On September 20, 2012, Nicholas Kokolis was robbed at gunpoint. Anthony Wallace was later convicted of robbery and sentenced to prison.
While incarcerated, Mr. Wallace received a sum of money after bringing a lawsuit alleging that he was assaulted by corrections officers at the jail on Rikers Island. The so-called Son of Sam Law (Executive Law Section 632-a ) requires that victims of crimes be notified whenever a person convicted of a crime receives $10,000 or more—from virtually any source. The law then attaches a springing statute of limitations, giving victims an extended period of time to sue the perpetrator of the crime in civil court for their crimes.
In 2018, Mr. Kokolis sued Mr. Wallace. After Wallace failed to answer the complaint, a default judgment was entered and an inquest was held before a judge in Queens who granted plaintiff’s application for a judgment in the sum of $193,413.73.
In Kokolis v. Wallace (2d Dept. 2022), the appellate court agreed with the defendant that the award was excessive and ordered it reduced to $25,000.
There was no medical proof offered at the inquest. Mr. Kokolis testified as to his injuries as follows:
- As he was putting a ladder in his truck after a day’s work as a window installer, he felt a hand tug on his neck and when he turned around he saw Mr. Wallace (and two other men) with pistols standing there.
- At the time, he felt terrified and stunned.
- His necklace was taken and he was told not to move as the robbers walked away.
- He is now less trusting of people, more alert and scared that it could happen anywhere.
- The $193,413.73 awarded following the inquest is the exact sum of money the defendant was to receive in his lawsuit against the corrections officers.