“In High Costs of City’s Litigation, a Litany of Missed Opportunities”

In the New York Times a few days ago I spotted this analysis, from Jim Dwyer.

Writing with restraint, rationality and real numbers, Jim describes how much lawsuits against New York City are costing us taxpayers, and why—especially the civil rights cases that are still emerging from the NYPD’s foolish and fairly useless stop-and-search policy—these cases might have been and should have been settled early.

The costs, which Jim details almost as if he is assembling a final closing statement, are absurdly high. And, as he points out, the money the City could save by not fighting all these cases could be spent on schools, perhaps, and other public benefits.

Instead, the City fights almost like a pre-teen bully-boy punching away at his imagined foe just because he has the energy, the time and the bigger fists. These are silly fights.

And in the case of people who have good reason to sue, by extenuating these cases for unreasonable years the City is heaping punishment and humiliation on people the City has already treated wrongly.

Jim is right. The City should be engaging in early-on determinations of whether cases should be fought, or should be settled quickly. I assume our next mayor will take a look at his or her Corporation Counsel (the City Department of Law) and figure this out.


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