42 USC § 1983

A recent Eastern District of New York decision, Jones v. City of New York, No. 14-CV-0826 CBA RLM, 2015 WL 502227 (E.D.N.Y. Feb. 5, 2015), illustrates the well-established principle that an employer can fire an employee for any reason as long as the reason is non-discriminatory even if based on reasons that are unbecoming or small-minded,…

Read More Jealousy of Spruned Lover, Rather than Race or National Origin Discrimination, Was Reason for Termination
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In Pittman v. Incorporated Village of Hempstead, the Eastern District of New York held that plaintiff’s excessive force claim survived summary judgment. The “Fourth Amendment protects individuals from the government’s use of excessive force when detaining or arresting individuals. … A police officer’s use of force is excessive in violation of the Fourth Amendment[] if it…

Read More Injury to Arrestee’s Head and Ear Results in Denial of Summary Judgment to Officer on Excessive Force Claim
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In Lapaix v. City of New York (decided Aug. 12, 2014), the Southern District of New York held that plaintiff – a retired Marine Colonel – adequately pleaded various employment discrimination claims. Here’s plaintiff’s complaint. Initially the court held that plaintiff stated military status discrimination claims under the federal Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and the New…

Read More Retired Marine States Military Status, Race, and National Origin Discrimination Claims
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In Abrams v. Department of Public Safety, decided July 14, 2014, the Second Circuit vacated summary judgment in defendants’ favor on plaintiff’s race discrimination claims under Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause (pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983). Plaintiff, an African American detective, argued that he was discriminated against by, among other things, not being…

Read More “Better Fit” Remarks Sufficient to Defeat Summary Judgment in Race Discrimination Case, Second Circuit Holds
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Here is the complaint filed on July 30th in Bronx Supreme Court by alleged “rape cop” Kenneth Moreno against various parties, including the woman he was accused (but acquitted) of raping, the City of New York, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. According to a Reuters article on the suit, plaintiff “claims that city prosecutors ignored credibility…

Read More Alleged “Rape Cop” Kenneth Moreno’s $175 Million Lawsuit Against Accuser and Others
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Yesterday a Brooklyn federal jury awarded (verdict sheet here) plaintiff Kevin Jarman $510,000 ($480,000 compensatory, $30,000 punitive) in damages arising from alleged excessive force during an arrest for shoplifting from a Path Mark store. Plaintiff alleged in his complaint that after he was handcuffed, the arresting officer “yanked very violently on the handcuffs” which caused plaintiff to lose…

Read More Jury Awards $510,000 to Man Whose Ankle Was Broken By Police
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In Schwartz v. Marcantonatos et al. (Summary Order decided May 20, 2014), the Second Circuit affirmed the denial of summary judgment to defendants on the ground of qualified immunity. This false arrest case arises out of the NYPD’s botched attempt to arrest the plaintiff as part of its “lucky bag” program. Ironically, the arresting (plainclothes) officer’s own illegal…

Read More “Lucky Bag” Operation Backfires; False Arrest Lawsuit Continues
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In Burhans v. Lopez, decided June 10, 2014, the Southern District of New York denied defendant Sheldon Silver’s motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ amended federal court complaint for failure to state a claim. This lawsuit arises out of sexual harassment committed by former New York State Assemblyman Vito Lopez against plaintiffs, who served as his legislative aides. As…

Read More Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Continues Against Sheldon Silver
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On May 28, 2014, an Eastern District federal jury awarded $1.35 million to white Freeport police lieutenant Christopher Barella. Here is the Judgment, memorializing the following awards: $150,000 for loss of back pay, $1,000,000 for loss of front pay, $200,000 for punitive damages. In his Amended Complaint, plaintiff asserted that the Village of Freeport and…

Read More White Police Lieutenant Wins $1.35 Million Award in “Reverse” Discrimination Suit
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In Smith v. Town of Hempstead (decided May 15, 2014), the Eastern District of New York held that plaintiff stated claims for sexual harassment/hostile work environment under Title VII, and a claim for municipal liability under 42 USC 1983. Plaintiff worked as a Community Research Assistant in the Town’s Clerk’s Office and claimed that she was subjected…

Read More Town Clerk States Claims For Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment and Municipal Liability Under Section 1983
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