NYC Sanctioned for Not Turning Over Interview With Alleged Victim

By Michael Joseph on September 06, 2018

Our New York City criminal defense and police misconduct lawyers routinely engage in discovery disputes and fight the efforts of various municipalities who try to stonewall our attroneys from getting information, which helps our cases. New York City has been hit with sanctions for failing to turn over evidence related to a civil lawsuit alleging several police officers used excessive force during a 2014 arrest.

On June 28, 2018, U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto of the Eastern District of New York granted plaintiff Allen Brown’s motion seeking sanctions after the city failed to timely turn over an audio recording taken by the police department’s Internal Affairs Bureau. The defendants said the file was “inadvertently” not turned over, but did not explain further why the recording were not uploaded to the IAB file. This is not uncommon as the City often fights and delays providing discovery to Plaintiffs in police misconduct cases. The ruling means the city is barred from using both the audio recording and Brown’s original deposition, which was conducted without having that recording first. The ruling also means that the city must pay Brown’s attorney fees in connection with litigating the sanctions issue.

Although the city contended that the conduct did not rise to the level of sanctions, the Court disagreed on the basis that the delay was “unjustified.”

Even though Brown’s Attorney, did not immediately have a specific estimate for how much the city will have to pay in attorney fees as a result of the ruling, but said the award should far exceed the $20,001 that the city offered to settle the case.

Based on this record, the defendants’ actions are, at a minimum, negligent if not grossly negligent. It is well established that sanctions may be imposed on a party of counsel who deliberately fails to comply with a court order.

Our Westchester and New York Police misconduct Lawyers believe that it is evident that defendants’ remarkable negligence in meeting their discovery obligations led to unjustified delay, prejudice and additional costs to plaintiff. This type of conduct is unfortunately a pattern of behavior that is all too common. The attorneys for the police always try to stonewall discovery in an effort to keep New York lawyers who are handling false arrest, malicious prosecution, and excessive force cases from getting to the truth.

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