NYPD Civil Rights 1983 Plan to Continue In SDNY Through 2014

nypd and civil rights

In June 2011, the Southern District of New York launched a pilot plan to encourage the settlement of federal civil rights cases against NYPD, which became effective in January, 2012. It has just been announced in the New York Law Journal that after meager revisions, it will be extended for another year through 2014.

The “1983 Plan” applies solely to civil rights lawsuits against NYPD in the Southern District of New York and amends the timeframe requirements of both parties in federal civil rights lawsuits. Whereas the City previously had 21 days to answer a complaint, the plan extends the time to answer to 80 days. Then, within 6 weeks of receiving an answer from the City, plaintiffs must file a settlement demand to which the City must respond within 14 days. Most significantly, a majority of the discovery process is postponed until after both parties appear before a mediator or magistrate to discuss the settlement; all of which must be done within 3 months after the defendants file an answer.

Due to the high volume of suits filed against NYPD - New York City’s Law Department is currently defending 1,600 police misconduct cases - the plan is aimed at reducing the court docket and accelerating the resolution of these types of cases. According to the New York Law Journal, the plan has already “resulted in the settlement of 70 percent of plan-eligible cases in the first 6 months after the filing of a complaint.”

Yet, not all are optimistic nor impressed with the pilot plan. Many civil rights attorneys criticize the plan for its bias requirement that the plaintiff must provide a release for medical records, a release for sealed arrest records, and a list of prior arrests, in conjunction with the complaint while the requirement for the City to serve a release for similar records is a lengthy 28 days.

The most critical complaint is that the Southern District’s plan essentially changes the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which it’s not only unauthorized to do, but also leaves the plaintiff at an undeniably severe disadvantage.

If you feel you have been denied your civil rights by the NYPD and you want to file a complaint, please contact us for a free consultation.