42 USC § 1983

Here and below is the letter recently filed by the attorney for plaintiffs Victoria Burhans and Chloe Rivera in their sexual harassment lawsuit against Vito Lopez and Sheldon Silver.  It responds to Silver’s letter in which he outlines his proposed motion to dismiss the case. As to their Section 1983 claims, plaintiffs contend, in part: Silver contends that plaintiffs’…

Read More Plaintiffs Submit Further Details and Argument Supporting Claims Against Sheldon Silver in Vito Lopez Sexual Harassment Case
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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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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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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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Below is the complaint, captioned Burhans and Rivera v. Lopez and Silver, 13 CIV 3870, filed in the Southern District of New York by Victoria Burhans and Chloe Rivera against (former) Assemblyman Vito Lopez and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.   Plaintiffs allege violations of the Fourteenth Amendment (through 42 U.S.C. § 1983), the New York State Human…

Read More Federal Sexual Harassment Complaint Against Vito Lopez and Sheldon Silver
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Last week in Williams v. Board of Education-City of Buffalo, the Second Circuit affirmed the summary judgment dismissal of plaintiff’s First Amendment retaliation claims.  The district court’s decision is here, and the Second Circuit’s decision is here. Plaintiff, a clerk at the Riverside Institute of Technology, claimed that the principal instructed her to “alter payroll documentation…

Read More School Clerk’s Complaints About Payroll Fraud Not Protected Under the First Amendment
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Let’s face it:  jury service can be a major inconvenience. But, like paying taxes, it’s not voluntary.  The recent words of a federal judge, however, may be just inspirational enough to make performing one’s civic duty more bearable. In Clark v. Castro, the Southern District of New York explained why it refused to vacate a…

Read More Citing Importance of Jury Service, Court Denies Motion to Vacate Judgment Following Jury Verdict
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In Carroll v. County of Monroe (2d Cir. 12-975-cv, March 12, 2013), the Second Circuit affirmed the denial of plaintiff’s motion to set aside a jury verdict (or alternatively, for a new trial) after a jury found that plaintiff failed to prove her claim (brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983) that the shooting of her…

Read More 2nd Circuit: Police Not Liable For Killing of Dog During Execution of No-Knock Warrant
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