In what is believed to be one of the largest settlements of its kind in New York’s history, the firm obtained $6 million for three families of abused disabled residents in a State-run group home in the Bronx, known as the Union Avenue IRA. The lawsuit revealed years of shocking abuse and neglect in the Bronx home, including staff who gave disabled residents black eyes, pulled their hair, spit in their faces, kicked them, sexually abused them, withheld food from them, showered them in frigid water, and botched their medical care.
Under the settlement, the State will permanently relinquish control of the Union Avenue IRA to a nonprofit provider. Individual staff will never be permitted to reenter Union Avenue as long as any of the three disabled residents reside there.
“From the very top to the very bottom, OPWDD failed my sister on every level. I hope and pray that all the individuals living at Union Avenue will now live happy, healthy, fear-free lives, once OPWDD turns over control of Union Avenue to a nonprofit provider,”
Laura Kearins, sister of one of the plaintiffs
“I’m completely saddened and heartbroken. How can people prey on the innocent with no remorse? We will move forward trying to repair the damage that was done,”
Barbara Melendez, sister to another plaintiff
“This is one of the most appalling disability abuse cases I’ve seen in over twenty years of practice. How could so many New York State employees brutalize so many people, for so long, while no staff or supervisor did a thing about it? This case is a wake-up call for massive reform in this State agency.”
Ilann M. Maazel, lead counsel for the families, ECBAWM partner
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Feb. 21, 2020The New York Times
$6 Million for Disabled Adults Who Were Punched and Spat At
Sept. 30, 2019The New York Times
Disabled Bronx women get $6M in state-run group home ‘abuse’ settlement
Sept. 30, 2019Emily Saul
New York state will pay $6 million to families of disabled residents who claimed abuse at group home in the Bronx
Oct 01, 2019New York Daily News
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The firm recovered more than $40 million as part of historic $2.7 billion settlement with the government of Libya for the downing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. This litigation created the terrorist exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA).