Law School Case Brief
Floyd v. City of N.Y. - 959 F. Supp. 2d 668 (S.D.N.Y. 2013)
Plaintiffs seeking a permanent injunction must demonstrate: (1) that they have suffered an irreparable injury; (2) that remedies available at law, such as monetary damages, are inadequate to compensate for that injury; (3) that, considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiffs and the defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and (4) that the public interest would not be disserved by a permanent injunction. Plaintiffs may satisfy the first two factors by demonstrating that they are likely to be deprived of their constitutional rights in the future by the acts they seek to have enjoined.
Plaintiff David Floyd, an African-American man, claimed that on Feb. 27, 2008, he was walking on the path adjacent to his house in the Bronx, New York, when he encountered the basement tenant, also an African-American man, who indicated that he was locked out of his apartment and asked for help because Floyd's godmother owned the building. Floyd then went upstairs to retrieve the key and he retrieved seven to ten keys because he was unsure of the correct key for the basement lock. Floyd and the tenant went to the basement apartment door and started trying the various keys. After trying five or six keys, they found the correct one. However, before they could open the door, three New York City police officers approached them and asked the two men what they were doing, told them to stop, and proceeded to frisk them. The officers asked the men to produce identification and interrogated them as to whether they lived there and what they were doing. Floyd and others filed lawsuits in federal district court against defendant City of New York challenging the validity of the City's "stop and frisk" practices and seeking preliminary injunctive relief. In a prior opinion, the court found the City liable in the the Floyd case for violating the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights Floyd and other plaintiffs class because of the way the City police department had conducted stops and frisks over the past decade. Before the court was the issue of remedies.
Was Floyd and the other class plaintiffs in his lawsuit entitled to injunctive relief?
The court granted the Floyd plaintiffs a preliminary injunction. The court ruled that Fed. R. Civ. P. 65. injunctive relief was warranted due to the constitutional violations, the likelihood of future injury, the fact that the burden of hardship on the class far outweighed the police department's administrative hardship in correcting its unconstitutional practices, and the public interest in upholding constitutional rights and eliminating racial discrimination would be served. In its order, the court included various equitable relief, including the appointment of a monitor to oversee reforms, immediate policy revisions, training, documentation, supervision, monitoring, and discipline, use of body-worn cameras for a one-year period, and consideration of community input to develop supplemental reforms.
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