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How much would be a reasonable damage

Discussion in 'Small Claims & Municipal Court' started by Guerilla Esparza, Jan 14, 2021.

  1. Guerilla Esparza

    Guerilla Esparza Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    Hello

    I believe that I was a victim of bias policing by the dhs police and I was going to file a civil claim. I was curious on what would be a reasonable damage to sue for. I would like to sue for the maximum as a moral ideology to teach the officers that there is consequences for there actions so I was curious what everyone else thinks is the reasonable action. Below I will give a brief explanation of my case as well as evidence.

    So I had been being harrased by a racist black individual. Evidence of the individual being racist were made when he advised another black individual who I was having a conversation with that I was a racist despite race never being brought up before. The individual had made threats multiple times and had approached me on multiple different occasions Including following me on the bus at several points. I had made multiple complaints and the police did nothing. He is in violation of the harrasment in the second degree one day I had had enough and demanded that the police take action I read up on the law and had a sergeant read the law and he did nothing it was at this time that another racist Latino (I'm latino by the way but many latinos in NYC have a bias on what latinos are supposed to look like) who was seeking entrance into the shelter began harrasing me I was talking with another shelter resident and the individual demanded that I stop talking and approached me multiple times. Eventually i had enough and asked why he is bothering me I'm just a Taino talking with someone he made it very clear that I am not Taino and threatened to assault me. This all happened infront of the officers who responded by stating that i'm the problem. The individual got up and approached me and reached in his pants the police intervened and arrested me which I believe was because if he cut me or shot me they would be in big trouble because they are supposed to make sure that weapons are not brought into the shelter. They arrested me and in the process broke a laptop in my backpack when they threw it on the floor the laptop totals 300$. Also they admitted me into a mental hospital but I was immediately discharged because they couldn't give the staff a reason. Because the time I was in the hospital was around bed signing I lost my bed and was forced to walk the street for 8 hours and I wasn't able to sleep for 48 hours. I returned after walking the streets and was admitted to the hospital a second time by the same sgt because his subordinate told him I was harrasing staff for voicing my opinion of how I was being treated. The last day I was at the shelter that same subordinate tried to do the same thing again because I was standing in front of the staff counter but left me alone after one of the staff said I was okay.

    So basically I was sueing for the
    300$ Laptop
    And emotional distress from feeling unsafe, being kept awake for 48 hours, and fearing that If I talk with shelter staff or say anything bad about them I may be admitted into a psych ward. What do you think would be a proper price for this emotional distress
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    A gazillion trillion dollars.
     
  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I don't know what the "dhs police" refers to. In this context, the most logical meaning of the acronym "DHS" would be Department of Human Services, but there are probably at least a dozen other reasonable possibilities. However, New York City does not have a Department of Human Services. It has a Department of Social Services. In any event, outside of the Department of Homeland Security, I doubt any agency called DHS has its own police force.

    Maybe what happened is that the NYPD arrested you as the behest of the Department of Social Services.

    In any event, if you believe something illegal happened, consult with a local civil rights attorney. One of the many things that attorney will tell you is that you don't just make up a number for damages. Hence, "Zigner's" response, while absurd on its face, is as good as any other response you might receive.
     
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  4. Guerilla Esparza

    Guerilla Esparza Law Topic Starter New Member

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    DHS stands for Department of Homeless Services.
     
  5. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    OK. Again, you'll need to consult with a civil rights attorney to determine if your claim for damages resulting from what you allege to be an improper arrest is worth pursuing.
     
  7. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    The Department of Homeless Services is a New York City (NYC) agency that provides homeless services but does not have its own police. NYC police would respond to any need the Department had for police services. In any event, if you have a good claim here it would be against the city itself.

    You don't get to just make up a damage amount. You don't get to sue for damages for "moral ideology" or to teach anyone a lesson. You will only get awarded compensation for the actual damages (e.g. financial harm, disability, etc) that you suffered as a result of any action of the cops that violated your rights. Emotional distress damages are only awarded in very limited circumstances and your facts do not suggest your situation falls into those circumstances. So I don't see you getting any kind of big payday out of this with the facts given, if you get anything at all.

    As the claim would be against the city it's not the officers directly that would be impacted by your lawsuit anyway, so teaching them a lesson really isn't something you'd achieve here.

    I'm also going to guess that there is a lot more to this story you haven't said, and in particular your facts are pretty silent on what YOU were doing in this dispute with the other shelter occupant. Police don't generally arrest you for no reason. So I'm going to guess that they believed you were causing some sort of disturbance or threat to which they needed to respond. In any event, whether you have a good claim here depends a great deal on the exact facts of what went on here and your role in it as that is important to establish whether the officers had the necessary legal cause to take you into custody.

    I agree with the previous response that you should consult a civil rights lawyer. Provide him/her with ALL the facts (don't leave out anything) for advice on whether you've got something worth pursuing.
     
  8. Guerilla Esparza

    Guerilla Esparza Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I might be wrong but I swear that you have commented on my threads before this is another account I had to make because I can't get into my account. You never read my threads and you always comment with the same stuff the facts don't entitled you to insert here and I'm lead to believe that there is more to the facts then you let on and police don't just do (insert thing here). You don't know these police and I just learn something by looking at the Wikipedia article of the DHS police (despite what you think the DHS police actually have a police force). The officers detained me and never arrested me or so they claim I'm going to have to read up on the NYC law regarding arrest vs detainment according to the Wikipedia article DHS police do not have the authority to make an arrest or detainment and can only give me a criminal summons. Again I have to read the law but I'm simply calling you out because you have no idea what I'm talking about and if what I'm saying is true I am entitled to emotional distress because I was hurt for no good reason they didn't even make up a story to the psych team in the hospital and simply told them that I was there for nothing or so I was told if the officers lack the ability to detain me then that goes further into my case. I know that I can't Sue for a moral ideology I get that that is the whole point of the question read.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  9. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    1. Believing that Wikipedia is always accurate is foolish.
    2. Tax Counsel is an attorney.
    3. You were advised by several volunteers, including Tax Counsel, to seek the advice of a local Civil Rights Attorney.
     
  10. Guerilla Esparza

    Guerilla Esparza Law Topic Starter New Member

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    and then there is you yup same people I won't humor you since I know you only read the post of long time users.
     
  11. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    I read the posts of many of the members here, including new members.
     
  12. Guerilla Esparza

    Guerilla Esparza Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Your friend is tried to give me false information he stated that there is no DHS police force and that they would call the NYPD if they needed police. This is false because I went the the precinct that is in charge of randals island and they said that they have no jurisdiction over gay loop now they are probably lying because the DHS police aren't armed so they may need to step in if there is a violent resident but they have patches and shields so your attorney buddy doesn't know what he is talking about.
     
  13. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Again, as everyone has advised, take your proof to a Civil Rights Attorney and discuss the possibility of a suit with them.

    civil rights attorneys in new york city - Google Search

    Home Page - New York State Bar Association

    The New York Bar Association will give you referrals and you will likely be able to have a low cost consultation with them.

    There isn't really anything anyone on this site can do for you other than what was already advised.
     
  14. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    I read your thread. I have only what you wrote to go by. And it's pretty clear your post lacks all the facts of what happened.

    You're right, you do need to understand the law because right now you don't. I do have a very good idea of what I am talking about as I've been a lawyer for over 20 years. Damages for emotional distress are not available because you were "hurt with no reason". As you apparently did not suffer any physical injury from what the cops did you would have to sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) in New York. These are very hard cases to win. You have to prove 4 things:
    • The police acted with extreme and outrageous conduct. This means that the acts had to have been "so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community." Howell v. New York Post Co., 81 N.Y.2d 115, 122, 612 N.E.2d 699, 702 (1993). So only the most extreme and outrageous conduct will qualify for this kind of claim. The vast majority of things people do that may upset others or be emotionally distressing to others will not come even close to making a good IIED claim. So far what you have described falls far short of this standard.
    • You had to have suffered severe emotional distress. So simply being upset or hurt over their actions is not enough. The emotional distress had to be severe. Did you have to seek any mental health care to deal with the distress caused? If the answer is no, you probably don't meet this element either.
    • You must prove a causal connection between the actions of the cops and the emotional distress you suffered.
    • The police had to have intended to cause you severe emotional distress or have disregarded the probability that their actions would cause severe emotional distress. Note two things here. There is an intent element that you must prove. And that the standard here is that they intended to cause you severe distress or should have known that it would cause severe distress and disregarded that. Do you have any evidence that the cops had any such intent to cause you that kind of harm? If you don't, then you have trouble meeting this element, too.
    You have to prove all four of the above to win a IIED case. The biggest hurdle often is that the standard of extreme and outrageous conduct is not met. The New York Court of Appeals, which is the highest court of NY state, explained the law for IIED claims as follows:

    The tort has four elements: (i) extreme and outrageous conduct; (ii) intent to cause, or disregard of a substantial probability of causing, severe emotional distress; (iii) a causal connection between the conduct and injury; and (iv) severe emotional distress. The first element—outrageous conduct—serves the dual function of filtering out petty and trivial complaints that do not belong in court, and assuring that plaintiff's claim of severe emotional distress is genuine (see, Prosser, Insult and Outrage, 44 Cal.L.Rev., at 44–45; compare, Mitchell v. Rochester Ry. Co., 151 N.Y., at 110, 45 N.E. 354). In practice, courts have tended to focus on the outrageousness element, the one most susceptible to determination as a matter of law (see, Restatement [Second] of Torts § 46, comment h; Givelber, The Right to Minimum Social Decency and the Limits of Evenhandedness: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress by Outrageous Conduct [“Social Decency”], 82 Colum.L.Rev. 42, 42–43 [1982] ).

    Unlike other intentional torts, intentional infliction of emotional distress does not proscribe specific conduct (compare, e.g., Restatement [Second] of Torts § 18 [battery]; id., § 35 [false imprisonment] ), but imposes liability based on after-the-fact judgments about the actor's behavior. Accordingly, the broadly defined standard of liability is both a virtue and a vice. The tort is as limitless as the human capacity for cruelty. The price for this flexibility in redressing utterly reprehensible behavior, however, is a tort that, by its terms, may overlap other areas of the law, with potential liability for conduct that is otherwise lawful. Moreover, unlike other torts, the actor may not have notice of the precise conduct proscribed (see, Givelber, Social Decency, 82 Colum.L.Rev., at 51–52).

    Consequently, the “requirements of the rule are rigorous, and difficult to satisfy” (Prosser and Keeton, Torts § 12, at 60–61 [5th ed]; see also, Murphy, 58 N.Y.2d, at 303, 461 N.Y.S.2d 232, 448 N.E.2d 86 [describing the standard as “strict”] ). Indeed, of the intentional infliction of emotional distress claims considered by this Court, every one has failed because the alleged conduct was not sufficiently outrageous (see, Freihofer v. Hearst Corp., 65 N.Y.2d, at 143–144, 490 N.Y.S.2d 735, 480 N.E.2d 349; Burlew v. American Mut. Ins. Co., 63 N.Y.2d 412, 417–418, 482 N.Y.S.2d 720, 472 N.E.2d 682; Murphy, 58 N.Y.2d, at 303, 461 N.Y.S.2d 232, 448 N.E.2d 86; Fischer v. Maloney, 43 N.Y.2d, at 557, 402 N.Y.S.2d 991, 373 N.E.2d 1215). “ ‘Liability has been found only where the conduct has been so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community’ ” (Murphy, 58 N.Y.2d, at 303, 461 N.Y.S.2d 232, 448 N.E.2d 86, quoting Restatement [Second] of Torts § 46, comment d).

    Howell v. New York Post Co., 81 N.Y.2d 115, 121–22, 612 N.E.2d 699, 702–03 (1993).

    So you see, I do in fact know what I am talking about when I say that emotional distress cases are very hard to win. The law makes it hard to win such cases to avoid the courts being flooded with claims of minor emotional slights and heartaches. Life is filled with people doing things that cause emotional hurt to others. The vast majority of those things you can't successfully sue for.

    I know that is not the answer you wanted to hear. But I am here to provide information on what the law says, not to tell you what you want to hear. It does no good for me to encourage you to think you may have a big claim for emotional distress damages only for you to get slammed by the courts later because you didn't have a good case. So far nothing you've said suggests you have a good claim here.

    However, I also think a whole lot is missing from your post, which is why you should see an attorney who handles civil rights violations cases to see if in fact you might have a good claim. Most will give you a free initial consultation, so it won't cost you any money to find out if you have a good claim. If you consult 2-3 attorneys and none are eager to take your case on a contingent fee basis (where the attorney's fee is a portion of what you win) then you know you don't have a particularly good case to win a lot of money.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
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  15. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    Thank you TC for providing that very informative and detailed information.
     
  16. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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  17. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link on that. I stand corrected on that point. Still, as I indicated earlier, any lawsuit here (if there is a viable claim) would be against the city, not the particular police department involved. So whether it was the DHS peace officers or NYPD police officers, the claim is ultimately against the city.
     
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