Firm Overview

Joseph L. Decolator co-authored the 1996 amendments to General Municipal Law § 205-e (GML 205-e) which largely abolished the common-law firefighters rule.

GML § 205-e was enacted to permit police officers injured in the line-of-duty to sue third parties and/or their employer, the City of New York and the New York City Police Department, under a variety of different factual settings. Joseph L. Decolator also wrote Section 11-106 of the General Obligations Law which abolished the ‘firefighters’ rule at common-law, as to all potential defendant’s except the injured officer’s employer.

Mr. Decolator has won numerous appeals in Appellate Courts of this State which have vindicated the rights of injured police officers under General Municipal Law Section 205-e and General Obligations Law Section 11-106. In 1994, he won a landmark decision in the Court of Appeals, the State’s highest Court, which held that the New York Parole Board was liable for the actions of a parolee in murdering a New York City Police Officer.

In 1999, he won for the second time in the Court of Appeals. In that case, the Court held that the City of New York was liable for severe injuries sustained by a police officer when he tripped and fell over a broken public sidewalk.

Neil L. Cohen has represented thousands of police officers in nearly a quarter century of practice. Mr. Cohen has tried approximately five hundred trials in both the criminal and administrative forums. Mr. Cohen is knowledgeable in most aspects of police work and is intent in getting the “message out” regarding police officer’s rights in line-of-duty injury settings. He has authored each of the Police Officer Rights to Sue newsletters and has personally distributed them in each station house of the New York City Police Department.

Dominic DiPrisco has litigated hundreds of personal injury cases in the Courts of the State of New York. Mr. DiPrisco had a Kings County Jury award sixteen million dollars against the City of New York to a Highway 2 Officer who was injured as a result of striking his head on an improperly situated odometer. Mr. DiPrisco also had a Kings County Jury award six million dollars against the City of New York to two police officers who were shot by a perpetrator who was improperly handcuffed. Mr. DiPrisco also litigated a case against the City of New York on behalf of a Queens Officer who was injured as a passenger in a one-car accident. Mr. DiPrisco claimed the RMP’s brakes were defective and the operator’s actions were reckless. The matter settled for one million five hundred thousand dollars during trial. Mr. DiPrisco recently settled a case against the City of New York and a private gas station operator for one million four hundred seventy-five thousand dollars. The officer was a passenger in an RMP responding to a false alarm call by a gasoline attendant and was injured after the operator recklessly collided with another vehicle.

The firm has published newsletters entitled Police Officers Right to Sue in 2003, 2005 and 2008. These publications detail the state of General Municipal Law § 205-e and how the law applies in different cases handled by the firm.

Decolator, Cohen & DiPrisco, LLP stresses the importance of officers contacting this firm in any line-of-duty accident to determine if there is a basis for a third party personal injury lawsuit. The partners at DCD are committed to educating New York City Police Officers about their civil rights in line-of-duty accidents.

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