Suit Against NYS Dismissed After Trial In Court Of Claims

December 2011

BPS Litigation Partner Vincent Crowe prevailed after trial in an action alleging that excessive force was utilized during the course of claimant’s arrest at Empire City Casino.  Claimant asserted assault and battery against a New York State police investigator arising out of an incident of September 12, 2007, where he was arrested and charged with menacing, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

The Court analyzed plaintiff’s claim under the standard of objective reasonableness deriving from the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protection against unreasonable seizures of the person.  Mr. Crowe introduced expert testimony that the State Police Investigator acted in accordance with proper police practice and procedure in arresting claimant, and in the amount of force used in making the arrest.

Court of Claims Judge Stephen Mignano concluded that claimant’s testimony that the plainclothes officer did not identify himself as a police officer prior to his use of force became “murky” upon cross examination.  The Judge also noted that claimant’s testimony was evasive, and the probative value of claimant’s testimony was minimized by his demeanor on the stand, and his announcement, while being cross examined that “he had answered enough questions.”  The Court adopted Bleakley Platt & Schmidt’s arguments and dismissed the case.
[Link to case.]