The family of slain New York Times journalist David E. Rosenbaum is in discussions with the District government about a settlement of their lawsuit over the emergency response to his mugging last year.
Rosenbaum's children, Daniel and Dorothy Rosenbaum, filed the $20 million lawsuit in November, alleging that their father was a victim of official negligence and medical malpractice. The suit was filed against the District and Howard University Hospital, where Rosenbaum died two days after the attack, which occurred on a street near his home.
The family had said that a series of actions contributed to the death of the recently retired reporter and editor as he walked on a quiet street in his Northwest neighborhood. Among other things, Rosenbaum, 63, was misdiagnosed as drunk, and the ambulance bypassed the nearest hospital because an emergency medical technician had personal business to attend to near Howard. Rosenbaum was suffering from a severe head injury after being hit with a pipe during the attack Jan. 6, 2006.
Patrick Regan, the lead attorney for the family, said he is optimistic about the possibility of a settlement. But he said that nothing is definite, despite a report in the Washington Examiner saying that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) would announce an agreement in the first week of March.
"There is no agreement," Regan said yesterday. "There are discussions and there is optimism, but that's it."
Regan said the soonest that "anything could happen" on the suit is the week of March 5 or 12.
Marcus Rosenbaum, Rosenbaum's brother, declined to comment on the discussions yesterday.
A spokesman for Fenty also declined to comment. "We will have more details in the next couple of weeks," spokeswoman Mafara Hobson said.
The D.C. inspector general's office released a report last summer that found "apathy, indifference and complacency" in the response by the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, the police and Howard University.
According to the lawsuit, Rosenbaum was not seen by a doctor at Howard for more than 90 minutes, and nearly four hours passed before he received a neurological evaluation.
Family members also said they were disturbed that police failed to fully investigate an earlier crime involving a man who had been beaten and robbed in Southeast, despite strong clues provided by his stolen cellphone. Later, after arrests had been made in Rosenbaum's death, the victim of the earlier robbery said that one of those suspects had been his attacker.
Marcus Rosenbaum said when the suit was filed that the family hoped to change a system in dire need of improvements. "Things are broken in this city," he said then.
Two men have been convicted in the killing: Percey Jordan, 43, who was sentenced to a 65-year term, and his cousin Michael C. Hamlin, who cooperated with prosecutors and received a 26-year term.