Legal Aid Society lands $5.74 million on behalf of a mentally ill man who died at Rikers Island
This week the Legal Aid Society Prisoners’ Rights Project and Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady announced a settlement in the case of Bradley Ballard, a seriously mentally ill and diabetic man whose horrific death at Rikers Island in 2013 was ruled a homicide. The settlement of $5,750,000 is the largest ever entered into by New York City for a death in custody. His death was due to the abuse and cruelty of Department of Correction staff and medical providers. Mr. Ballard arrived at Rikers on a parole violation for failing to change a report of address. His needs were mishandled by the city’s health care contractor at the time, Corizon Health, Inc. The abuse took a macabre turn when Department of Correction staff illegally shut him in his cell as a rogue punishment for perceived rudeness, leaving him to decompensate without medication or treatment for his schizophrenia and diabetes. For seven days, until Mr. Ballard died on September 11, 2013, correction and medical staff walked by the locked cell without offering assistance, turned off the water to his cell and ignored his obvious and fatally deteriorating state until it was too late. Mr. Ballard’s mother, Beverly Ann Griffin, was represented in this lawsuit by Jonathan S. Abady, Debra L. Greenberger and Hayley Horowitz of ECBA and Jonathan Chasan and Mary Lynne Werlwas of the Legal Aid Society.
New Council Bills
This week the New York City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings, chaired by Council member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader, held a hearing to discuss two bills: one that would require street numbers to be placed on every side of a building that contains an entrance, and the other that would require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to be notified whenever excavation or drilling to a depth greater than 50 feet is proposed. The committee heard testimony from elected officials, members of the real estate industry and interested members of the public.
Funding for Small Businesses
U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand last week announced $150,000 in federal funding for Harlem Biospace, Veteran Incubator and Coalition for Queens. The federal investment was allocated through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund, through which each recipient receives $50,000 for growing their businesses. These investments provide entrepreneurs with support from committed and experienced mentors with backgrounds in entrepreneurship, sales, technology and marketing.
The purpose of the SBA Growth Accelerator competition is to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Each recipient of funds will be required to report metrics including jobs created, funds raised, start-ups launched and corporate sponsors obtained among other pieces of information.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued the following statement on arguments before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan”, a rule requiring fossil-fueled power plants to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases pursuant to the Clean Air Act.
“Today, my office is leading a coalition of 25 states, cities and counties in defense of the Clean Power Plan, regulations that will, for the first time ever, limit climate change pollution from our nation’s largest source, fossil-fueled power plants. In our states, we have demonstrated the opponents’ ‘doom and gloom’ predictions are wrong – our states have shown that power plant pollution can be cut dramatically while holding the line on utility bills, maintaining grid reliability, and adding billions of dollars and thousands of jobs to our economies. I look forward to the court upholding the Clean Power Plan and ensuring that we will continue to take essential actions in fighting the unprecedented health, environmental and economic impacts of climate change.”