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Whether excessive force was used to get the plaintiff transported to a hospital. Albaum v. City of N.Y., 2018 N.Y. Slip Op. 30555 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2018)


In this case, Judith Albaum sued the City of New York, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and several police officers to recover damages for personal injuries. The incident occurred when NYPD officers arrived at Albaum’s apartment in response to a call expressing concern for her well-being. Despite Albaum’s insistence that she was not a threat to herself, the situation escalated, leading to her removal from her home and transport to a hospital.

When the police arrived at plaintiff Judith Albaum’s door in response to a call expressing concern for her well-being, she was inside her apartment, sitting at her desk and drinking a beer. Upon answering the door, she was informed that someone had called the police, worried that she might harm herself. She denied this allegation, identifying the caller as her estranged daughter and dismissing the concern as baseless. Despite police assurances that she was not under arrest and that they lacked a search warrant, Albaum refused to open the door, leading to a standoff during which she spoke to the police through the closed door for several minutes.

Eventually, the situation escalated, with the police calling for backup, including Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the Emergency Services Unit (ESU). After repeated refusals to open the door, the ESU officers forcibly entered her apartment. Albaum was knocked to the ground, handcuffed, and taken to the hospital as an emotionally disturbed person. At the hospital, she was evaluated and eventually released, but not before sustaining injuries from the handcuffing.

Whether the defendants had probable cause to detain the plaintiff, Judith Albaum, as an emotionally disturbed person, justifying their actions in removing her from her home and transporting her to the hospital against her will.

The court finds that there are triable issues of fact as to whether the defendants had probable cause to detain the plaintiff. Therefore, the motion by the defendants to dismiss the claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, and assault and battery based on qualified immunity is denied. The court grants the motion to dismiss the claims for malicious prosecution and negligent hiring and retention. The plaintiff’s claims under 42 USC § 1983 are also dismissed for failure to allege an official municipal policy or custom causing the deprivation of constitutional rights.

Albaum’s lawsuit included claims of false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, assault and battery, negligence, and civil rights violations. The defendants, City of New York and NYPD, moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that they had probable cause to detain Albaum and that their actions were justified.

The court considered whether the police had probable cause to arrest Albaum or whether they were justified in detaining her under Mental Hygiene Law § 9.41. Despite the allegations made by Albaum’s family member, the court found that the police did not have sufficient grounds to arrest her. Furthermore, the police did not follow procedures under the Mental Hygiene Law, which would have required a belief that Albaum was mentally ill and a danger to herself or others.

The court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, and assault and battery, as there were factual disputes regarding the circumstances of Albaum’s detention. The court dismissed the claims for malicious prosecution and civil rights violations, as Albaum was not subjected to a criminal proceeding. The case highlights the importance of proper police procedures and the need to balance public safety with individual rights. If you or a loved one have experienced a similar situation, it’s crucial to seek legal advice from an experienced New York police brutality lawyer to understand your rights and options.

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