OSWEGO — Court documents allege an elderly man was the subject of an attack at an apartment building in Oswego and he is now seeking restitution for personal injuries.
A lawsuit filed by Oswego resident Ram Srinivasan, 71, against Syracuse-based nonprofit developer Housing Visions LLC, the owners of Harbor View Square apartments on West First Street, alleges the company failed to provide a safe environment after Srinivasan was allegedly attacked in an elevator while returning to his apartment back in March.
Srinivasan is looking for compensation in the amount of $100,000 for injuries incurred during the attack, lost wages due to being unable to work and treatment costs for physical and mental health issues, according to a motion filed in June.
Srinivasan said he was returning to his apartment at Harbor View Square around 1 a.m. on March 4, following a movie at Destiny USA in Syracuse. Court documents said Srinivasan used his key fob to gain access to the building before calling an elevator. That’s when a man allegedly followed him in and began to assault him in what he described as a racially motivated attack, Srinivasan said in court documents.
Srinivasan, who is Indian-American, said the man allegedly attacked him to the ground, and kicked him in the stomach and back, court documents show. He reported the incident to police on March 8 and described his suspect as a white male in his 30s wearing a hoodie, police records said.
“He started kicking me hard in the stomach and back, all the time (while) shouting ‘you f—ing Indians, you are everywhere — get out of this building or I will kill you,’” Srinivasan said in court documents. “He (the alleged attacker) pushed the button for the third floor and got out when the elevator reached the floor.”
Srinivasan said in the lawsuit he “dragged himself to his apartment and got inside,” after the attack. It’s unclear whether the man was a resident at Harbor View. Srinivasan said he saw the man get off on the third floor.
The investigating officer said in the report he canvassed the area for security cameras, but his search yielded negative results. The officer later stated in the report the manager of the building said there were no security cameras installed during that time.
Srinivasan told the police he went to an area hospital and was discharged shortly after arriving having sustained minor bruises from the attack, according to the police report.
Srinivasan told The Palladium-Times cameras had been put in the building about two months after the attack. Housing Visions President and CEO Ben Lockwood told The Palladium-Times cameras have been installed in and around the building.
Srinivasan ultimately decided he did not want to press charges against the man he said attacked him, the police report said. OPD then closed Srinivasan’s case in May.
Srinivasan, who moved into Harbor View Square in February, was able to break his lease and move out a month later. Srinivasan was able to rent an apartment at the Downtown Revitalization Initiative-funded project using the city’s rental assistance program, he said.
He told The Palladium-Times he is receiving treatment for PTSD with a therapist, back pain and several other issues. Srinivasan, who is a licensed pharmacy technician, said he is also unable to work due to ongoing mental health issues he said are a result of the attack.
Housing Visions responded to the lawsuit on June 23 and denied the allegations, according to court documents. Lockwood said the company will not comment on the pending litigation at this time. The company asked to have the complaint, along with costs and disbursements incurred dismissed, according to its response to the motion.
Housing Visions’ legal counsel also submitted several demands and notices in an attempt to receive authorizations to obtain Srivinasa’s Social Security records and medical records. Housing Visions’ legal team also formally demanded incident or accident reports, a list of all complaints, collateral source information, and income and employment records among several other things.
Srinivasan answered and refused to release his Social Security records to Housing Visions, but did supply a bill of particulars, which details aspects about the incident and information on his hospital stay. He also gave the defendant collateral source information, which showed Srinivasan allegedly lost two jobs as a pharmacy tech, due to severe anxiety symptoms.
Srinivasan said it is unclear when he would be able to go back to work and psychologists estimate he would not be able to retain a job for a long time, court documents said. They said his unemployment amounts to a loss of income of $30,000 to $35,000 per year.
Srinivasan also receives Medicare coverage. He said he was able to secure a psychologist, but not before being turned away due to his insurance, and not being able to afford sessions that are $200 for subsequent visits, Srinivasan said.
Court documents show a mediation hearing will be held Oct. 3, where legal representation will meet to discuss a settlement.
Recent court documents show Srinivasan’s motion for damages was denied without prejudice in August, meaning Srinivasan can reopen the motion upon refiling all necessary documents correctly, he told The Palladium-Times Tuesday.
Srinivasan said he currently does not have legal counsel and is having trouble finding or affording an attorney. He has gone to legal clinics but has yet to find a lawyer who will accept his case.