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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 Legal Services/Legal Aid
U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On January 4, 2013, a resident of Kings County, New York of Mexican descent, filed a complaint against the City of New York and a number of police officers in the Eastern District of New York. The plaintiff, represented by Legal Services and private counsel, brought this claim under 42 U.S.C. § 198 ... read more >
On January 4, 2013, a resident of Kings County, New York of Mexican descent, filed a complaint against the City of New York and a number of police officers in the Eastern District of New York. The plaintiff, represented by Legal Services and private counsel, brought this claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that police officers had violated her 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 damages. On September 12, 2013, plaintiff filed a second amended complaint that 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) had 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.

On April 25, 2014, the parties requested that the court adjourn the oral argument on the defendants' motion to dismiss scheduled for May 1, 2014 and that discovery be stayed to permit the parties to try to resolve the case. The plaintiffs also requested that an additional plaintiff be allowed to intervene, a request the defendants did not oppose. On April 28, 2014, the court (Judge Margo K. Brodie) granted the motion to stay discovery, and granted the plaintiffs' request to join another plaintiff. The plaintiffs filed a supplement to the second amended complaint on May 2, 2014. The parties began settlement discussions, in which the DOJ was included.

On October 7, 2014, the parties wrote to the court proposing an order allowing six new plaintiffs to be joined in a proposed third amended complaint. Magistrate Judge Reyes granted this request the next day.

Settlement discussions continued over the course of 2015 and 2016. On June 20, 2016, the parties agreed to the voluntary dismissal of the claims of one of the plaintiffs, and Judge Brodie ordered the dismissal the next day.

On August 3, 2016, the plaintiffs in another case before the Eastern District of New York involving the City's failure to provide interpretive services to LEP individuals, Rodriguez v. City of New York 16-cv-00214, requested the consolidation of that action with this case. Judge Brodie denied the motion on August 19, 2016.

On December 12, 2016, the parties informed the court that they had reached agreement on provisions of a settlement regarding the revision of NYPD's language access procedures, but had not reached agreement regarding monetary damages. On January 27, 2017, the parties informed the court that they had reached a settlement agreement with respect to all the plaintiffs' claims for damages and injunctive relief.

The parties submitted the settlement agreement to the court on May 18, 2017. The settlement included specific procedures for a domestic violence (DV) language access program, including NYPD provision of cell phones with which officers could access a telephonic interpretation service. The NYPD was to implement the DV language access program citywide across all patrol boroughs and engage in targeted outreach about the availability of foreign language interpretation services to LEP communities and community-based organizations. The agreement also provided for training of NYPD employees, and revision of NYPD policies, procedures, and training materials to reflect the language access programs. The City of New York, on behalf of all defendants, agreed to pay $297,500 in damages to be distributed among the plaintiffs. The defendants also paid $460,000 in attorney fees.

The court's jurisdiction over all individual defendants, except the City of New York, would terminate with the payment of the damages and fees. The court's jurisdiction over the settlement agreement's injunctive obligations would terminate twelve months after the "citywide expansion date," the date that the DV language access program was expanded citywide to all patrol boroughs, which was to be no more than eighteen months after the effective date of the settlement. The defendants had reporting obligations during this period.

The court (Judge Brodie) entered the stipulation and order of settlement and dismissal of the case on May 24, 2017.

On July 10, 2018, the parties submitted a proposed stipulation and order of settlement extension, having agreed to extend the court's jurisdiction over the settlement agreement. The parties proposed amendments to the settlement agreement to set a termination date of April 15, 2019. Judge Brodie ordered the settlement extension on July 11, 2018.

This case is ongoing as the parties continue to implement the settlement agreement.

Richard Jolly - 11/28/2014
Sarah McDonald - 08/13/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Language discrimination
National origin discrimination
Communication skills
Disparate Treatment
Failure to train
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Pattern or Practice
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
National Origin/Ethnicity
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
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 Legal Services/Legal Aid
U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2017 - 2019
Filing Year 2013
Case Ongoing Yes
1:13-cv-76 (E.D.N.Y.)
PN-NY-0039-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/12/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Jury Demand [ECF# 1]
PN-NY-0039-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/28/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial [ECF# 33]
PN-NY-0039-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/12/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Statement of Interest of the United States of America Regarding Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 41]
PN-NY-0039-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/22/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Proposed Third Amended Complaint [ECF# 60-2]
PN-NY-0039-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/07/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation and Order of Settlement [ECF# 81] (E.D.N.Y.)
PN-NY-0039-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Brodie, Margo Kitsy (E.D.N.Y.)
PN-NY-0039-0005 | PN-NY-0039-9000
Reyes, Ramon E. Jr. (E.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brinckerhoff, Matthew D. (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0004 | PN-NY-0039-9000
Clarke, Christine (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0005 | PN-NY-0039-9000
Goldhill, Nancy (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0002 | PN-NY-0039-0004
Josephson, Edward J. (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0002 | PN-NY-0039-0004 | PN-NY-0039-0005 | PN-NY-0039-9000
Lamb, Christopher D. (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0002 | PN-NY-0039-0004
McCasland, Terrell Howard (New York)
Mindicino, Nicholas Henry (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0001 | PN-NY-0039-9000
Taylor, Stephanie (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0002 | PN-NY-0039-0004
Taylor, Amy S. (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0002 | PN-NY-0039-0004 | PN-NY-0039-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Abt, Uriel Benjamin (New York)
Birnbaum, Janice L. (New York)
Carter, Zachary W. (New York)
Kruk, Carolyn Elizabeth (New York)
PN-NY-0039-0005 | PN-NY-0039-9000
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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