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dalovindj
07-23-2003, 01:18 PM
Last night I was in a cab. When I got home I gave the driver a $20 bill for an $11.50 ride. He said he didn't have change. He then asked me to give him small bills. I said give me the $20 back and I will. He then said that he wouldn't give me the $20 back until I gave him the right change. I opened the door and started to get out to talk to him from outside the car. The cabbie then decided to peel out with me half-in and half out of the car. I should have jumped away and let him have the 20, but I tried to get back into the car instead. As a result I got dragged half in and half out of the car for about 100 feet or so. I finally got into the car and he kept driving with me screaming and yelling for him to stop. We passed some cops after about a mile and I yelled out the window for help and he finally stopped. He said he was just looking for change and the cops just told me to get the Hack number and cab number and file a complaint while he got change in a deli.

Now, there is a 24 hour Laundromat right next to my apartment. Two people in the laundramat saw me get dragged and saw him peel out knowingly (I got the contact info and they said they would be witnesses). I have filed a complaint (212-NYC-Taxi) and a hearing will be scheduled, but I also want to file a criminal complaint and a civil suit as well. I'm not sure how to go about either. I want to avoid a lawyer if at all possible (they are expensive). I am more concerned with the criminal charge then the civil suit. Not sure what to do next. Help! Please? To sum up the questions are:

In NYC,

How do I file a criminal complaint?
How do I file a Civil Suit?
What would I be entitled to in a Civil Suit if I won (is it really worth it?)
Should I sue the Medallion owner as well?

Thanks in advance . . .

DaLovin' Dj

Cliffy
07-23-2003, 01:40 PM
You cannot file a criminal suit -- the government is the only entity which can bring a criminal prosecution. If you want this driver to be prosecuted, file a police report -- if the local D.A. feels it's worth a prosecution and that there is sufficient evidence, he will pursue it.

As for a civil suit, I'm not going to comment as you are asking for specific legal advice and I am not in possession of anywhere near enough facts to render it (not to mention the fact that I am not licensed to practice in New York). My only suggestion would be to consult an attorney licensed in your area and experienced in this type of case. You may be able to find one who will do at least an initial consultation for free.

--Cliffy

chula
07-23-2003, 01:45 PM
Originally posted by dalovindj
How do I file a criminal complaint?
How do I file a Civil Suit?
What would I be entitled to in a Civil Suit if I won (is it really worth it?)
Should I sue the Medallion owner as well?I don't know why people think you have a legitimate lawsuit every time someone does something wrong. (This often comes up in the context of people who think the legal system is out of control.) For most torts, you have to actually be injured in some way. Were you injured? If not, your recovery would be very limited. But you need to contact a lawyer rather than take anyone here's word for it, because none of us can give you actual legal advice on your case. There are plenty of personal injury lawyers who won't make you pay up front if they think you can win.

Sounds like the cops who were there didn't think any crimes had been committed. Pretty typical of my experiences with NYC cops - they just shrug their shoulders at everything. It's hard to imagine that a DA would prosecute, but the first step would be to call the local police station to file a report. Hopefully the TLC will take some action.

dalovindj
07-23-2003, 02:29 PM
Were you injured? Bruises and scrapes, a ruined pair of shoes, but no broken bones. I've never sued anybody for anything before. But this guy could have maimed me or killed me. I was pretty scared and that is a pretty shitty feeling. I hate frivolous lawsuits myself, but suing the guy is nothing compared to what I would like to do to him. He tried to rip me off and didn't care if he fucked me up in the process. For a lousy $6 (I was going to give him a tip). That shit aint right and I want to use every means at my disposal to hold him accountable.

I did not know about the witnesses until I returned to my home. A couple guys standing in front of the laundromat were like "Dude! That was crazy! You got dragged you like two blocks! We thought you were gonna be toast!" We talked for a while and they said they would tell whoever I needed what they saw. I wonder if the cops would have reacted differently if they had talked to those witnesses. So to file a criminal complaint do I just go to the police station? Should I ask one (or both) of those witnesses to come with me?

DaLovin' Dj

Otto
07-23-2003, 03:00 PM
You could call the clerk of courts office in your county for information on filing a suit, or check the clerk of courts website. They may have downloadable forms. I'm assuming we're talking small claims court. Alternatively you can speak to a lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice.

Dewey Cheatem Undhow
07-23-2003, 03:49 PM
Originally posted by dalovindj
Bruises and scrapes, a ruined pair of shoes, but no broken bones. I've never sued anybody for anything before. But this guy could have maimed me or killed me. I was pretty scared and that is a pretty shitty feeling. I hate frivolous lawsuits myself, but suing the guy is nothing compared to what I would like to do to him. He tried to rip me off and didn't care if he fucked me up in the process. For a lousy $6 (I was going to give him a tip). That shit aint right and I want to use every means at my disposal to hold him accountable.The answer to your OP is "talk to a licensed personal injury attorney." Most PI lawyers don't charge for the initial consultation.

Having said that, let me say that the above-quoted paragraph shows a grave misunderstanding of what the civil tort system is all about. The civil tort system does not exist to get even with someone for being a jerk, or to stick it to someone because something bad might have happened. The civil tort system is designed to compensate you for your actual injuries -- to return the plaintiff to the status quo ante.

dalovindj
07-23-2003, 04:37 PM
The civil tort system is designed to compensate you for your actual injuries -- to return the plaintiff to the status quo ante.Is there no allowance for compensation for the mental anguish caused by malicious, wreckless acts which put a plaintiffs life in danger. Like, say, a guy held me over the edge of a roof and threatened to let me go out of sheer meanness. As long as he pulled me back up, I would not be eligible for compensation for the duress I experienced while in danger?

To be honest, I figured a civil suit was a long shot because A. I would need a lawyer, and B. Any monetary compensation would probably be less than the legal bills.

I'm actually most interested in what grounds I have to file a criminal complaint, what I need to do to file that complaint, what laws this man broke, and what I need to do to prove he broke those laws.

I talked to a cab driver this morning and he seemed to think that at the very least, this man will lose his hack license (meaning he can't work as a cab driver) for at least 6 months and possibly for good. The hearing will address that. I still REALLY want to press criminal charges, I'm just not sure exactly what laws he is guilty of breaking. I gotta figure something like wreckless endangerment at the very least, and something like attempted murder at worst. I'm not exagerating. At the speeds he was going if I had let go I very well could have bitten it. He new I was there and by all appearances WANTED me to fall off.

God this pisses me off.

DaLovin' Dj

chula
07-23-2003, 06:08 PM
Yes, punitive damages are sometimes available in cases of intentional torts. But Dewey's point stands.

There would be no attempted murder unless he really intended to murder you. He might be guilty of assault and battery, but again it would be up to the DA to choose to prosecute.

slipster
07-23-2003, 06:46 PM
Speaking as a lawyer, though not one licensed in New York State:

Off hand, I'd guess intentionally dragging a customer for two blocks would be considered outrageous conduct even in The Big Apple, and, yes, terrorizing a person constitutes an injury.

Personal injury lawyers are commonly willing to accept a case on a contingency basis, accepting payment out of the award if and when there is one. While you are not barred from proceeding pro se, for a case of this type I would strongly recommend professional representation. Among many other reasons, at an initial consultation an experienced personal injury lawyer practicing in New York could give you a fair appraisal of whether you have a good basis for a suit, delving into the facts more deeply than you have done here (not that you haven't given a good overview).

What's more, he would have a good feeling for how easily your suit could succeed in your jurisdiction; certain types of cases are far likelier to succeed in one place than another. For instance, if the tracks of a railroad pass through Madison or St. Clair Counties in Illinois, it is very likely the railroad will be sued there, even if an incident occurred hundreds of miles away; for some reason, juries there are traditionally willing to stick it to a railroad. In St. Louis, Missouri, it is conventional wisdom that a tenant can succeed against a tenant much more readily in the city than in the suburbs.

When talking to an attorney, by all means discuss suing the medallion holder. As a generality, employers are liable for the intentional torts of an employee when they occur during the course of work. A classic example I remember from my law school days: a delivery truck driver gets into an argument with another motorist when he double parks, leaving him unable to pull out until her returns to his truck, and punches eh other driver in the mouth. If this happens during company time, and while the delivery driver is on his route, the employer is prbably liable. Your situation would not appear to be much different.

slipster
07-23-2003, 06:49 PM
Speaking as a lawyer, though not one licensed in New York State:

Off hand, I'd guess intentionally dragging a customer for two blocks would be considered outrageous conduct even in The Big Apple, and, yes, terrorizing a person constitutes an injury.

Personal injury lawyers are commonly willing to accept a case on a contingency basis, accepting payment out of the award if and when there is one. While you are not barred from proceeding pro se, for a case of this type I would strongly recommend professional representation. Among many other reasons, at an initial consultation an experienced personal injury lawyer practicing in New York could give you a fair appraisal of whether you have a good basis for a suit, delving into the facts more deeply than you have done here (not that you haven't given a good overview).

What's more, he would have a good feeling for how easily your suit could succeed in your jurisdiction; certain types of cases are far likelier to succeed in one place than another. For instance, if the tracks of a railroad pass through Madison or St. Clair Counties in Illinois, it is very likely the railroad will be sued there, even if an incident occurred hundreds of miles away; for some reason, juries there are traditionally willing to stick it to a railroad. In St. Louis, Missouri, it is conventional wisdom that a tenant can succeed against a tenant much more readily in the city than in the suburbs.

The attorney could also give you an idea of what you could reasonably expect to recover. When talking to an attorney, by all means discuss suing the medallion holder. As a generality, employers are liable for the intentional torts of an employee when they occur during the course of work. A classic example I remember from my law school days: a delivery truck driver gets into an argument with another motorist when he double parks, leaving him unable to pull out until her returns to his truck, and punches eh other driver in the mouth. If this happens during company time, and while the delivery driver is on his route, the employer is prbably liable. Your situation would not appear to be much different.

As for deciding what crimes may have been committed, this would be the job of the prosecutor's office. The local police station can provide you information on writing out a complaint.

slipster
07-23-2003, 06:50 PM
Speaking as a lawyer, though not one licensed in New York State:

Off hand, I'd guess intentionally dragging a customer for two blocks would be considered outrageous conduct even in The Big Apple, and, yes, terrorizing a person constitutes an injury.

Personal injury lawyers are commonly willing to accept a case on a contingency basis, accepting payment out of the award if and when there is one. While you are not barred from proceeding pro se, for a case of this type I would strongly recommend professional representation. Among many other reasons, at an initial consultation an experienced personal injury lawyer practicing in New York could give you a fair appraisal of whether you have a good basis for a suit, delving into the facts more deeply than you have done here (not that you haven't given a good overview).

What's more, he would have a good feeling for how easily your suit could succeed in your jurisdiction; certain types of cases are far likelier to succeed in one place than another. For instance, if the tracks of a railroad pass through Madison or St. Clair Counties in Illinois, it is very likely the railroad will be sued there, even if an incident occurred hundreds of miles away; for some reason, juries there are traditionally willing to stick it to a railroad. In St. Louis, Missouri, it is conventional wisdom that a tenant can succeed against a tenant much more readily in the city than in the suburbs.

The attorney could also give you an idea of what you could reasonably expect to recover. When talking to an attorney, by all means discuss suing the medallion holder. As a generality, employers are liable for the intentional torts of an employee when they occur during the course of work. A classic example I remember from my law school days: a delivery truck driver gets into an argument with another motorist when he double parks, leaving him unable to pull out until her returns to his truck, and punches eh other driver in the mouth. If this happens during company time, and while the delivery driver is on his route, the employer is prbably liable. Your situation would not appear to be much different.

As for deciding what crimes may have been committed, this would be the job of the prosecutor's office. The local police station can provide you information on writing out a complaint. I'd visit there as promptly as possible; especially in a large, busy city, authorities are likely to be less impressed if a person takes his time about getting around to complaining.

slipster
07-23-2003, 06:56 PM
Speaking as a lawyer, though not one licensed in New York State:

Off hand, I'd guess intentionally dragging a customer for two blocks would be considered outrageous conduct even in The Big Apple, and, yes, terrorizing a person constitutes an injury.

Personal injury lawyers are commonly willing to accept a case on a contingency basis, accepting payment out of the award if and when there is one. While you are not barred from proceeding pro se, for a case of this type I would strongly recommend professional representation. Among many other reasons, at an initial consultation an experienced personal injury lawyer practicing in New York could give you a fair appraisal of whether you have a good basis for a suit, delving into the facts more deeply than you have done here (not that you haven't given a good overview).

What's more, he would have a good feeling for how easily your suit could succeed in your jurisdiction; certain types of cases are far likelier to succeed in one place than another. For instance, if the tracks of a railroad pass through Madison or St. Clair Counties in Illinois, it is very likely the railroad will be sued there, even if an incident occurred hundreds of miles away; for some reason, juries there are traditionally willing to stick it to a railroad. In St. Louis, Missouri, it is conventional wisdom that a tenant can succeed against a tenant much more readily in the city than in the suburbs.

The attorney could also give you an idea of what you could reasonably expect to recover. When talking to an attorney, by all means discuss suing the medallion holder. As a generality, employers are liable for the intentional torts of an employee when they occur during the course of work. A classic example I remember from my law school days: a delivery truck driver gets into an argument with another motorist when he double parks, leaving him unable to pull out until he returns to his truck, and punches the other driver in the mouth. If this happens during company time, and while the delivery driver is on his route, the employer is probably liable. Your situation would not appear to be much different.

As for deciding what crimes may have been committed, this would be the job of the prosecutor's office. The local police station can provide you information on writing out a complaint. I'd visit there as promptly as possible; especially in a large, busy city, authorities are likely to be less impressed if a person takes his time about getting around to complaining. Regardless of whether a prosecution ensues, filing a police report can strengthen your position in a civil suit.

Dewey Cheatem Undhow
07-23-2003, 07:01 PM
Originally posted by dalovindj
Is there no allowance for compensation for the mental anguish caused by malicious, wreckless acts which put a plaintiffs life in danger. Like, say, a guy held me over the edge of a roof and threatened to let me go out of sheer meanness. As long as he pulled me back up, I would not be eligible for compensation for the duress I experienced while in danger?Ignoring for the moment the niceties of when exactly purely emotional damages are available (most states require that emotional distress manifest itself in some physical harm, such as an inability to sleep, in order to be actionable), ask yourself this: you experienced what, a few seconds of fear? You haven't suggested that you have any kind of permanent mental infirmity based on this incident. What dollar amount do you think those few seconds ought to be worth?

As chula notes, punitive damages are sometimes available for intentional torts (in this case, battery). However, such damages are typically only available if the intentional tort is outrageous. I know you're pissed, so you think this incident is outrageous -- most battery victims do -- but I doubt that is actually the case. It isn't like the guy was pounding on your unconscious body with a crowbar or something like that.

ralph124c
07-24-2003, 07:36 AM
..to your nearest lawyer! You have a great case! This is worth a lot of money..the cab company and the medallion owner have insurance! And, you must see a doctor right awy-you may have serious injuries.
By all means , get this going right away-you have been the victim of a crime (assault&battery), and are due full compensation!

Cliffy
07-24-2003, 09:28 AM
The question asked has been answered. You cannot file a criminal complaint -- only the state can do that. If you want one filed, you need to first file a police report. As for a civil suit, there is a clear answer on the table -- talk to a lawyer. As noted, with a little research you'll be able to find one who will do an initial consultation for free, and many personal injury lawyers, if they think you have a winning case, will take it on for no money upfront in exchange for a cut of any money you receive through a win or a settlement. A lawyer in your jurisdiction is going to be better able to analyze your case than any of us are.

--Cliffy

Cliffy
07-24-2003, 09:38 AM
The question asked has been answered. You cannot file a criminal complaint -- only the state can do that. If you want one filed, you need to first file a police report. As for a civil suit, there is a clear answer on the table -- talk to a lawyer. As noted, with a little research you'll be able to find one who will do an initial consultation for free, and many personal injury lawyers, if they think you have a winning case, will take it on for no money upfront in exchange for a cut of any money you receive through a win or a settlement. A lawyer in your jurisdiction is going to be better able to analyze your case than any of us are.

--Cliffy