A man was driving an SUV on Oyster Bay Expressway on January 27, 1993. He was in the left lane and a red Camaro came up behind him. The Camaro flashed his headlights on high beam at him. The SUV stayed put on the left lane. The Camaro then came up on the right lane and pulled alongside the SUV. The Camaro cut off the SUV.
The SUV was startled, he left the left land and went to the center lane. Again the Camaro pulled alongside the SUV. The driver of the SUV thought he was being carjacked so he veered away from the Camaro. The Camaro was persistent. The SUV made contact with the Camaro’s fender.
The SUV driver was now in full panic that he made an illegal U-turn on the Expressway. The Camaro followed him and flashed a badge. The Camaro tried to force the SUV off the road. It was only then that the SUV driver saw clearly that the driver of the Camaro was flashing a badge. The SUV immediately pulled over.
As soon as the SUV pulled over, the Camaro driver also parked in front of his SUV. The officer got down and punched the SUV driver through his open window. The Camaro driver then opened the car door and pulled the SUV driver by the collar and punched him several more times demanding from the SUV driver that he pay for the damage he had done to his Camaro.
At that time that the officer was punching him, the SUV driver noted that the police officer smelled of alcohol. A few minutes later, two other officers, friends of the Camaro driver also came up and handcuffed the SUV driver. They arrested him for drunk driving. They took his wallet and they also took some of his credit cards. He later reported his credit cards as stolen and repudiated the illegal charges made on those credit cards for drinks that the Transit Authority officers ordered and bought at several bars that night of the incident.
The SUV driver tried asking the officers for their names but they wouldn’t give him their names. He also asked which precinct they worked for but the officers did not say either.
The SUV driver filed a complaint with the New York Transit Authority alleging illegal arrest and assault against the Transit Authority officers particularly the Camaro driver. During the investigation, the police officers all said the same thing: that they observed the SUV driver to be weaving in traffic, that he was veering left and right, unable to stick to one lane. They also said that the SUV driver kept on hitting his brakes. They said that it was the SUV that pulled into the lane occupied by the red Camaro which was why the vehicles grazed each other. All the officers averred that the SUV driver refused to pull over which rendered it necessary for the officers to give chase to the SUV flashing their badges until it stopped.
The SUV driver from Staten Island filed a case in damages against the Transit Authority officers and the Transit Authority. He claimed that the officers abused their authority and committed these acts in their official capacity. The Transit Authority filed for summary judgment asking a dismissal of the complaint on the ground that the officers acted in their personal capacity and not in their official capacity when they did those acts. The employer is only liable for the acts and omissions of its employees when they are acting on orders of the employer, or when they are acting in furtherance of the will of their employer; or when their acts are within the scope of their employment.
The only question before the Court is whether or not the Transit Authority’s motion for summary judgment should be granted.
The Court in Queens held that the Transit Authority officers were off-duty at the time of the incident and they were not in uniform or doing anything that is within the scope of their employment and thus their employer, the Transit Authority, cannot be made liable for their acts and omissions.
The Court also held that the version of the SUV driver is more credible because the Transit Authority officers never reported the alleged drunk driving of the SUV driver to the New York State Police.
Were you also assaulted by a police officer consequent to a traffic accident or traffic altercation? Were you falsely arrested? Before you file a case for damages against the police officer and the police department, consider seeking the advice of a Nassau Car Accident Lawyer. You need the advice and representation of a Nassau Car Accident attorney who can tell you if you can viably sue the police department as well. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, their Nassau Car Accident lawyers are ready and willing to confer with you and to advice you as to your legal options. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates today, speak to any of their Nassau Car Accident attorneys today,