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Do you have questions about personal injury, workers compensation, or civil rights law? Browse through our blog.

Can I Sue for False Imprisonment?

| Read Time: 3 minutes

Though it’s a crime for any individual to hold someone against their will, New Jersey, New York, and United States law deems these acts as especially egregious when they’re committed by certain types of officials. Therefore, authority figures can be held legally liable for damages if they unlawfully and unreasonably detain someone without justification. These acts may constitute false imprisonment, one of the most common types of police misconduct. If you were held under such circumstances, you may be wondering: Can I sue for false imprisonment? The answer to this question is much more complicated than a simple yes or no. Your rights as a victim in a false imprisonment case will depend upon many different factors, so you should discuss your situation with an NJ and NY civil rights attorney. In addition, you may get a general grasp of how these claims work by reviewing some background information on false imprisonment. What Is False Imprisonment? Though false imprisonment by police is a crime as defined above, the best result you can expect is that the official will receive criminal penalties. A conviction in such a case does nothing to compensate you for the devastating harm you suffer due to the effects on your civil rights. Fortunately, New Jersey and New York law also classifies false imprisonment as a tort, a legal term used to describe an act of wrongdoing. False imprisonment is considered an intentional tort because the offender knowingly, purposefully engaged in wrongful conduct. In civil law, intentional torts qualify as claims because you could sustain bodily harm, suffering, and emotional distress. However, when the situation involves authority figures, false imprisonment also causes harm to your constitutional and civil rights. As such, you may have a cause of action and can sue for false imprisonment by police officers,  governmental employee, or other official acting under the guise of authority. You may be entitled to monetary damages if you can prove the essential elements as described below. Elements of False Imprisonment In the practice of law, the “elements” of a civil rights claim refer to the facts you must prove to receive compensation. In a false imprisonment case, you must establish: You were confined against your will. It’s not necessary to show physical force, but you must reasonably believe that you were being detained by barriers, threats, duress, or other circumstances. The person who falsely imprisoned you did so intentionally, knowingly, and purposefully. There were no lawful grounds for the imprisonment since there are some situations where detaining you may be legal and legitimate. You were harmed by false imprisonment, physically, financially, and/or emotionally. If successful in proving these facts, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, emotional distress, pain, suffering, and related losses. False Imprisonment Examples Based on the essential elements of false imprisonment, it may be helpful to review some examples that may allow you to file a civil lawsuit. You may have a claim if you were: Put in handcuffs for no apparent reason; Detained by police without justification or probable cause, such as a random street stop; Held for an unreasonable amount of time during a roadside stop; Subjected to threats that led you to believe you could not leave; Held in a jail cell or interrogation room without being charged; Locked in a police car without explanation; Prevented from leaving your own home; or Sentenced to a prison term for a crime you did not commit A real-life case involving false imprisonment may also serve as a helpful example. The Netflix miniseries “When They See Us” covers the story of the Central Park Five, teenagers who were arrested for the rape and beating of a woman. They were convicted in 1989, but the charges were later dropped due to egregious errors and police mishandling of the case. Still, the five had already spent much of their formative years behind bars. These individuals sued New York City on several grounds, including false imprisonment. In 2014, the parties settled the civil case for $40 million. Attorney David Kreizer, along with co-counsel, represented Korey Wise of the Central Park Five in that landmark civil rights case. Mr. Wise received $12.25 million of the $40 million settlement from New York City.  Discuss False Imprisonment Claims with Our Skilled NJ and NY Civil Rights Attorneys While this information may be useful, it cannot definitively answer the key question: “Can I sue for false imprisonment?” For a more accurate assessment of your rights, you need to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who has extensive experience dealing with Civil rights cases, particularly false imprisonment matters. Call us toll-free (833) 4KreizerLaw – that’s (833) 457-3493 to begin evaluating your case. To learn more about your rights and legal remedies, please contact Kreizer Law. We can set up a no-cost case evaluation to review your circumstances and determine a strategy for moving forward.

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David Kreizer: Attorney in the Central Park Five Case

| Read Time: 3 minutes

On May 31st, 2019, Netflix premiered the first episode of Ava DuVernay’s documentary “When They See Us” — a four-part miniseries that tells the story of the ‘Central Park Five’. The critically acclaimed work has brought fresh attention to the quintet, who was initially convicted and sentenced for a horrible crime before eventually being exonerated by DNA evidence. As the Innocence Project notes, the five men were cleared in 2002 after the Supreme Court of New York vacated their convictions and withdrew all of the criminal charges against them. David Kreizer, an experienced litigation attorney in New York and New Jersey, served, along with co-counsel, as attorney to Korey Wise in the Central Park Five case. Central Park Five Case: Summary The Crime The Central Park Five involves a real and horrific crime. In the Spring of 1989, Trisha Meili, a 28-year-old woman, was jogging in a secluded area of the park. Around 9:30 PM, she was assaulted and raped — suffering severe injuries that left her comatose for nearly two weeks. As a result of the overwhelming mental and physical trauma she endured, Trisha Meili had no memory of the attack. The Flimsy Case Against the Central Park Five In the immediate aftermath of the crime, officers from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) put the focus on six African American and Hispanic American teenagers: Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise. It was these five who allegedly confessed to the crime under pressure from the NYPD. The supposed “confessions” were the key evidence used against teenagers. However, their DNA did not match the DNA that was obtained at the scene of the crime. Further, the confessions were obtained after hours of interrogation — without the presence of parents or attorneys. Even more alarming, the supposed confessions fundamentally did not make sense. The young boys consistently contradicted each other’s statements and got key facts about the attack wrong. The confessions were all later withdrawn. The Wrongful Convictions Despite the unreliability of the confessions, the overwhelming scientific research that shows that false confessions are common, and the total lack of physical evidence tying any of the boys to the brutal attack, they were convicted of a number of different crimes, including rape and assault in 1991. The Exoneration In 2001, the case received new attention. Matias Reyes, a serial rapist and convicted murder who was serving life in prison in New York, confessed to the crime. His DNA was tested and compared to a sample that was recovered near the scene of the brutal attack — it matched. There was also additional evidence that confirmed that Reyes, not the Central Park Five, committed the attack. The convictions were vacated and all criminal charges against the Central Park Five were officially withdrawn. The Civil Settlement Following their clear exoneration, the Central Park Five filed a civil lawsuit against the City of New York for, among other things, malicious and wrongful prosecution. For more than a decade, the New York officials refused to settle the claim. However, in 2014, following the election of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the city finally relented and agreed to settle the Civil Rights lawsuit for $41 million with $12.25 million going to David Kreizer’s client, Korey Wise. Do You Have Questions About a Civil Rights Case? David Kreizer is here to help you with your civil rights case. Call us toll-free (833) 4KreizerLaw – that’s (833) 457-3493 to begin evaluating your case.

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NJ Dog Bite Laws

| Read Time: 2 minutes

For the most part, dogs live up to the title “Man’s Best Friend.” However, there are some that may be prone to viciousness or lash out for unknown reasons. If you’re on the other end of this aggression, you could suffer serious injuries through a dog bite or other type of animal attack. Fortunately, New Jersey does impose liability on certain individuals when their furry friends cause bodily harm. While you should trust an experienced personal injury attorney to fight for your rights as a victim, an overview of NJ dog bite laws may be useful. Multiple Theories of Liability Under Dog Bite Laws in NJ In general, people who sustain injuries due to an attack by a dog may be able to recover compensation for their losses. Still, there are distinctions regarding the specific theory of liability for the owner or handler. 1. Strict Liability for Dog Bites: One NJ dog bite law was enacted as a statute that imposes strict liability on a dog’s owner. This means that a victim doesn’t have to prove that the person knew the dog had bitten someone before or had acted viciously in the past. You could be entitled to legal relief if you’re bitten in a public place or while legally present in a private location. The statute only applies to dog bites, so you cannot seek compensation under the statute’s strict liability if you were only mauled. 2. Negligence: If you were hurt in an attack not involving a bite, you may be able to recover monetary damages by proving that the dog’s owner was negligent in handling it. These individuals have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to control the dog’s behavior, so a breach of this duty could make the owner accountable for all resulting harm. An example of negligence may be a store owner allowing a dog to roam freely within the premises, knowing it had bitten someone before. 3. Negligence Per Se: The same rules regarding negligence may apply in a situation where the dog’s owner was engaged in unlawful acts. For instance, if the dog was not on a leash while out walking, in violation of New Jersey’s leash laws, you may have a claim of negligence per se. Your Rights as the Victim of a Dog Bite If you’re able to prove the essential elements of a dog bite case based upon strict liability or negligence, you may be able to recover monetary damages for your losses. Depending on the details, your compensation may include: Medical expenses; Lost wages; Pain and suffering; and, Emotional distress. Contact Our New Jersey Dog Bite Lawyers to Discuss Your Rights While this summary of your rights under NJ dog bite laws should be useful, it’s important to work with a knowledgeable New Jersey personal injury attorney regarding your legal remedies. Call us toll-free (833) 4KreizerLaw – that’s (833) 457-3493 to begin evaluating your case. You put your rights at risk if you try to represent yourself, especially at a time when you’re trying to recover from your injuries. For more information on your options, please contact the Kreizer Law Firm to schedule a free case evaluation.

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