(Reuters) - A Manhattan federal judge has ruled that the U.S. government is liable for the accidental death of the sister-in-law of prominent criminal defense lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
Marilyn Dershowitz, 68, was crushed to death by a U.S. Postal Service truck while bicycling with her husband, Nathan, in Manhattan in 2011.
The driver of the truck was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, but acquitted at trial in September 2012. The following month, the family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the government.
In a ruling late on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Sarah Netburn said she had found the government "100 percent liable" for the fatal accident. Among other contributing factors, she said "the preponderance of credible evidence introduced at trial" demonstrated that the USPS truck driver "did not exercise
due care to avoid colliding with Mrs. Dershowitz."
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, which represented the federal government in the case, declined to comment.
Netburn has yet to rule on the issue of financial compensation. Ben Rubinowitz, a lawyer for the family, told Reuters he expected damages to total approximately $5 million.
Mrs. Dershowitz's husband, Nathan Dershowitz, is a lawyer and brother of the prominent attorney and Harvard Law School professor.
(Reporting by Tom Brown; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Dan Grebler and Richard Chang)