Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow John Avlon, in Forbes:
New York City spends more money on lawsuits than the next five largest American cities -- Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix and Philadelphia -- combined.
The city's $568 million outlay in fiscal year 2008 was more than double what it spent 15 years ago and 20 times what it paid in 1977.
And the odd and extreme cases continue:
A Brooklyn insurance investigator won $2.3 million this year after he tumbled onto the subway tracks with a 0.18 blood-alcohol level and lost his right leg. ("They're not allowed to hit you just because you're drunk and on the track," his lawyer explained.) A corrections officer received $7.25 million after unsuccessfully attempting suicide, on the grounds that the city should not have permitted her to have a gun. ("Ms. Jones could just have easily turned her city-authorized firearm on anyone," her lawyer said.)
The piece is adapted from a contribution to a City Journal symposium, "New York's Tomorrow", and there's also an associated podcast. More: Eric Turkewitz talks back from a plaintiff's point of view ("when you account for inflation, there really hasn't been much change at all" [compared with 15 years ago)]