Last Updated:
May 28, 2015 5:22 PM

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MSSSV Secures Defense Verdicts in Excessive Force Case
In Cummings v. Village of Port Chester, MSSSV Westchester partner Rich Sklarin success fully tried an excessive force case twice to fully vindicate several officers and the Village’s Police Department. After a motion for summary judgment at the close of discovery dismissed most of plaintiff’s claims, a jury still had to determine whether the use of a taser to bring the plaintiff into custody was reasonable under the circumstances. During the first Southern District trial in 2014 before Magistrate Smith in White Plains, the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of 2 of the 3 individually named police officers. However, the jury deadlocked after 2 full days of deliberation over whether the third Village officer, who had actually utilized the taser to effectuate plaintiff’s arrest, had used reasonable force. The case was re-tried in February, 2015 before Magistrate Smith and, following a 4 day trial, the jury rendered a unanimous defense verdict in just over an hour in favor of the third officer. [More]

MSSSV Wins Police Excessive Force Case
In Gomez v. Village of Sleepy Hollow, Southern District Magistrate Judge Judith C. McCarthy granted the Village summary judgment in this police excessive force case. The husband and wife Plaintiffs alleged that they were tasered multiple times by several police officers, as well as being punched and kicked in the face and head while handcuffed. Plaintiffs alleged improper training, failure to supervise and the existence of a pattern of excessive force by the Sleepy Hollow Police Department. To support his claim, plaintiff pointed to ten (10) incidents involving one of the police officers in question. In granting the Village summary judgment, MSSSV convinced the Court that plaintiff failed to establish deliberate indifference by the Police Department towards the use of force by its police officers. Sleepy Hollow provided use of force training and annual taser training to its police officers. So too, MSSSV was able to distinguish the other alleged incidents raised by plaintiff in support of his claim. In this regard, the Court agreed with our position that the alleged incidents of excessive force that occurred after the incident with the plaintiff could not be used to establish the requisite policy. Further, the Court also adopted our position that off-duty incidents of police officers could not be used to establish a policy. Further, as the Police Department investigated the remaining incidents and found them to be without merit. [More]
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