- Lawsuits filed
Stemming the tide?
Atlantic City’s policy of taking more cases to trial and seeking compensation for frivolous claims is meant to discourage people from filing lawsuits with the expectation that the municipality will pay them a modest sum to go away rather than pay to fight the case. In place more than two years, the practice appears to be saving some money. Although the number of people filing lawsuits varies annually, more of them are being withdrawn, so fewer are being pursued.
Lawsuits filed by private individuals:
2012 (first quarter): 13
Source: Atlantic City Council agendas
- Atlantic City legal fees
Atlantic City legal fees last year were $9 million, 28 percent more than in 2010.
Paying and negotiating public employee workers’ comp claims cost $2.7 million in 2011, up 50 percent from the $1.8 million spent in 2010.
Fourteen municipal workers have been paid $2.4 million of the $8.7 million total paid out to settle lawsuits since 2008. All but two of those employees still work for the city.
Tax appeals cost $785,000 last year, more than double the $385,000 in 2009, when Atlantic City property owners in large numbers starting contesting their new assessments. City officials expect that to clear $1 million this year. During the past year or so, the city’s ratable base dropped 13 percent to $1.7 million. The appeal agreements also forced the city to borrow $38.5 million to adjust for overpayments by casino properties — at a cost of at least $3.5 million in interest.
Settlements by the numbers
Since 2000, Atlantic City taxpayers have provided $29 million to settle 413 cases. That breaks down to an annual average of about 37 settlements for $2.6 million cumulative, or $70,218 each settlement. Sixty-four of the payouts each cost the city $100,000 or more.
2008: 27 cases settled for $3.2 million
2009: 27 cases settled for $2.3 million
2010: 19 cases settled for $1.3 million
2011: 22 cases settled for $1.7 million
2012 (first quarter): 4 cases settled for $280,000
Source: settlements and legal bills approved by Atlantic City Council 2008 to present
Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2012 9:45 pm
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Saturday, June 2, 2012 9:45 pm.