This is one of four ongoing cases challenging the constitutionality of the New York Police Department's "Stop and Frisk" program. See: Floyd v. City of New York (PN-NY-0009
); Daniels v. City of New York (PN-NY-0010
); and Ligon v. City of New York (PN-NY-0014
On January 28, 2010, the plaintiffs filed this class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the City of New York and the New York City Housing Authority. The plaintiffs included Black and Latino New York City Housing Authority tenants and their guests who were arrested while visiting. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, the Legal Aid Society, and the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, asked the court for declaratory and injunctive relief as well as compensatory damages and attorney's fees and costs.
The plaintiffs claimed continuing violations of their rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983; 42 U.S.C. § 1981; the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(d); the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq.; the United States Housing Act, 42, U.S.C. § 1437, et seq.; the Constitution and laws of the state of New York; and the New York City Human Rights Law.
Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the City of New York and the New York City Housing Authority ("NYCHA"), through the New York City Police Department ("NYPD"), maintained an unlawful patrol and trespass arrest policy that resulted in a pattern and practice of illegal stops, seizures, questioning, searches, and false arrests of residents of, and authorized visitors to, NYCHA residences. The NYPD conducted vertical patrols, which are top-to-bottom walk-through patrols or "sweeps" of hallways, stairwells, rooftops and landings, elevators, and other common areas of a NYCHA residence. The complaint alleged that the police stopped and questioned residents and their visitors without objective individualized suspicion of crime and unlawfully arrested them for trespass without probable cause. The plaintiffs further alleged that the trespass laws were being enforced in and around NYCHA residences on the basis of race, ethnicity, and/or national origin in an intentionally discriminatory manner, because the patrols focused on NYCHA residences that were predominantly African American and Latino.
According to the complaint, at least one resident of the building was arrested for "trespass" (although charges against him were never prosecuted). Numerous plaintiffs who were arrested for trespass while visiting building residents suffered negative employment effects due to their arrest and detention, including missed job interviews, suspension or limitation of employment, or full termination.
Nine of the original eighteen plaintiffs accepted Rule 68 offers for settlement. (Four accepted on October 4, 2010 and five accepted on December 20, 2010).
On May 4, 2011, the Court (Judge Shira A. Scheindlin) issued an order compelling the city to provide documents for discovery. Davis v. City of New York, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48395, 2011 WL 1742748 (S.D.N.Y. May 4, 2011). The Court ordered the City to produce documents characterized as "drafts of the training curriculum/training scenarios" and as "deliberations about substantiated CCRB complaints concerning the legality of stops and arrests on NYCHA properties," and to submit a more detailed privilege log with respect to other documents.
On July 5, 2011, the Judge Scheindlin denied the defendant's motion for summary judgment. Davis v. City of New York, 812 F. Supp. 2d 333, 334 (S.D.N.Y. 2011). On October 17, 2011, Judge Scheindlin awarded attorneys' fees and costs to those plaintiffs who had accepted settlement offers. Davis v. City of New York, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120165, 2011 WL 4946243 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 17, 2011).
Discovery battles ensued, and, in several opinions, Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman further compelled production of documents and Judge Scheindlin compelled the appearance of an Integrity Control Officer for deposition.
On October 4, 2012, Judge Scheindlin granted in part and denied in part defendants' motions for summary judgment. Davis v. City of New York, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144040, 2012 WL 4761494 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 4, 2012). This opinion adjudicated only the individual circumstances of plaintiffs' arrests and tenancies; it did not adjudicate defendants' practices and policies. It it very detailed and takes a scalpel to parts of the claims and to the list of defendants who can press each claim, but leaves much intact for trial. The Court did not rule definitively on the Equal Protection claims against the City, the Title VI claims, the Fair Housing Act claims, the state and city law claims against NYCHA, nor the United States Housing Act claim against NYCHA because those issues required further briefing. The Court granted summary judgment in favor of NYCHA regarding the equal protection claims (because plaintiffs did not show that NYCHA was liable for the arrests), to the City on state and city human rights law violations, and to defendants on the substantive due process claims (because the Court found them duplicative). The court denied summary judgment on § 1981 claims regarding two plaintiffs and denied summary judgment on plaintiff's request for injunctive relief.
On March 28, 2013, Judge Scheindlin granted in part and denied in part defendants motions for summary judgement. This opinion granted NYCHA's motion for summary judgement on all remaining NYSC claims as well as granting summary judgement on the remaining race discrimination claims. The Court denied summary judgment on section 1981, FHA, Fourth Amendment, Equal Protection, and USHA claims. 959 F.Supp.2d 324.
On August 29, 2013, Judge Scheindlin certified the "Stopped Class" and "Resident Class" under Rule 23(b)(2). 2013 WL 4712501. The parties entered in settlement talks. After two years, the parties finally reached a settlement agreement in January 2015. The NYPD agreed to revise their Patrol Guide on vertical (or interior) patrols in NYC public housing and the related NYPD training materials regarding vertical patrols and enforcement of NYCHA rules. The settlement also imposed a documentation requirement for all trespass arrests in NYC public housing, and modified certain NYCHA rules concerning residents’ cooperation with police and the prohibited activity of “lingering.”
Upon final court approval, the Davis case would become part of the court monitoring process that was ordered in the lawsuit that successfully challenged the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies (Floyd v. City of New York). This settlement would be overseen by the monitor as the one in Floyd and Ligon.
On April 28, 2015, the court approved the settlement and retained jurisdiction of the case to enforce the settlement. On this day, the case was also transferred to Judge Torres, who was in charge of the other stop-and-frisk cases. See Ligon
for the monitoring proceedings of the settlement agreements.Emily Goldman - 10/21/2012
Andrew Steiger - 01/28/2014
Jessica Kincaid - 04/01/2016