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McMillan v. City of New York

Eastern District Court of New York
253 F.R.D. 247 (2008)


Facts

James McMillan (plaintiff), a black man, was seriously injured during the crash of a ferryboat negligently operated by the City of New York (City) (defendant). McMillan became a quadriplegic as a result of the crash and sued the City for negligence, claiming damages resulting from pain, suffering, and medical costs. A critical element in the calculation of damages was McMillan’s life expectancy. At a trial before the court and an advisory judge, the City introduced race-based statistical evidence showing that an African-American plaintiff with a spinal-cord injury would live a shorter life than a person of another race with a similar injury. The issue was whether a court could rely on race as a factor in the calculation of damages in a negligence case.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Weinstein, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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