Police Brutality/Excessive Force

Lawyers in general, and plaintiffs’ lawyers in particular, serve a vital societal function. Their work has resulted in, to name just a few examples, the proliferation of civil rights, safer products, and safer business practices in general. As a plaintiffs’ lawyer, I am proud to be a part of, and contribute to, that process. Yet, plaintiffs’…

Read More Are All Lawyers Liars?
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The Second Circuit’s decision in Shamir v. City of New York, No. 14-3606, 2015 WL 6214708 (2d Cir. Oct. 22, 2015) (Newman, Walker, Jacobs) is instructive on pleading police misconduct cases – namely, claims for excessive force. This case arises from plaintiff’s arrest after putting a sleeping bag on the ground while attending an Occupy Wall Street…

Read More Excessive Force/Tight Handcuffing Claim Sufficiently Alleged
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In Uzoukwu v. City of New York, No. 13-3483-CV, 2015 WL 6742739 (2d Cir. Nov. 5, 2015), a false arrest/excessive force case, the Second Circuit vacated a judgment entered following a jury verdict for defendants. The facts, briefly: Plaintiff was sitting on a park bench near a playground. Park rules prohibited adults unaccompanied by children…

Read More Second Circuit Revives False Arrest Case Following Improper Jury Instruction on “Obstruction of Governmental Administration”
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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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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 O’Hara v. City of New York et al. (Summary Order dated June 18, 2014), the Second Circuit upheld a jury’s verdict that defendant police officer (McAvoy) used excessive force in arresting plaintiff (O’Hara) in violation of the Fourth Amendment (asserted through 42 USC 1983) and committed state-law battery. It held: [I]f we assume, as…

Read More Second Circuit Upholds Jury Verdict that Repeatedly Punching Unarmed, Non-Menacing Teenager is Excessive Force
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White Castle can’t buy advertising like this. Below is a recent federal complaint, in which plaintiffs allege that they were arrested and struck by NYPD officers after refusing the officers’ demand for their White Castle food. According to a recent Gothamist article: Brooklyn residents Danny Maisonet and Kenneth Glover say that they procured White Castle meals on Halloween 2012…

Read More Lawsuit Alleges NYPD Officers Subjected Men to False Arrest and Police Brutality For Refusing to Hand Over White Castle Food
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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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