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Qualified Immunity

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]