University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Padilla v. City of New York PN-NY-0039
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-00076-MKB-RER ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On January 4, 2013, plaintiff, a legal resident of Kings County, New York of Mexican descent, filed a lawsuit against the City of New York and a number of police officers, in the Eastern District of New York under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, claimed that police ... read more >
On January 4, 2013, plaintiff, a legal resident of Kings County, New York of Mexican descent, filed a lawsuit against the City of New York and a number of police officers, in the Eastern District of New York under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, claimed that police officers had engaged in a joint venture and had formed an agreement to violate plaintiff's rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment by refusing to take her statement and arresting her without probable cause. Plaintiff sought compensatory damages, punitive damages, reasonable attorney's fees.

Specifically, plaintiff had called the police after her boyfriend had physically and verbally abused her. Plaintiff speaks fluent Spanish but only limited English. When the police officers arrived, they spoke only with the plaintiff's boyfriend, who speaks English proficiently, and ignored plaintiff's Spanish requests for help. Plaintiff called the police department again and specifically asked for an officer who spoke Spanish. The department dispatched another officer. When this officer arrived, he listened to plaintiff's statement, but quickly claimed that he needed to leave and that the other officers would take her report. Plaintiff called the department a third time and asked for a high ranking officer who might be able to help her. Shortly thereafter a third officer arrived and arrested plaintiff. She was brought to the precinct and put in a cell. However, upon examination, one of the officers identified the bruises on her body as domestic abuse and took plaintiff to get treatment. At the hospital, plaintiff was handcuffed to the bed. After treatment, plaintiff was brought back to the precinct where she was released without explanation.

On September 12, 2013, plaintiff filed a first amended complaint. The complaint added, as plaintiffs, a number of New York residents that had been denied police assistance based on their limited English proficiency (LEP). They claimed that the New York Police Department (NYPD) had a policy and practice of denying LEP individuals access to police protection and the broader legal system. The complaint also added the New York City Police Department, as well as a number of named police officers, to the list of defendants. Plaintiffs sought declaratory relief, a permanent injunction, and renewed their requests for damages. On September 12, 2013, plaintiff filed a second amended complaint which joined additional plaintiffs.

On September 23, 2013, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss. On November 22, 2013, the United States filed a statement of interest regarding the defendants' motion. The United States noted that language-based discrimination is prohibited by Title VI and that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has consistently found evidence of this type of discrimination. It further noted that that DOJ had made the NYPD aware of the continuing problems in interviewing LEP witnesses and victims, and that this may be proof of an intent to discriminate.

Discovery has been taking place during 2014. As of November 28, 2014, there have been no updates.

Richard Jolly - 11/28/2014

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Language discrimination
National origin discrimination
Communication skills
Disparate Treatment
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of New York
The New York City Police Department
Plaintiff Description A small group of New York residents with Limited English Proficiency
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
Citation: Forthcoming, 87 Washington L. Rev. __ (2012).
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Written: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

1:13-cv-76 (E.D.N.Y.) 12/19/2014
PN-NY-0039-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Jury Demand 12/28/2012
PN-NY-0039-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial 09/12/2013
PN-NY-0039-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement of Interest of the United States of America Regarding Defendants' Motion to Dismiss 11/22/2013
PN-NY-0039-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Brodie, Margo Kitsy (E.D.N.Y.)
Reyes, Ramon E. Jr. (E.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brinckerhoff, Matthew D. (New York)
Goldhill, Nancy (New York)
Josephson, Edward J. (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0002 | PN-NY-0039-9000
Lamb, Christopher D. (New York)
Mindicino, Nicholas Henry (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0001 | PN-NY-0039-9000
Taylor, Amy S. (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0002 | PN-NY-0039-9000
Taylor, Stephanie (New York)
Defendant's Lawyers Abt, Uriel Benjamin (New York)
Birnbaum, Janice L. (New York)
Kruk, Carolyn Elizabeth (New York)
Other Lawyers Coon, Laura (District of Columbia)
Goldberger, Michael J. (New York)
Kabrawala, Ameet B. (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0003 | PN-NY-0039-9000
Lareau, Alyssa Connell (District of Columbia)
Lynch, Loretta (New York)
Mondino, Jennifer L. (District of Columbia)
Mule, Michael (District of Columbia)
Naqvi, Kulsoom (District of Columbia)
Samuels, Jocelyn (District of Columbia)
Stoneman, Christine (District of Columbia)
Venkatraman, Bharathi A. (District of Columbia)

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