A Police Shooting Case

I am exhausted. I guess I left the settlement memo for the last minute, thinking that, in cases like this, settlement conferences, like the one scheduled for next week, are a total waste of time. These cases are HARD, and the city invariably does not want to settle, especially considering that Philadelphia has no money.

Here’s the deal. A mother and her fifteen-year-old son are at home. The son is a troubled guy who has been away for a few months at a residential facility for kids who are having a tough time with conventional public schooling. Anyway, the kid is giving mom a hard time and she calls the cops.

Two officers arrive and, to make a long story short, the kid is at the top of the stairs with a clothes iron. A moment later, one shot is fired and the kid is fatally wounded in the chest. He eventually dies in front of his mom, right there in the living room.

So, the only question in my civil case (this is not a criminal matter) is whether the shooter believed there was an imminent threat to his life. The cops get huge leeway in this situation, and they should. Would you want their job?

So, I figured this case is just going to trial and that’s that. Why should I worry about the settlement conference? But the more time I spent reading depositions and looking at evidence, the more I thought we might get somewhere with this one. I mean, an iron? Come on!

I ended up working late and putting together something a bit more complicated and detailed than I had originally planned. Who knows? Maybe we can find some justice out there yet.

Double murder… at the Piazza!


I was no fan before yesterday, when a young woman and a man from out of town were gunned down in cold blood in the hallways of these apartments.  The project is little more than a monument to Mr. Blatstein, the developer who thinks that creating a walled community is, somehow, integrating into the neighborhood.

Well, for the residents of these buildings, this is an horrific story.  For Blatstein and his crew, it’s a PR nightmare, especially since The Piazza just opened.  Was it a drug deal?  Was it a serial killer?  Blatstein’s people have apparently conducted a detailed investigation that has revelaed that this is ‘an isolated incident’.  Wow!  Thanks.  I feel so much better now.  I’ll bet the hundreds (thousands?) of tenants feel a lot better too.

You’ll see in the Inquirer article that the whole thing was caught on camera.  That’s great too.  Were those security cameras?  If so, they were intended to help keep the residents safe.  Which means that the landlord undertook certain measures to protect the safety of tenants, which means… (wait for it) CIVIL LIABILITY!!  Pretty soon some smart plaintiff’s lawyer will own that shithole and Blatstein will be living at the old State Office Building, waiting for his next loan to come through.

The other thing about the security cameras and the murder footage is that Blatstein can show it on the massive TV.  Fun for the whole family.