Monserrate’s girlfriend files $35M lawsuit

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The girlfriend of former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate has filed a $35 million civil rights lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court against the city, the Queens district attorney’s office and the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, alleging that LIJ doctors conspired with the police and DA officials to coerce her into saying Monserrate intentionally cut her with a broken glass two years ago.

Karla Giraldo was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in December 2008 by Monserrate after she suffered a cut to her left eye from a broken glass.

North Shore-LIJ spokesman Terry Lynam denied the claims.

“It’s obviously untrue,” he said. “We have hundreds of patients coming through our emergency department every day. [Giraldo] was obviously another. This notion that it is a conspiracy is unfounded.”

According to the suit, Giraldo told two LIJ doctors “that her injury was caused accidentally by her boyfriend and there was never any intention on the part of her boyfriend to injure her.”

After Giraldo maintained the incident was an accident, one doctor “became very aggressive and angry at [Giraldo] because she refused to admit to [him] that her boyfriend intentionally caused her laceration,” the suit claimed.

The doctor allegedly threatened Giraldo and pressed her “to state the boyfriend assaulted her despite the fact that it was not true,” according to the suit, which also claimed the doctor said he knew that Monserrate “was a politician.”

Two LIJ doctors then called the police, believing Giraldo was a domestic violence victim, and a nurse refused to allow Monserrate into Giraldo’s exam room so he could translate for her from Spanish into English, the suit said.

The suit claimed the nurse “erroneously reported in her triage notes that [Giraldo’s] injury was caused as a result of an ‘altercation,’” despite not saying who Giraldo had an altercation with and claiming the nurse did not believe Giraldo was a domestic violence victim.

“The LIJ defendants intentionally and overzealously exaggerated [Giraldo’s] injuries and cause of said injury solely because they knew [Monserrate] was a high-profile New York State politician,” the suit said.

Monserrate was found guilty of misdemeanor assault, expelled from the Senate because of the verdict and has been with Giraldo ever since an order of protection was eased earlier this year.

The suit said the nurse and an LIJ doctor “conspired with the NYPD and the DA to create statements that would falsely implicate [Monserrate] of a crime and falsely state comments that were allegedly made by the plaintiff.

“Against her will,” Giraldo was “forcefully transported to the 105th Precinct” to be interrogated by a police officer, the suit said.

At the time she was taken to the precinct, Giraldo “had no coat, had not eaten for over 10 hours, and was wearing only a pair of slippers,” the suit claimed.

The precinct did not offer her clothing even though Giraldo said she was cold, it said.

The suit claimed Giraldo was “forcefully ordered to sign a statement accusing [Monserrate] of assaulting her.”

Giraldo’s attorneys said an officer “made false, misleading and fallacious statements about her boyfriend having many girlfriends, being married and his wife being present in the precinct and would be introduced to the plaintiff if she would sign an accusatory statement against her boyfriend.”

After five hours of interrogation, Giraldo wrote a statement in Spanish that said the incident was an accident, the suit claimed.

After being taken to the DA’s office, Giraldo said a DA official “became upset and yelled at [her] through [a] Spanish interpreter because [she] would not change her statement,” the lawsuit claimed.

Following two hours of interrogation at the DA’s office, Giraldo was taken to a location on Queens Boulevard, where she was waiting to be picked up by her cousin.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 6:23 pm, October 10, 2011
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