Slash Attack Worth $5 Mil?
Teen Sues City for Attack in Lehman HS
By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, APRIL 7- The attorney for a teenager slashed across the chin during an attack at Herbert H. Lehman High School, was expected to file a notice of claim against the city-- seeking more than $5 million in damages.
Attorney Sanford Rubenstein was expected to file papers in Manhattan on April 7, charging negligence on the part of the City of New York, the Department of Education and the New York City Police Department on behalf of his client and student Stephauan Powell, 16.
According to Rubenstein, Powell was slashed by a fellow student across the chin with a straight-edge razor in a third-floor hallway at the East Tremont Avenue school. The gash needed 20-stitches to close.
After the attack,the attorney claims his client was charged with disorderly conduct.
In the document that would be filed at 1 Centre Street, Rubenstein charges, "As a direct result of the active and passive negligence, carelessness and recklessness... respondents failed to provide enough teachers or school safety agents who could properly monitor and control all of the students."
The document also claims that either school safety agents or teachers were aware of a, "known dangerous condition," but the release does not elaborate on what that condition was.
In a prepared statement, Rubenstein said, "Students go to school to learn, not be attacked in school with a weapon and brutally slashed."
He added, "Justice for Stephauan Powell is important for all students. School's must be made safe for all those who attend."
A verdict in Powell's favor could open the city to a floodgate of lawsuits stemming from dozens of incidents that occur on school property every year.
The attorney is seeking $5 million for the teen who suffered a 2-inch gash under his jaw as well as $500,000 for Powell's mother Latoya Santiago, 39, for her own pain and suffering.
Calls to Lehman High School Principal Rose LoBianco were not immediately returned.
A call to the Office of Public Safety, a unit of unarmed peace officers who patrol city school's and remain a division under the NYPD-- prompted an immediate, "Sorry, I can't comment," and a hang-up.
An e-mail request to Marge Feinberg, a spokeswoman at the DOE, who was described by another DOE official as one who, "handles those types of cases," who diverted all questions to the NYPD.
An NYPD spokesman stated that records show that Powell was not arrested, but was unable to say if a summons was issued for disorderly conduct.
The spokesman added that the NYPD does not comment on pending litigation.