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Monday, September 17, 2007

'Malled' by Staten Island Judge....CLICK HERE FOR FULL STORY

The New York Post's Jeane MacIntosh wrote this great article, 'Malled' by judge links, about some silly woman who sought justice in a Staten Island, New York courtroom after her car dropped four feet into a mall parking lot hole.  The problem: the person running the mall was married to very connected judge.....good story, sad story about our court system.....  

Another message from our courts of law: Be Carefull Against Whom You Seek Justice (There will be no "equal justice" in this Empire State!)

Here's the article:


March 26, 2007 -- A woman injured in a Staten Island strip mall run by the wife of a prominent judge has seen her $5 million negligence lawsuit bounced around the court system for three years because of the jurist's political ties, court records reveal.
Laurie Romanelli, of Seaside Heights, N.J., sued Tottenville Square Mall in March 2004 after her family's car, driven by her husband, Michael, plunged into a 4-foot-deep sinkhole in its parking lot. The mother of three says the crash left her with a fractured neck and other debilitating injuries.

The mall is managed by Helen Vitaliano - wife of Eric Vitaliano, who at the time of the suit was a Staten Island Civil Court judge. He has since been appointed to the federal bench in Brooklyn.

Judge Vitaliano was randomly assigned to hear the case.

After lawyers for the Romanellis realized the husband-wife connection, the judge quickly recused himself, without having heard motions or making any rulings.

"There were no whispers or aspersions cast on Judge Vitaliano. He recused himself immediately upon learning the case involved his wife and her work," said Jay Umans, a lawyer who is representing Michael Romanelli, who has filed a separate $2 million suit against Tottenville Square.

In early 2005, the case was transferred to Judge Anthony Giacobbe, who presided over it for a year, until Helen Vitaliano disclosed in pretrial depositions that Giacobbe and her husband socialized.

Giacobbe recused himself in February 2006, court records show.

The case then went to Judge Thomas Aliotta, whose law firm, records show, contributed to Judge Vitaliano's failed 1997 run for Congress.

Despite the tangled web, the Romanellis said they are loath to cry foul, particularly since Judge Aliotta recently ruled the case ready for trial - before turning it over to yet another judge, Philip Minardo.

In a court hearing last week, Minardo ordered lawyers for Tottenville Square to wrap up pretrial loose ends, noting, "You'll be on trial by September if you don't settle."

A New York Courts spokeswoman said the Romanellis' lawyers could have asked to take the case out of Staten Island.

"Anytime there's a question of a potential conflict [of interest], it's up to the lawyers to apply for a venue change," she said.

Lawyers for the Romanellis have not filed any grievances or complaints about the judges.

Lawyers for Tottenville Square, which has countersued Michael Romanelli, did not return calls.

Helen Vitaliano declined comment. Laurie Romanelli's lawyer didn't return calls.

Michael Romanelli, a former firefighter, is no stranger to a courtroom. He fought, and lost, a nasty, protracted legal battle with the city over his disability payments.

"I vowed I'd never get involved in a lawsuit again," he said. "But my wife was severely injured, and we had no choice."

Click Here to Link To Daily News Story


Anonymous said...

A similar thing happened to me in Manhattan the whole thing went into a black hole. My lawyer final told me that the Judge told him to do it his way or he would get him. My lawyer was afraid and has to make a living. The black wall of silence has to be destroyed. People told me not to bother with the case. I had the facts on my side so I figured I had a chance. How stupid was I! Great system we have, its not about truth or justice, it's about the fix and how much the Judge or the law secretary gets under the table. None of this can be proven since in the interest of self protection the Courts ban all tape recorders or cameras for very good reasons from their point of view, of course.
Now these SOB's want a pay raise. What's the matter don't they get enough payoffs? Or do you think that they will stop taking payoffs if the get a raise?

Anonymous said...

Some judges think they are above the law. Drag these type of judges off the bench and back to reality.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the reality of a jail cell for all the people they have damaged.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the reality of the situation is if the Judge, whatever Judge wants something to go a certain way that's the way its going to go. I have seen things happen many, many times and it will be stepup so any appeal will be a waste of time and money. I'm personally just interested in keeping my job, then I retire and don't have to worry about my back with all these skels. Sorry to say!

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