NYC statutory payments rose 38% last year to a whopping $794 million

Apparently you can fight the town hall.

Taxpayers paid a whopping $794.4 million in court judgments and lawsuits in the fiscal year ended June 30, according to Mayor Adams’ management report released two weeks ago — a 38% increase from the $575.9 million paid in the paid in the previous 12 months.

Legal said it was not aware if the total was a record high, but a review of previous management reports shows the most recent balance sheet has exceeded every 12-month period since at least fiscal 1998.

City attorneys attribute the increase in payments in part to the settlement of some costly liability cases in fiscal 2022. They also attribute it to city prosecutors stepping up efforts to review more wrongful conviction cases and prove people’s innocence — a move that has resulted in the city existing with more civil lawsuits and more settlements hit .

“We live in the world’s litigation capital, and the breadth and reach of the city’s operations is tremendous,” said General Counsel Nicholas Paolucci. “The city is constantly working to reduce these costs, and settlements typically cost taxpayers significantly less than taking cases to court.”

A picture of Alonzo Yanes and his father and mother, Claudio Yanes and Yvonne Yanes.
Alonzo Yanes is a 10th grade student disfigured by a science experiment gone awry in 2014 at a prestigious Manhattan high school.
Samuel Brownridge, right, received $13 million after serving 25 years for a 1994 murder he did not commit.  Evidence later showed dead felon Garfield Brown, left, to be responsible.
Samuel Brownridge, right, received $13 million after serving 25 years for a 1994 murder he did not commit. Evidence later showed dead felon Garfield Brown, left, to be responsible.
Alexis S. Celestin

Major payouts include $36 million to Alonzo Yanes, a former student at Manhattan’s Beacon High School who suffered horrific scars in a chemistry experiment gone awry in 2014. Yanes was initially awarded $60 million by a jury during a 2019 trial, but the payout was negotiated down to $36 million after an appellate court ruled the original price was too high, officials said.

Other payments include $34 million to Staten Island residents who say they have cancer because they live near landfills in the city; $13 million to Samuel Brownridge, a Queens man serving 25 years in prison for a 1994 execution-style shooting he did not commit; and $5.35 million to Bladimil Arroyo, who was released from prison in 2019 after unfairly serving 18 years behind bars.

A picture of Bladimil Arroyo at the Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Bladimil Arroyo appeared in Brooklyn Superior Court to overturn his conviction in a 2001 murder outside a strip club.


An image of an excavator sifting through debris piles from the World Trade Center attacks at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island in New York.

Other payments include $34 million to Staten Islanders who say they got cancer from living near landfill sites like Fresh Kills, where there was debris piles from the September 11 attacks.


The $794.4 million in spending on judgments and lawsuits doesn’t even include another $355.7 million that the city reluctantly spent to comply with a 2012 federal judge’s ruling that found became that a state-mandated certification exam was racially biased against Blacks and Latinos.

Payments to satisfy plaintiffs in the 26-year-old Gulino vs. Board of Education class action lawsuit are expected to cost taxpayers at least $1.3 billion.

The city saw a sharp increase in legal spending despite being hit by fewer lawsuits over the past year. In fiscal 2022, the city was hit with 8,284 federal and state lawsuits, compared with 9,103 in the previous 12 months, records show.

https://nypost.com/2022/10/01/nyc-legal-payments-jump-38-in-past-year-to-whopping-794m/ NYC statutory payments rose 38% last year to a whopping $794 million

JACLYN DIAZ

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