Anybody can sue anybody for anything but…

…that very same anybody can wind up paying all the legal fees for the defendants — even if, or maybe especially if, the defendant is the City of New York.

Let this be a warning: if you’re going to sue, you’d better make sure you not only have a genuine case but behave sensibly and consistently after you file that lawsuit. Especially if your lawsuit says you’ve been badly and permanently injured and it’s all the fault of the defendant, but someone finds video of you paragliding, or whatever, and you don’t really seem to be injured at all, so … From Michael Schwirtz at the New York Times:

Initially, the case sounded reminiscent of the police brutality scandals that have haunted the New York Police Department for years. A young man returning from celebrating his birthday at a Brooklyn bar had a tart exchange with two police officers, who he said then handcuffed him and slammed his head onto the hood of their car.

The man, Andrew Abeyta, a Columbia University graduate who worked as an environmental consultant, would later claim that the encounter had left him with life-altering brain injuries that prevented him from working, looking at a computer screen or even leaving his apartment for long periods.

He sued the officers and the city, requesting over $12 million in compensation.

Outside of court, though, Mr. Abeyta’s life veered wildly off that script. He drank and played video games, according to court documents, and repeatedly visited a strip club, seemingly undermining his claim that he could not tolerate crowds or loud noises.

A jury ruled against his claim in November, and last week a federal judge took the unusual step of ordering him to pay the city’s legal fees of about $212,000 for making “obviously fictitious allegations” against the Police Department.

Mr. Abeyta didn’t learn much at Columbia, I guess. He loses. He pays.


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