Two Long Island Men Get $18 Million in Wrongful Conviction Lawsuit

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Flickr / RĂ¼diger skINMATE
John Restivo and Dennis Halstead spent 18 years in prison after a jury convicted them on charges of raping and murdering a 16-year-old girl on Long Island in 1984. In 2003 DNA evidence showed that somebody else actually committed the crime, and Nassau County prosecutors dismissed the charges, setting the men free.

They sued the county. Jurors in federal court in Central Islip heard testimony suggesting that a detective planted evidence on Restivo and hid evidence that worked in the defendants' favor. On Thursday, the jury awarded Restivo and Halstead $18 million each.

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Empire State Building Says Photographer of Topless Ladies Is Making a Mockery of Its Very Serious Lawsuit

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Photo by guy being sued Allen Henson, obviously
The offending photograph
Back in January, as you may recall, we told you about Allen Henson, the fine art photographer who was slapped with a million-dollar lawsuit after he took photographs of a model, Shelby Carter, topless atop the Empire State Building's observatory deck. Not to be outdone, Henson roundly mocked the lawsuit in the press and then countersued the company behind the iconic building for $5 million.

Representatives for the Empire State Building have never publicly commented on the lawsuit. As it turns out, though, lawyers for very tall buildings have feelings, too, and those feelings are, at the moment, deeply bruised. In new court filings, the building's representatives accuse Henson of "relishing" the publicity around the lawsuit, and planning an in-court demonstration consisting of dozens of topless women.

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Local Strippers Also Horrified by Long Island Nursing Home That Hired a Male Dancer

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Photo via Ray, Mitev & Associates
The classiest news story of the week comes to us from West Babylon, Long Island, where a man named Franklin Youngblood is suing his mother Bernice's nursing home, on the grounds that they hired a male stripper to perform for the residents. Youngblood is suing East Neck Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on behalf of both himself and his mother, alleging that the strip show caused "disrespect, dishonor, embarrassment, ridicule and humiliation" in the residents, as well as "loss of dignity."

Franklin states in his suit, filed by attorney John Ray, that he went to visit his mother in January of 2013. It was then that he discovered the photo you see above, depicting a muscular, tighty-whitey-clad gentleman leaning over Bernice, hands on the back of her wheelchair, "clutching a wad of bills," as the suit notes. The elderly woman on Bernice's left, Franklin adds, "appear[ed] to be crying."

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Four Loko Promises Attorney General It Will No Longer Be Quite So Loco

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Image via Free Loko.
This would presumably fall under the category of banned user-generated content.
Surely each and every one of you remember where you were on the bleak day back in 2010 when insanely caffeinated, insanely alcoholic energy drink Four Loko was banned in New York. Pushed by Senator Chuck Schumer, who called Four Loko a "toxic and dangerous brew," the State Liquor Authority stopped allowing the caffeinated version of the drink to be sold here; New York was one of four states to do so.

But the youth of America still wanted Four Loko, probably because, in the sage words of one shopkeeper interviewed by NYU paper The Local, "It makes you crazy," or because, as the "Save Four Loko" Facebook page put it, "It makes your dick wet." (The Local found that nearly a year after the ban took effect, some bodegas were still selling the caffeinated version of the drink.)

So the attorneys general of 20 states, along with the city attorney of San Francisco, decided to band together and sue Phusion Projects, LLC, the Chicago-based maker of Four Loko. That suit was settled yesterday, after Phusion promised to keep caffeine, underage people and Santa out of the making and marketing of the drink.

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Allen Henson, Photographer of Topless Ladies, Countersues Empire State Building for $5 Million

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Photo by Allen Henson
In January, photographer Allen Henson was awoken one morning by a tabloid reporter bearing the news that the Empire State Building was suing him for a million dollars. Henson's sueable offense, according to the company, was taking a topless photo of Shelby Carter, who you see above, thus harming the building's reputation as family-friendly entertainment.

At the time, the amount of money, as well as Empire State's insistence that the photos were a "commercial venture," though Henson hadn't made any money from them, he said, struck him as a little weird.

"I would really like to take this seriously, but it just feels like somebody got drunk last night and said, 'Fuck it, let's sue him for a million dollars,'" he told us.

Henson must be in a "fuck it" mood of his own, because today he sent a group of reporters his answer to the suit, which countersues the company for $5 million.

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Esaul Ortiz, Student Shot at Bronx High School, Sues City

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NYC Department of Education
Bronx Regional High School
Around noon on December 10, 2012, 19-year-old Esaul Ortiz was shot in front of Bronx Regional High School. The bullet hit the student in the arm and he survived. Two days later, police arrested then-17-year-old Larry Adeyanju, who is currently awaiting trial for charges including criminal weapons possession and assault with intent to cause serious injury.

Meanwhile, Ortiz seeks to hold the school responsible as well. Last week, he filed a complaint against the Department of Education and the city for negligence and "their failure to provide a reasonably safe environment."

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Queens Summer Camp Counter-Sues Parents of Molested Child for Defamation

Categories: Lawsuits

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Michele Betti
Edwin and Loredana Johansmeyer, along with a volunteer, passing out fliers.
In June 2010, Joseph Denice, a 24-year-old educator in Queens, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy. Months later, the boy's parents sued Denice's various employers, including New York City Department of Education, the Child Care Center of New York, and World of Discovery Day Camp. The parents claimed that Denice had abused the boy at the summer camp, among other places. World of Discovery, however, argued that the abuse occurred only on residential properties and not at the camp.

The suit trudged along for a few years, through depositions and discovery. Then it took a sharp turn.

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Federal Judge Throws Out Lawsuit Against NYPD For Spying on Muslims, Rules It Was Legal

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Image via Muslim Advocates
Lead plaintiff Syed Hassan, center, at a press conference on the lawsuit last year.
A federal judge in New Jersey has dismissed a lawsuit brought against the New York Police Department by a group of Muslim individuals and community groups, a suit that had alleged that the NYPD's surveillance of them infringed on their constitutional rights. In a decision released yesterday, New Jersey U.S. District Judge William J. Martini ruled that the spying itself was legal, that the plaintiffs had no standing to bring the case, and that even if they did, they couldn't prove that the NYPD had acted with the intention of discriminating against Muslim Americans.

This suit, filed in December 2012, was the first brought by Muslim groups against the NYPD for their surveillance program, uncovered by the Associated Press in 2011. (A second suit was filed in New York in June of 2013 by the American Civil Liberties Union.) The lead plaintiff in the New Jersey case was Syed Farhaj Hassan, a Shi'a Muslim and Iraq war veteran. The suit's other plaintiffs included a students' association, a council of imams in New Jersey, a beef sausage company, and several other individuals, including the principal of a grade school for Muslim girls. The suit was filed by lawyers from Muslim Advocates, a San Francisco-based group, and the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, neither of whom are very happy with the judge's ruling.

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Several Hedge Funds to Sue Big Banks for Role in Tom Petters Ponzi Scheme

Categories: Lawsuits

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Wikimedia Commons
JP Morgan Chase's Park Avenue office building.
Six hedge funds are seeking to sue JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and other banks for their role in a $3.65 billion Ponzi scheme.

The hedge funds claim that they lost a combined $177 million to Tom Petters, the Minnesota-based CEO who was convicted for the fraud and sentenced to 50-years in prison in 2010. The banks, the hedge funds allege, aided and abetted Petters's crimes by allowing him to establish "suspicious accounts." UBS, the CIT Group, and PNC Bank are also among the defendants.

According to the complaint, filed in New York County Supreme Court and first reported on Tuesday by Courthouse News Service, Petters repaid the banks' loans with money from his scheme's victims even after the banks "knew that Petters and his entities, including Polaroid, were insolvent and/or not able to pay their debts."

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Daughter of Eric Glisson, Wrongfully Imprisoned for 17 Years, Sues City

Categories: Lawsuits, NYPD

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Wikimedia Commons
State Supreme Court in the Bronx.
On October 24, 2012, Eric Glisson was released from prison--15 years after he was wrongly convicted of murder and a decade after the true perpetrators of the crime confessed.

Yet despite the admissions, Glisson's freedom became a reality only after he contacted the federal investigator who had questioned those perpetrators for an unrelated case. Local law enforcement officials had never recognized the connection.

Last week, Glisson's daughter, Cynthia Morales, took steps toward a lawsuit, filing a notice of claim against the city, the New York Police Department and the Bronx District Attorney's Office. The complaint, filed last Friday in Bronx Supreme Court, charges that officers and prosecutors failed to acknowledge evidence of Glisson's innocence.

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