“The $3.25 million settlement that the city announced this week with the estate of Sean Bell, who was shot to death by the police in 2006, serves as a reminder of a ruthless truth about calculating settlements: It is generally cheaper to settle a case in which there was a death than one in which there was a serious injury…”
“That partly explains why the family of another victim of a fatal police shooting, Amadou Diallo, refused for years to accept the city’s settlement offers, said Anthony H. Gair, the lawyer who handled the case.
“He had no children, he had no next of kin, he was making no money selling things on the street,” Mr. Gair said. “They were offering very little money – way under a million. They were arguing under New York wrongful-death law it wasn’t worth very much. And they were right.”
The city eventually increased its offer to $3 million, which the family accepted. Mr. Gair said the state’s laws on the subject were “the most antiquated, backward wrongful-death laws in the United States.”