Qualified Immunity

In Olenick v. City of N.Y., No. 23466/11, 2017 WL 1743179 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Kings Cty. May 4, 2017) – a personal injury case by a bicyclist injured when a pedestrian stepped into his path on the Brooklyn Bridge – the court denied the City’s motion for summary judgment and to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint. By its…

Read More Brooklyn Bridge Cyclist Injury Lawsuit Proceeds Against City; Jury to Determine Whether City’s Failure to Conduct Safety Study Contributed to Plaintiff’s Accident
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In Kennedy v. NYS, 14-CV-990S, NYLJ 1202751641711 (WDNY Mar. 3, 2016), the Western District of New York held that plaintiff – a member of NYS Assembly Member Dennis Gabryszak’s staff – plausibly alleged hostile work environment sexual harassment against Mr. Gabryszak under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and therefore denied defendants’ motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ.…

Read More Assembly Staff Member Sufficiently Alleges § 1983 Sexual Harassment Claim Against Dennis Gabryszak
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In Graham v. City of New York, No. 08-CV-3518 MKB, 2015 WL 5258741 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 10, 2015), the court upheld a jury verdict that NYPD officers falsely arrested the plaintiff for “obstructing governmental administration” in violation of NY Penal Law § 195.05. Here is plaintiff’s complaint. This case arose from a factual scenario that could…

Read More Court Explains Reasons for Upholding $150,000 False Arrest Jury Verdict
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Here is the recent decision in Barboza v. D’Agata, SDNY 13-cv-4067 (9/10/15) in which Judge Seibel ruled on the parties’ summary judgment motions. In this case, plaintiff alleged in his federal lawsuit that his arrest under (now unconstitutional) NY Penal Law § 240.30(1) for writing “fuck your shitty town bitches” on a speeding ticket payment form violated his constitutional…

Read More “Fuck Your Shitty Town Bitches” False Arrest/First Amendment Case Proceeds to Trial
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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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In Lane v. Franks, decided June 19, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court (per Justice Sotomayor) squarely held that the First Amendment protects a public employee who provides truthful sworn testimony, compelled by subpoena, outside the scope of his ordinary job responsibilities.  In upholding petitioner Lane’s retaliatory termination claim, the Court applied its precedents, including Pickering v. Bd.…

Read More SCOTUS Holds That Public Employee’s Sworn Testimony Was Protected by First Amendment
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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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In Betts v. Shearman et al, decided May 2, 2014, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s claims for false arrest and malicious prosecution arising from his wife’s an encounter in which, he claims, his wife falsely accused him of assaulting her. Plaintiff alleged the following: On January 20, 2011 at approximately 11:30 p.m., while…

Read More Complaining Victim’s Allegedly False Accusation of Assault Insufficient to Establish False Arrest Claim
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Recently, in Askins v. NYC, the Second Circuit explained the relationship between the liability of individual police officers, on the one hand, and that of a municipality (such as the City of New York), on the other. Specifically, it held that the dismissal of claims against individual police officers on qualified immunity and statute of…

Read More Second Circuit: Plaintiff Can Assert Municipal Liability Claims Even if Officers Have Qualified Immunity
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