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In a striking victory for free speech, a Manhattan trial court judge recently dismissed a lawsuit brought by TriBeCa residents against photographer Arne Svenson after he surreptitiously photographed them in their homes and used the photos in an art exhibit called “The Neighbors”. Judge Rakower’s August 5, 2013 opinion dismissing the case in Foster v.…

Read More Citing Free Speech, Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Photographer Who Took Secret Pictures of Neighbors
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A recent Second Circuit decision provides guidance on the appropriate standard to be applied in cases involving deadly police force against a suspect.  The case is Rasanen v. Brown et al., 12-680-cv, 2013 WL 3766538 (July 19, 2013). During a warranted search of John Rasanen’s home, defendant NYS trooper Brown shot and killed Rasanen.  The administrator…

Read More Citing Flawed Jury Instructions, Second Circuit Vacates Decision Denying Plaintiff New Trial in Fatal Police Shooting Case
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Your best bet for avoiding a cell phone-related ticket in New York?  Put the thing down while the car is running – even when stopped at a red light. One court (the Town Court of the Town of Brighton, Monroe County) recently held that a car stopped at a red light is still “in motion”…

Read More Car Is “In Motion” When Stopped at Red Light For Purposes of New York’s Cell Phone Driving Statute
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What does it mean to “engage in a call” for purposes of New York’s general cell phone driving statute, VTL § 1225-c(2)(a)? That section provides:  ”[N]o person shall operate a motor vehicle upon a public highway while using a mobile telephone to engage in a call while such vehicle is in motion.” Specifically, does using an iPhone’s “Siri” feature to…

Read More Activating “Siri” Feature Did Not Amount to Using Phone to “Engage in a Call” Within the Meaning of New York’s Cell Phone Driving Statute
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Traffic lights are everywhere, and drivers typically take it for granted that they will work properly. But, like everything, there are no absolutes.  Furthermore, like any man-made object, they are subject to malfunctioning (see, for example, the below video, taken by me at the corner of Broadway and Murray). What then? Turns out that there’s…

Read More New York City Traffic Tidbit: Malfunctioning Traffic Signals
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A recent decision from the Southern District, Wiltshire v. Williams, reiterates that acquittal of criminal charges is not inconsistent with a finding of probable cause to arrest (which, if shown, is a complete defense to a false arrest claim): In the instant case, Plaintiff has contended that the dismissal of his criminal case precludes a finding…

Read More Probable Cause to Arrest May Be Found, Even After Acquittal
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The Second Circuit recently held, in Stansbury v. Wertman, that when evaluating the existence of probable cause in the context of false arrest and malicious prosecution claims, the evidence must be evaluated as a whole, and not item-by-item. In Stansbury, the plaintiff sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging false arrest and malicious prosecution following her acquittal of shoplifting charges. Defendant…

Read More Second Circuit: When Evaluating Probable Cause in the Context of New York False Arrest and Malicious Prosecution Claims, All Circumstances Must Be Considered
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Below is today’s Supreme Court decision in U.S . v. Windsor, which holds section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. That section, codified at 1 U.S.C. § 7, provides: In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of…

Read More SCOTUS Strikes Down DOMA Section 3: U.S. v. Windsor
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A plaintiff (Thomas) recently saw his more than $600,000 jury verdict in a civil rights case against the NYPD crumble to dust due to an undisclosed agreement with a fact witness (Marrow) who testified in his favor.  The court’s decision in the case, Thomas v. City of New York, is here.   There, the court granted defendants’ motion…

Read More Substantial False Arrest Jury Verdict Tossed Because of Undisclosed Agreement Between Plaintiff And Key Fact Witness
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