Strip Searches In New York Schools | Zero Tolerance in the NYC school system |

Are Strip Searches Allowed in New York Schools?

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.


Another Construction Worker Dies Operating Heavy Machinery and falling from height

As Reported by the New York Times, A construction worker died after falling 125 feet when a tall construction lift toppled and struck a downtown Philadelphia apartment building, the authorities said. The investigators are looking to see if the construction worker who fell, was properly harnessed and all safety procedures were followed.  According to witnesses the machine operated by the construction work toppled when a city sidewalk grate gave way.

A Notice of Claim has been filed.

Experienced construction accident attorneys should immediately begin to investigate the procedures that we in place, the safety equipment as well as the construction equipment, and immediately question all witnesses.


What, exactly, is a "CONTINGENT FEE"?

Law firms which restrict their practice to matters involving victims of personal injury,  usually limit their fee arrangement with their clients to a ‘CONTINGENT FEE” .

What, exactly, is a “CONTINGENT FEE”?

It seems hard to argue against the position that a “CONTINGENT FEE” is simply the fairest, most equitable arrangement that any client could hope for.   It basically says to you, the client, that the ONLY way you will owe your attorneys any fee is if your attorney is successful in obtaining money for you to compensate you for your injury, whether through settlement or after a trial.   In the  event the firm is unable to obtain money to compensate you then, in that event, you do not owe your attorney any attorney’s fee whatsoever!   What could be fairer from a client’s point of view?

Furthermore, the amount of fee the attorney is entitled to is directly related to the amount of money your attorney recovers on your behalf.   The greater the amount of recovery, the greater the fee your attorney receives.  As a general rule, the fee an attorney receives amounts to one-third of the amount recovered, after first deducting the expenses paid out in pursuing the case on your behalf.  (There are some exceptions and the attorney will explain any differences and give you a written “retainer agreement” setting out  the fee arrangement in detail).

For anyone that has either experienced, or knows someone that had to hire an attorney and experienced, being charged for every minute of every phone conversation with that attorney, the “CONTINGENT FEE” arrangement can be a refreshing breath of fresh air.  How comforting to know that any question, at any time, can be answered with just a phone call and there are no extra charges to have what may be a very important–or even not so important–matter dealt with quickly.

Be certain to ask the attorney what happens in the event there is NO recovery and the attorney has incurred expenses on your behalf.  This may be handled somewhat differently by different attorneys.