assaulting-boys.html

A former choir teacher at a Harlem charter school has been sentenced to 20 years to life in a state prison for sexually assaulting two young boys in his class.

Last month, 29-year-old Darnelle Watts was found guilty of one count of predatory sexual assault against a child and four counts of first-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a press release announcing Watts’ sentencing on Wednesday that it took a jury just two hours to convict the teacher.

Watts worked as choir teacher and after-school aide at Promise Academy II, a charter elementary school in the Harlem section of Manhattan.

Prosecutors said during Watts’ trial in January that between September 2014 and May 2015, the 29-year-old repeatedly fondled a 10-year-old boy who was a student in his class. The attacks took place both on and off campus.

Watts was also convicted of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old student between March 2015 and June 2015.

According to court documents filed in the case and cited by the New York Daily News last year, when he was interviewed by police about the allegations, Watts claimed that he touched the penis of one of the boys ‘by accident’ while the two were at a movie theater.

The 29-year-old told detectives that he and the child were playing a ‘game’ where they would hit one another’s genitalia.

‘I did ask (Doe) to pull his penis and I pulled out my penis. I touched (Doe’s) penis and (Doe) touched my penis. But I didn’t let him finish me off,’ he said when questioned over the molestation.

Watts, who at one time had been part of the famed Boys’ Choir of Harlem, later described another encounter with the boy in the elementary school auditorium, which involved the teacher and the student exposing their genitals and touching one another.

He further confessed to letting the grade-schooler look at pornographic material on his phone, including a photo of Watts’ penis, which he said he had snapped to send to someone.

‘I’m not circumcised. I like girls,’ he told detectives.

Watts was fired from his job at the renowned charter school in October 2015 after the sexual abuse allegations against him first came to light.

The families of the two victims last year filed a civil lawsuit against him, Promise Academy II and the city, accusing officials of failing to remove the predatory teacher from the classroom sooner.

Attorney Rosemarie Arnold, who is representing the victims in the lawsuit, told the DailyMail.com in a brief phone interview on Wednesday that she finds the idea of Watts getting out of prison at some point in the future to be ‘unthinkable’ after what he had done to her clients.

District Attorney Vance said in Wednesday’s statement that there is cause for concern that there may be additional victims out there, given that Watts had been in constant contact with children.

According to the lawsuit, obtained by Daily Mail, one of the victims, whose initials are N.T., is a learning-disabled student who had attended the school from 2008 to 2015.

The other plaintiff, who goes by initials M.H., was a fifth-grader who had been enrolled at Promise Academy II from September 2014 to July 2015.

The complaint accuses Watts of touching and groping the boys, ‘wrestling’ with them ‘so he could feel their bodies underneath their clothes,’ exposing his penis to NT and forcing the child to watch ‘sexually explicit pornographic videos on his cell phone.’

The lawsuit alleges battery, assault, negligent, intentional and reckless emotional distress, along with negligent hiring, supervision and retention.

Mom breastfeeds wrong newborn after hospital mix-up: suit

By Kaja Whitehouse and Reuven Fenton – February 10, 2017

http://nypost.com/2017/02/10/mom-breastfeeds-wrong-newborn-after-hospital-mix-up-suit/

A New Jersey woman claims she was handed the wrong child in the hospital for breast-feeding.

Melissa Richman, of Montvale, says in a new lawsuit that she spent about 20 minutes happily breast-feeding the newborn, who was handed to her by a nurse about 4:30 a.m. on Sept. 30.

“It was the middle of the night. I had just had a very serious, three-hour C-section. I was extremely sick from all the medication. I was not in my right mind, and I didn’t think to check,” the 39-year-old mom of three told The Post on Thursday.

Suddenly the nurse returned, yanked the child from her breast and finally handed her the right kid, the lawsuit says. But by this time, Melissa was empty of milk, said lawyer Rosemarie Arnold.

Her crying, hungry daughter, Scarlett, was forced to drink formula from a bottle, meaning she didn’t get her mom’s colostrum, the special milk that mothers secrete in the first days after birth and which aids the baby’s digestion and immune system while ridding it of lingering toxins, her suit says.

That mistake deprived Scarlett of the nutrient-rich colostrum that “rightly belonged” to her, says the lawsuit targeting Valley Hospital of Ridgewood.

Arnold said the 4:30 a.m. feeding was the second time Melissa had breast-fed after her daughter’s birth — leaving the mom worrying that she may have nursed the wrong kid the first time, too.

That would mean her own daughter might not have eaten since her birth, a total of 14 hours, the lawyer said.

“This is just a horrible thing for a mother,” Arnold said.

Adding insult to injury, Melissa was later forced to undergo three blood tests so that the hospital could ensure she didn’t pass any diseases on to the other couple’s child, the lawsuit says.

But the hospital staff took far less care when it came to Melissa and her own baby’s health, the papers say.

The nurse, upon realizing the mix-up, had immediately shoved Scarlett on Melissa’s breast without wiping the other baby’s saliva off first, leaving the Richmans’ daughter exposed to a potential transfer of bacteria and other health concerns, they said.

The family’s lawyer said Scarlett now suffers from reflux, rashes and allergies.

Meanwhile, the mix-up made the Richmans wonder for weeks if they had even taken home the right baby, Melissa told The Post.

“I was deprived of the opportunity to properly bond with my daughter those first few weeks until we had the DNA results back that assured us she was ours,” Melissa said.

Melissa and her husband, David Richman, are suing in Hackensack state court, alleging malpractice and seeking damages.

Valley Hospital did not return a request for comment.

Hospital Accused of Switched-at-Birth Breastfeeding Blunder in Lawsuit

By Chris Glorioso

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/investigations/Breastfeeding-Mother-Given-Wrong-Newborn-Baby-Mix-Up-New-Jersey-Hospital-Lawsuit-413329873.html

A New Jersey mother is suing the hospital where she gave birth, claiming nurses gave her the wrong newborn to breastfeed.

Melissa Richman, 39, of Ridgewood, says The Valley Hospital failed to double-check identification bracelets when maternity ward staff retrieved her hours-old baby for a 4:30 a.m. feeding. Twenty minutes into breastfeeding the infant, Richman says the nurse came back with shocking news.

“She actually said there was a terrible mistake. This was not your baby.”

In their lawsuit against The Valley Hospital, Melissa Richman and her husband David say the breastfeeding mixup deprived their newborn daughter of colostrum, the nutrient-rich milk produced by a new mother in the hours immediately following childbirth.

“She was frustrated and upset because there was really nothing left for her,” Melissa Richman said of her newborn.

“I had just nursed this other baby for 20 minutes so I was probably totally depleted,” she said.

The I-Team reviewed an 87-page medical file describing Melissa Richman’s childbirth and post-partum care. It makes no obvious mention of the breastfeeding mixup.

Rosemarie Arnold, the attorney representing Melissa Richman and her husband David, said those medical records raise the troubling possibility that parents of the mystery baby may not know their infant was drinking another mother’s milk.

“Who is the other baby? Is the other baby healthy? Who are those other parents?” said Arnold. “Maybe they’re out there and maybe they’re watching this and they’re going to say to themselves, ‘Oh, my God, that is us!'”

“It should be inconceivable that something like this could happen,” said David Richman.

Maureen Curran, a spokeswoman for The Valley Hospital, declined to comment on the lawsuit or on the medical center’s policies regarding the checking of patient ID bracelets before handing newborns over to parents.

Local Businessman Abused, Raped Teenage Niece For 3 Years, Court Docs Allege

Orient businessman and farm owner Steven Mezynieski allegedly tied up his niece with rope during the abuse, civil court docs say.

By Lisa Finn (Patch Staff) – February 3, 2017 4:37 pm ET

https://patch.com/new-york/northfork/local-businessman-allegedly-abused-raped-niece-3-years-15-court-docs-allege

A Long Island farm owner and businessman has been accused of raping and abusing his niece for a period of three years, and, in one incident, tied her up with rope without her consent in a greenhouse on his property during the alleged sexual abuse, court documents filed this week say.

According to a civil suit filed with the Suffolk County Supreme Court on Thursday, Steven Mezynieski, 44, who was charged with first-degree rape last August, began abusing his niece when she was 15, when she spent time at his Orient home due to the fact that her brother had just been diagnosed with cancer.

The complaint states that the abuse took place between 2012 and 2014 and details incidents when Mezynieski allegedly “took her on unsolicited shopping sprees and trips to Florida” and gave “her significant amounts of money” to single her out for special treatment. On those shopping trips he allegedly bought her lingerie, the documents state.

Mezynieski repeatedly performed oral sex on the teen without her consent, abused and raped her, the complaint states.

During one alleged incident, the complaint details, “As the rape continued, Plaintiff started screaming ‘no’ and in response, Defendant Steven M. Mezynieski choked” the teen.

The complaint also states that Mezynieksi allegedly forced the teen to drink alcohol and threatened ” . . .it would hurt her entire family if the truth came out, especially her mother who was worried about the cancer diagnosis of her brother and her.”

The young woman was diagnosed with a rare cancer herself in 2014, the complaint states.

Mezynieski’s attorney Eddie Burke Jr. responded: “These are bizarre and completely unfounded allegations intended to support false claims for money damages and smear my client’s good name. We will defend this lawsuit vigorously and not be subjected to a financial shakedown.”

Attorney Rosemarie Arnold, who has offices in Fort Lee, N.J., and midtown Manhattan, is representing the young woman, known in court papers as “J.G.,” now 20.

The amount of damages sought was not indicated in the court documents.

“It’s a sorry state when a human being is trusted with caring for his niece because her brother has cancer and instead of caring for her, he abuses her. What’s worse is this man has his own kids. He’s a child predator. He should be locked up behind bars,” Arnold said.

She added that the criminal case against Mezynieski is still pending.

“It’s very scary that a man who would commit these heinous acts is just walking around the upscale community of the Hamptons doing business with people who have no idea that he’s a predator,” the lawyer said. “He’s a sick and disgusting human being.”

In August, New York State Police in Farmingdale announced the arrest of Mezynieski. He was charged with first-degree rape, a felony, and first-degree criminal sex act, a felony, police said.

The charges are related to Mezynieski allegedly engaging in sexual relations with a female victim over the course of about three years, which started when the victim was under the age of consent, police said.

The investigation was conducted by members of the State Police Troop L Major Crimes Unit.

Mezynieski was arraigned before Judge Brian Hughes in Southold Town Justice Court and released on $25,000 bail, police said. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Later, the attorney representing Mezynieski said the charges filed against his client — charges of first-degree rape and first-degree criminal sex act, felonies — were not accurate.

Sag Harbor-based attorney Burke Jr. said the charges need to be clarified by New York State Police, who filed them under an incorrect subsection of the New York State penal code, he said.

According to Burke, the charges are “inapplicable to an underage situation.”

Instead, Burke said Mezynieski’s charges, under the statute of “forcible compulsion,” meaning “against the alleged victim’s consent,” had “nothing to do with age.”

Burke said Mezynieski was charged with Section 130.50 of the New York State penal code, first-degree criminal sex act, and said that his client was facing a charge of “forcible compulsion. It has nothing to do with underage.”

Burke said the same was true of the charge of first-degree rape, Section 130.35 of the penal code, with “refers to rape by forcible compulsion.”

Mezynieski is the owner of Driftwood Farms in Orient. He also owns Steven Mezynieski Inc., an excavation services company in Southampton. He was before the Riverhead Town Board in 2013 over plans for a farm on Sound Avenue in Calverton.

In August, Burke said he entered “strenuous not guilty pleas” on his client’s behalf.

“I look forward to addressing this matter in the appropriate court and clearing my client’s name,” Burke said.

Attorney Rosemarie Arnold – “Super Lawyer” for 11 years in a row

Attorney Rosemarie Arnold has been selected as a “Super Lawyer” by New Jersey Monthly magazine for 11 years running, from 2005 to 2015:

Atty: Port Washington Family Files Lawsuit After 6-Year-Old Attacked By Dog In Schoolyard (CBS)

Atty: Port Washington Family Files Lawsuit After 6-Year-Old Attacked By Dog In Schoolyard
Doctors Unable To Reattach Boy’s Ear; Espositos Suing For $30 Million
June 4, 2012 8:11 PM

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/06/04/atty-port-washington-family-suing-after-6-year-old-attacked-by-dog-in-schoolyard/

Andrew Esposito

Andrew Esposito, dog bite victim on whose behalf a $30 million dollar ($30M) lawsuit has been filed, after he was attacked at a school playground by a dog owned by Michael Levine and Deborah Levine of Port Washington, NY (photo credit: Esposito family attorney Rosemarie Arnold)

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – The parents of a 6-year-old Long Island boy who said their son was attacked by a dog on a school playground is suing the dog’s owners for $30 million.

Andrew Esposito was playing in the schoolyard at Sousa Elementary School in Port Washington when a lab mix allegedly got away from its owners as it was being walked through the playground.
The 6-year-old’s father, Ed Esposito, said his son had gone up to pet the dog when he was attacked.

“I turn over and I see my son face down in the dirt,” he told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg. “My wife runs over to him and starts screaming ‘his ear, his ear! Look for his ear!’”

There are signs prohibiting dogs from entering school grounds, according to the Esposito’s attorney, Rosemarie Arnold, who added the dog is known to be “aggressive” and “vicious.”

“There are children on the block that are afraid to walk to the bus stop because this dog growls and shows teeth,” Arnold said.

The Espositos put their son’s earlobe on ice and took it to the hospital, but doctors were not able to reattach it. Arnold called the boy’s injuries “catastrophic.”

“This is an adorable, 6-year-old boy who had his earlobe chewed off,” she said.

“He’s been telling everybody that his ear’s growing back, so he thinks that his ear’s growing back. He doesn’t understand what is going on,” Ed Esposito told CBS 2’s Don Dahler.

The lawsuit claims the dog’s owners, Michael and Deborah Levine, were careless and reckless.

The Levines live in Port Washington, but a person who answered the door Monday told CBS 2’s Dahler the couple had no comment, and neither did the Levines return calls asking for their side of the story.

Meanwhile, Andrew Esposito’s father said the boy’s brothers and friends are trying to lift his spirits.

“They’ve rallied around with other kids in the community to make him feel normal,” Ed Esposito said.

Animal Control officers told the Espositos they could do nothing about the dog after the alleged attack, because this was the first time it was accused of biting someone, CBS 2’s Dahler reported.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/06/04/atty-port-washington-family-suing-after-6-year-old-attacked-by-dog-in-schoolyard/

LI dog-attack horror (New York Post)

LI dog-attack horror
My son’s ear chewed off: dad

By LAUREL BABCOCK and DAN MANGAN
Last Updated: 3:59 AM, June 5, 2012
Posted: 1:26 AM, June 5, 2012

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/li_dog_attack_horror_BqaI6mJvaQROCJCq24glWO

A Manhattan pediatrician whose 80-pound dog, Archie, is notorious for being “vicious and dangerous” took the pooch to a Long Island elementary school playground — despite signs banning dogs — where it promptly attacked a 6-year-old boy and chewed off his earlobe, a scathing lawsuit charged yesterday.

Then, instead of giving bleeding, screaming Andrew Esposito medical assistance, Dr. Deborah Levine said, “Everything’s going to be fine, It’s no big deal,” recalled Andrew’s dad, Edward Esposito.

Levine had brought the hulking black Labrador mix, Archie, on a leash on May 18 to Philip Sousa Elementary School in Port Washington, LI, where Andrew’s brother was playing a baseball game, Esposito said.

Levine, who is a professor of emergency pediatric medicine at NYU School of Medicine, owns the dog with her urologist husband, Dr. Michael Levine.

Suddenly, “I heard a noise, like something you hear in a bear attack — just a horrible noise,” Esposito recalled.

Esposito, 39, turned to see 45-pound Andrew lying face-down and crying in the dirt — with half of his right ear lying nearby.

Deborah Levine, still holding Archie’s leash, said, “He’ll be fine” — but Andrew wasn’t fine, even after being rushed to St. Francis Hospital and undergoing two hours of surgery, his dad recalled.

“They couldn’t reattach the half that was taken off,” Esposito said. He said his son now faces “many” plastic-surgery procedures.

The still-shaken Andrew since has been kept home from kindergarten — and “thinks his ear is growing back,” his dad said.

Esposito yesterday sued his now-ex-friends in Nassau Supreme Court, claiming the Levines’ recklessness led to Andrew’s permanent injuries.

“This child is going to be significantly disfigured for the rest of his life,” said Esposito’s lawyer, Rosemarie Arnold.

Arnold also said Archie “is known around the neighborhood as having vicious propensities.”

Deborah Levine refused to comment from her Port Washington home.

Additional reporting by Kieran Crowley

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/li_dog_attack_horror_BqaI6mJvaQROCJCq24glWO

“Social Life” magazine features Rosemarie Arnold

Unconditional Love – Heals
Social Life magazine – August 2012
by Christopher London, Esq.

New York Personal Injury Attorney Rosemarie ArnoldOn a warm July afternoon, I stroll into Sagg Main Store in Sagaponack to grab a sandwich. At the counter, like a shameless gawking school boy, I notice a casually-attired, gorgeous, petite, tan brunette, with a lean, well-toned figure, taut legs, and a posture which suggests a serious fitness regimen. As she places her order for three egg white, bacon and cheese sandwiches, instantly, I recognize the voice and realize it is none other than Super Lawyer and super mom, Rosemarie Arnold, the tireless trial lawyer and victim’s rights advocate.

I met Rosemarie back in the mid 1990’s while I was in the legal headhunting business. There was a buzz about a brilliant trial lawyer in New Jersey who was building a huge reputation for herself and getting multi-million dollar verdicts on cases other lawyers rejected or were too weak in the knees to take to trial. Arnold had emerged as a veritable plaintiff’s prophet or the patron saint of the underdog. Since then, she has developed a reputation as a “courtroom bulldog who won’t be leashed.”

It is rare to catch a free moment with the woman behind the Law Offices of Rosemarie Arnold, the largest personal injury & victim’s rights practices in Bergen County. The “Queen of Torts” now leads a team of experienced trial attorneys and legal staff who offer the same personalized legal representation that Rosemarie became famous for, to families and individuals throughout the tri-state area. Arnold’s highly-referred law firm offers an effective voice to victims of serious accidents, sexual assault, and discrimination in the workplace involving age, race, sex, disability, national origin or religious bias. When the Certified Trial Attorney is not tending to her prolific and high profile case load or serving as a super mom at home, Rosemarie is a sought-out legal expert who has been solicited to offer her expertise to various media outlets including the New York Times, New York Post, and Newsday as well as NBC News, CBS News, Fox News, The Today Show, and a Current Affair.

Arnold’s climb to the top of the legal profession had rather humble beginnings. Her father, who was a physician, passed away when she was five. Her mother, who was a teacher in the New York City public school system, raised 6 kids in a two-bedroom tenement with one bathroom in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. While she may have the mental DNA for success, she is a self-made woman of the highest order, whose reputation was built the old-fashioned way: dogged work serving the interests of one client at a time, and a relentless commitment to honing all elements of her craft. It is rare to find a lawyer so proficient, with such a strong and disciplined work ethic, a Zen-like strategic sense who is also filled with such compassion, professionalism, and understanding. How do I know? Simply put, she has represented me and those close to me with the greatest degree of care and proficiency. Ask Rosemarie about her impeccable standing with her clients, judges, legal experts, and the reverence she has from her adversaries. ”We brag about the client’s satisfaction, not the successful verdicts or privately negotiated settlements.” To her clients, she is the irreplaceable equivalent of having Socrates, Clarence Darrow, and Mother Theresa in a suit. Yes, she is that good.

Rosemarie has a tremendous sense of humor. In that regard, and as evidence that she does not take herself too seriously, she has a commercial running on NY1 starring 77-year-old identical twins, Iris and Fran, who happen to be her mother and aunt. In addition, one of her firm’s many URLs is suethesleazebag.com.

We start talking about success, the type of success that allows you to spend your summers on Sagg Pond Court in Sagaponack. I ask her what is the key to her success. “My life is fruitful and fulfilling. I give unconditional love to those who mean anything to me. I give that same love to my craft and my clients.” The woman who is writing a book entitled “Sue Unto Others” adds that “understanding your adversary’s perspective is critical to the amicable resolution of a case. If a reasonable resolution does not happen, you are better prepared to go for the jugular and dismantle your opponent.”

After that final nugget, Rosemarie jumps onto her Specialized S-Works Roubaix bicycle to bring egg white sandwiches to her children on the beach. As she notices me admiring her perfectly-toned Jewess form before pulling away, she reminds me that she deserves her ageless fitness-model form because she rides at least 20-25 miles per day and takes notes from a mutual friend, Dr. Mehmet Oz, for whose Health Corps Annual Gala she usually serves as a dinner chair.

“A ‘super lawyer’ and super mom”

A “super lawyer” and super mom
from NorthJersey.com
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Last updated: Tuesday August 11, 2009, 2:30 PM
BY  KARL DE VRIES OF TOWN JOURNAL

http://www.northjersey.com/news/education/A_super_lawyer_and_super_mom.html?page=all

New York Personal Injury Attorney Rosemarie Arnold

Attorney Rosemarie Arnold

A self-described “slumdog millionaire” who grew up in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood to become one of the top personal injury attorneys in New Jersey, Saddle River Board of Education member Rosemarie Arnold is used to multitasking.

As the head of two firms comprised of 13 lawyers and 40 employees, Arnold has been named by New Jersey Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top 100 attorneys in the state every year since the listings began in 2003. A single mother of two Wandell children, Arnold has appeared on multiple television networks such as Fox News and MSNBC, delivering legal analysis over the past several years and, perhaps most notably, represented Joran van der Sloot in his civil case against the family of Natalee Holloway.

For Town Journal, Arnold described the beginnings of her 23-year career, the experience of being a talking head on TV and what she brings to the school board as a member serving in her second term.

Q: What made you interested in becoming an attorney?

A: I’ve always felt like I had to fight for everything and negotiate for everything, so I wanted to learn how to do it properly.

Q: When did you decide you wanted to practice personal injury law?

A: I got out of law school and I got a job with Christian Steuben’s office, because it was a Fort Lee address and that’s where I lived. I took the job to get my feet wet, and I was doing personal injury defense work, and that’s when I decided I actually wanted to be a lawyer representing the victims who got hurt. My job was to deprive them of their money, but my heart wasn’t there. My heart was to get them the money, because I always had a compassion for humans, so I flipped to the other side and opened up my own firm.

Q: How many cases do you manage at a time now?

A: I oversee 1,000 pending cases, along with the managing partner in this firm, Sheri Breen, who is my second in command. I handle probably about 25 of my own, the top 25.

Q: What makes them the top 25?

A: They’re worth the most money. They’re the most difficult and complex.

Q: Do you find it difficult to manage all of that?

A: No. I find it challenging to manage all of that and be a good mother to my two little girls, but I think I live up to the challenge.

Q: How did you come to represent Joran Van Der Sloot in the Natalee Holloway case?

A: My partner in New York City is Joe Saccopina, and he’s a high-profile criminal attorney. Joran found him on the Internet, from Aruba, and asked him if he could represent him in New York in a civil case that was being filed against him by Beth Holloway. It was a wrongful death case that was filed against him, and I got involved in that because I’m the civil attorney in our firm.

Q: What’s Van Der Sloot like?

A: I don’t know what he’s like now, but when I represented him, he was a devoted student, a respectable son and a confused teenager. I’ve read that he’s changed since then, and he’s done some things I wouldn’t condone. Unfortunately for him, his personality became the boy that was accused of killing Natalee Holloway. Eventually, there was no evidence that he had harmed her in any way.

Q: How many times have you appeared on TV?

A: I’d say about 100.

Q: Is it becoming old hat by now or is it still pretty cool?

A: I enjoy sharing my legal knowledge and experiences with everyone. Most of the TV appearances that I do have to do with cases I’m involved in. But sometimes I’m called in as an expert to comment on other cases.

Q: Do you get nervous before appearing on a national show?

A: No, but I’m much more comfortable talking about my own cases than commenting on other people’s cases.

Q: What compels you to serve on the school board?

A: I’m a public school-educated person, and I believe in the quality of education in our town. I think I bring something extra as a board of education member having a license to practice law, because there are a lot of legal issues that face the board on a daily basis. While I’m not the board’s attorney and I never act as the board’s attorney, I think like a lawyer because I am one.

http://www.northjersey.com/news/education/A_super_lawyer_and_super_mom.html?page=all

Attorney Rosemarie Arnold: “A courtroom bulldog who won’t be leashed”

A courtroom bulldog who won’t be leashed
The Record (Hackensack, NJ)
August 17, 2003
By PETER POCHNA, STAFF WRITER

Rosemarie Arnold says personal injury law is not “about greedy litigation,” but rather, “making sure the people who need help get help.”

Silence gripped the courtroom as Rosemarie Arnold paused for a moment while describing the plight of her client seated in a wheelchair.

Arnold sniffled, wiping a tear from her eye.

Then she moved in for the kill.

The health club pool in which her client broke his neck was “a ticking time bomb,” the Fort Lee attorney told the jurors.

“It blew up Mr. Lehra’s neck and his arms and his legs. It blew up Mr. Lehra’s manhood,” said Arnold, who wore a tight skirt, high heels, and a look of pained indignation. “It blew up Mr. Lehra’s life and all his hopes and dreams.”

The trial in Hackensack was just getting under way, but the health club owner was clearly in trouble. Within days, before jurors could begin deliberations, Bally’s Total Fitness settled for $1.45 million.

To activists pushing for legal reforms, Arnold represents everything that’s wrong with the justice system: She is a personal injury lawyer who has made millions of dollars for her clients – and herself – by suing doctors, insurance companies, and various kinds of businesses.

Her type is particularly prevalent in New Jersey, which ranks fourth in the nation in lawsuits per capita.

The American Tort Reform Association, among other critics, argues that all that litigation hurts business, drives up insurance costs, puts good doctors out of work, and clogs court dockets with frivolous claims. The association has already won reforms in 11 states and has legislation pending in New Jersey and 20 other states aimed at limiting filings and reducing jury awards.

Although the association portrays her kind as villains, Arnold makes no apologies. She defends her clients with a brash tenacity typified by the license plate on her Audi sedan: “RU NJRD.”

“People think this profession is just about greedy litigation, but it’s really not,” said Arnold, 41, stabbing the air with a long, pink fingernail. “It’s about making sure the people who need help get help.”

Take Eric Myers. Six years ago, he was driving down a road in Point Pleasant when an overloaded asphalt truck swerved into Myers’ lane, crushing his Ford Bronco.

The former assistant manager of Costco in Hackensack has undergone more than 10 surgeries since then, primarily to repair a fractured hip. At one point, an infection in his leg drove his temperature to 106 degrees and left him bathing in tubs of ice and alcohol. Now 35, he walks with a limp, can walk only short distances without resting, and faces more surgery.

Arnold represented Myers in a lawsuit that accused the trucking and paving companies of loading the truck so far beyond capacity that the brakes failed. Following a four-year court battle, Myers last year accepted a $750,000 settlement.

“I’m not a fan of suing anybody, but I needed help getting my life back together,” Myers said. “I had no idea what to do. Rosemarie took me by the hand and led me through the process.”

Arnold runs her 11-attorney firm from a squat, white-stucco building equipped with a $10,000 elevator to help injured clients clear the front steps.

Her work consumes her.

A table in her office is covered with legal documents and diapers it doubles as a changing table for her 1-year-old daughter. A phone message for a colleague is logged in at 4:43 a.m.: Arnold had awakened in the middle of the night with an idea and couldn’t wait until she got to work.

“I get emotionally involved in these cases,” she said. “I do this because I love it. I take care of people. That’s what I’ve done all my life.”

Arnold grew up the eldest of six siblings in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. Her father, an obstetrician, died of cancer when she was 6. She quickly took responsibility for her four sisters and brother.

“She was always very aggressive and always fighting for the underdog,” said her mother, Iris Arnold. “When I told the kids they couldn’t watch TV, she came back that they had six votes and I had one.

“I told her this was not a democracy.”

Arnold graduated from Brooklyn Law School in 1986 and began her career helping companies fend off personal injury cases. She didn’t like it.

“It made me feel dirty,” she said.

In 1989, she started her own firm, which now accepts about 400 new cases a year.

Arnold said she takes only legitimate complaints. She criticizes lawsuits that provide fodder for tort reformers – such as the 270-pound Bronx man who sued McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and other fast-food chains last year for selling food that made him obese.

“The rule in this office is we don’t eat fish,” she said. “If a case smells fishy, we don’t do it.”

Of course, her targets think otherwise.

Bally’s Total Fitness aggressively defended itself against the man who broke his neck in their pool in Englewood Cliffs. The company said 32-year-old Imran Lehra of Bergenfield entered the pool after closing time and dove into the 4-foot-deep water despite numerous signs forbidding diving.

“It could not have been clearer as to what the risks were for diving in the pool,” Brian Heermance, Bally’s attorney, told the Hackensack jury. “He should have known better.”

Arnold argued that Lehra fell into the pool after slipping in a puddle that should have been cleared from the pool’s edge. She also said the health club had been told several times that it needed to lock the entrance when the pool area was closed. Five days into the trial, Bally’s settled.

Arnold said such cases protect people from irresponsible business practices – for instance, those involving pharmacies that dispense the wrong medicine or tobacco companies that mislead consumers.

“It’s a litigious society,” she said. “But it keeps people in line.”

Among several high-profile cases Arnold has pending in Bergen County is a lawsuit that accuses Toyota of having faulty seat belts that contributed to the injuries of a 2-year-old girl who was paralyzed in a 1999 accident involving a drunken driver.

Her passion for her clients poured out when Arnold wept as a judge sentenced the driver to five years in prison Aug. 8.

Another case seeks damages from Exxon for the killing of a gas station attendant in Oakland. The suit contends that Exxon’s policies forced the owner to keep the station open all night, leaving the attendant vulnerable to a knife attack at 4 a.m.

Arnold and her firm pocket plenty of money from these cases. By law, they can collect up to one-third of the payout to their clients, a quarter if the client is a minor.

But Arnold said her true reward is on a wall covered with thank-you notes in her office.

One letter contains a poem titled “Justice” from a teenage girl who was injured when her family’s apartment caught fire and the building’s alarm system failed. Arnold got the family a $1.4 million settlement from the landlord.

“Today, I can say the truth was heard. Our stories have been told,” the poem says.

“Those stories that made us cry … And I and my family can go on and live.”