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Arrest violated police protocol, plaintiff claimed

Amount:

$75,000

Type:

Verdict-Mixed

State:

New York

Venue:

Westchester County

Court:

Westchester Supreme

Injury Type(s):

mental/psychological-emotional distress

Case Type:

Government - Police, Municipalities; Intentional Torts - False Arrest

Case Name:

Jodi A. Faulkner v. City of Yonkers John Darcy and Paul Faulkner, No. 20679/08

Date:

November 21, 2013

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Jodi A. Faulkner (Female, 35 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Bruno Gioffre; Purchase, NY, for Jodi A. Faulkner

Defendant(s):

John Darcy, 

Paul Faulkner, 

City of Yonkers

Defense Attorney(s):

John J. Phelan; Mead, Hecht, Conklin & Gallagher, LLP; White Plains, NY, for City of Yonkers ■ Stephen A. Cerrato; McGoey & Cerrato, P.C.; White Plains, NY, for John Darcy, Paul Faulkner ■ None reported; Garden City, NY, for John Darcy

Facts:

On Sept. 28, 2007, plaintiff Jodi Faulkner, 35, an attorney, became involved in an altercation with her husband, Paul Faulkner. The incident occurred in the couple's Yonkers home. During the altercation, Ms. Faulkner summoned police officers. Meanwhile, Mr. Faulkner telephoned his boss, John Darcy. Police officers arrived, and Ms. Faulkner was arrested. She received a charge of second-degree harassment, but the charge was ultimately dismissed. Ms. Faulkner sued her husband, Darcy, and the arresting officer's employer, the city of Yonkers. Faulkner alleged that she was falsely arrested, that the city of Yonkers was vicariously liable for the arresting officer's actions, and that her husband, acting according to Darcy's directions, provided false information that led to her arrest. Darcy was dismissed via summary judgment. The matter proceeded to a trial against Mr. Faulkner and the city of Yonkers. Ms. Faulkner claimed that her arrest was based on her husband's claim that she had hit him. She denied having done so, and she claimed that Darcy instructed her husband to claim that he had been struck. She further claimed that her husband pushed her and that the police officer did not adequately investigate the matter to determine which party was the aggressor. As such, plaintiff's counsel argued that the arrest was not supported by probable cause. Plaintiff's counsel also contended that the police officer violated procedural law by arresting Ms. Faulkner for harassment that was alleged to have occurred outside of the officer's presence. He further contended that the officer violated a departmental policy by interviewing Mr. Faulkner before speaking to Ms. Faulkner. The city's counsel contended that Mr. Faulkner displayed a scratch of his neck and that the wound provided probable cause for a charge of harassment.

Injury:

Ms. Faulkner claimed that she was falsely arrested. At the time of the arrest, she was seeking election to a local councilman's position. She claimed that the arrest damaged her reputation and doomed her political aspirations. She also claimed that she suffered embarrassment, emotional distress and humiliation. She sought recovery of general damages. Defense counsel contended that Ms. Faulkner experienced nothing more than nominal damages.

Result:

The jury found that Ms. Faulkner was falsely arrested. The city was deemed entirely liable for the arrest, so liability was not assigned to Mr. Faulkner. The jury determined that Ms. Faulkner's damages totaled $75,000.

Trial Information:

Judge:

Sam D. Walker

Trial Length:

6  days

Trial Deliberations:

8  hours

Jury Vote:

5-1

Jury Composition:

4 male/ 2 female

Editor's Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff's counsel, Paul Faulkner's counsel and the city of Yonkers' counsel. Additional information was gleaned from court documents. Darcy's counsel was not asked to contribute.