Sexual Abuse: Pedophile Pediatiricians | Brooklyn Personal Injury Attorney
Increasing violence and other illegal activity occurring in our schools has seen the proliferation of “ZERO TOLERANCE” policies in many New York schools and in entire school districts around our nation. These policies, of necessity, very often involve the search of a student by New York school officials who seek to find out if the prohibited item, whether a weapon or an illegal drug, is in the student’s possession.
The question arises as to when such a search is permissible and, even more seriously, how intrusive may that search become. In June, 2009, the United States Supreme Court decided a case involving a 13 year old school girl (Susan). Another student had accused Susan of giving her drugs. The suspicion was that Susan had brought prescription strength ibuprofen to school. School officials (two females) ordered Susan to strip to her underwear, and then pull her upper and lower undergarments away from her body to see if the suspected drug was on Susan’s person. The judge that wrote the opinion for the court called this search an “…embarrassing, frightening and humiliating search…..” The decision of the Court did not give school officials a clear cut guideline to determine if a strip search is permissible. It rather set forth some guidelines that may well continue to make it very difficult for school officials in the future to decide whether or not a strip search would run afoul of the law. The guidelines the Court seemed to establish as factors:
–the extent of the danger of the contraband in question (for example: ibuprofen vs. heroin);
–how well founded is the suspicion that the contraband is hidden in an intimate place.
As Justice Souter wrote in deciding that this particular search was Constitutionally ILLEGAL:: “The content of the suspicion failed to match the degree of the intrusion” especially in light of the “nature and limited threat of the specific drugs.”Some school districts, such as the New York City Department of Education, simplify matters and ban such strip searches under any and all circumstances. Do keep in mind that as far as searches in general (not just strip searches) are concerned, the Constitutional requirements to allow a search by school officials (“a moderate chance of finding evidence of wrongdoing”) are LESS demanding than those that must be followed by the police (“Probable Cause”). Even an attempt to simplify this area of law, as we tried to do here, indicates the potential complexity involved when dealing with searches of all kinds. The services of a well seasoned New York City attorney, knowledgeable through experience in this difficult area of law, at as early a stage as possible, is invaluable in protecting your rights.
The recent horrific incident in which a young middle school boy was attacked and set on fire by five classmates brings to the fore the very real and prevalent problem of school violence and bullying. Who is responsible for the safety of your child in school if he or she is the victim of violence while attending school?
The answer is not always simple. As a general rule, school authorities stand in the place of parents during school hours and, as such, are responsible for the safety and well being of your children while under the school’s control, both on and off the grounds of the school (such as on a school trip).
An attorney, in determining whether a lawsuit against school authorities is viable, will have several questions: where did the incident take place; has there been any prior incident between this victim and the perpetrators, of which the authorities were aware; how common are incidents of this sort in this school; does the school have regular security protection such as guards or monitors, and were these security personnel at their posts at the time of the incident, etc.
It is very unlikely that the facts of any two cases are exactly alike. The difference between a viable case, or a matter that will not yield a basis for litigation, can be the ability of the attorney considering all the surrounding circumstances and simply knowing the correct questions to ask!
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Accidents are never a pleasant experience, but little can be as frightening or leave as indelible a traumatic scar as having faced an assault, or even worse, a rape, especially where you live.
If this should occur on the street or in your private home, there may be little recourse for you in any attempt to recover financial compensation. Unless there are truly extraordinary circumstances (for which an experienced personal injury attorney should be consulted) the likelihood of recovering money compensation is slight, if it exists at all.
In the event the attack occurred in an apartment building where you reside, then there may well be grounds for you to seek monetary compensation for many of the consequences that flow from the attack. If the landlord of the building allowed conditions to exist which made the act of the criminal more likely to occur, then the landlord may be held accountable.
The most common failure on the part of the landlord involves building security. It can involve something as simple a broken door lock, or perhaps an inoperable intercom system. Perhaps the front doors of the building operate perfectly, but a rear door or the door to the roof are left open. Any item that increases the ability of a criminal to enter the building, and thereby perpetrate the violent act, can very possibly subject the landlord to a lawsuit.
With this in mind, it would not be the landlord’s responsibility if another tenant, or any other person with legitimate access to the building, were the person who committed the crime. It would also be necessary to show that any deficiency in building security was known to the landlord, or existed for such a long period of time that the landlord should have known of the deficiency.
The issue of whether a landlord is or is not responsible is of overriding importance and must be discussed with an experienced attorney to be certain the victim in such a terrible crime receives any and all appropriate compensation . Do NOT leave it to guess work!