Blog – § 1983 Case Plan:
Given the ever increasing number of claims being filed for excessive force,
false arrest, and/or malicious prosecution against the City and/or the
New York City Police Department ('NYPD'), the United States District
Court of the Southern District of New York ('SDNY')(serving Manhattan,
White Plains and Middletown, NY) came up with a case plan to ensure the
timely hearing of such cases. This is known as the '§ 1983 Plan'.
This Plan intends to facilitate the speedy disposition of such cases,
however, it only applies to certain types of cases (those which are less
complicated, and could be resolved quickly by following this Plan).
Service of the Complaint:
Under the § 1983 Plan, the complaint must be served with a signed
§ 160.50 release, which allows for the 'un-sealing' of arrest
records. The plaintiff must also serve with the complaint and § 160.50
release all medical and psychological records pertaining to the injuries
for which the plaintiff seeks damages. Plaintiffs with pre-existing medical
conditions that reasonably appear to be connected with the condition for
which damages are sought, the plaintiff must also serve medical releases
for records of treatment of that pre-existing condition. Should a plaintiff
fail to serve a § 160.50 release at the time of serving the complaint,
counsel for the City must immediately send a letter to the plaintiff's
attorney requesting the aforementioned release, and attach a copy of the
§ 1983 Plan.
Time to Answer:
If the plaintiff serves the § 160.50 release at the same time as the
complaint, the defendant has 80 days from the date of service to provide
an answer to the complaint. Any defendant who is served subsequently will
have the better of (i) 60 days or (ii) the date on which the first served
defendant's answer is due, to answer the complaint.
If the § 160.50 release was served later than the complaint, each
defendant will have the larger of (i) 60 days from the date of service
of the § 160.50 release on the City or (ii) 60 days after that particular
defendant is served, to answer the complaint.
The Court is to stay the § 1983 Plan deadlines if any of the defendants
move to dismiss the entire complaint, in lieu of filing an answer, unless
the Court orders differently.
Conference and Initial Disclosures:
As per Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 26(f), the parties should
meet and conference within 14 days of the defendant filing their answer
to the complaint. As parties of this conference, the parties should discuss
whether or not to ask the court (i) to send the case to a magistrate judge
for settlement purposes or (ii) to excuse the case from the § 1983
Plan. Applications of this nature must be submitted to the judge presiding
over the case no more than 21 days after the first defendant files their
answer. If no such application is made, the case will be automatically
continue under the § 1983 Plan, and will immediately be referred
to a Southern District Mediation Panel mediator, which has experience
in this area.
No more than 28 days after the first defendant files their answer, the
parties must follow the following discovery process:
The City must serve on the plaintiff:
(i) Any items listed in Exhibit C (unless protected by applicable privileges)(see
link at the bottom of this post) that did not make up the City's initial
disclosures; any documents received by the District Attorney's ('DA's')
office; any documents acquired from the court file.
(ii) Any CCRD and IAB reports and/or records pertaining to the incident
that is the foundation of the complaint. If the incident is still under
investigation (including investigation by the NYPD or disciplinary proceedings),
discovery will be suspended. Investigative records must be produced by
the City within 30 days of the conclusion of the aforementioned investigation.
Such a suspension will not include documents which are related to a concluded
(iii) CCRD complaints for each defendants which are akin to those alleged
in the present complaint. If excessive force is alleged, it must be disclosed
whether or not the officer has been or is under 'force monitoring'.
(iv) Records obtained as a result of medical releases, within 7 days of
having received them.
The plaintiff must serve on the City:
(i) Any document listed in Exhibit C (see the link at the bottom of this
post), any document derived from either the DA's office or from the
(ii) Medical records relevant to any treatment the plaintiff is receiving
pursuant to the abovementioned medical release.
All other discovery is stayed, and unless the court decides otherwise,
this stay will terminate at the end of the mediation/settlement conference.
Further defendants may be added to the complaint without requiring leave
of the court within six weeks of the first defendant filing an answer.
Such an amendment does not affect the deadlines set out in this plan.
Settlement Demand and Offer:
Within six weeks of filing of the above-mentioned answer, the plaintiff
must garnish a settlement demand in writing on the City, which must accordingly
be responded to within 14 days. This should result in settlement negotiations
Mediation or Settlement Conference:
Unless the case has been referred by the court to a Magistrate to facilitate
a settlement conference, a mediator will designate a mediator within 14
days of the first defendant filing an answer. Once assigned, the mediator
shall organise with counsel for both parties a conference, to take place
no more than 14 weeks after the first defendant files an answer. Unless
a stipulation of dismissal is provided to the Clerk, each of the parties
must take part in either a mediation session or a settlement conference.
Failure to Comply with these Requirements:
Once a party becomes aware of a breach of these regulations by the other
side, they must inform the presiding judge in writing of the nature of
the breach, and request that the judge grant relief.
Request for Initial Pre-Trial Conference:
Unless already held or scheduled by the court, if no settlement can be
reached through mediation or settlement conference, the parties are to
request the court to calendar an initial pre-trial conference.
In all cases, the relevant protective order (see the link at the bottom
of this post) shall be assumed to be in place.
These regulations do not exclude any party from their responsibility to
ensure documents are preserved, and to issue instructions to this effect.
http://www.nysd.uscourts.gov/rules/1983%20Revised%20Plan%20and%20Exhibits.11.22.2013.pdf – contains the Plan itself, as well as all aforementioned exhibits.
1983 case plan,