Case: Lynch v. New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board

152235/2018 | New York state trial court

Filed Date: March 13, 2018

Closed Date: May 28, 2020

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Case Summary

A union representing NYPD officers filed this state court action on March 3, 2018 to challenge the Sexual Misconduct Resolution, which expanded the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board’s (CCRB) powers to include investigation of complaints of sexual misconduct against NYPD officers, which had previously been automatically referred by the CCRB to the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau. The plaintiffs also challenged several other proposed CCRB rules revisions under state law that allows for the revie…

A union representing NYPD officers filed this state court action on March 3, 2018 to challenge the Sexual Misconduct Resolution, which expanded the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board’s (CCRB) powers to include investigation of complaints of sexual misconduct against NYPD officers, which had previously been automatically referred by the CCRB to the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau. The plaintiffs also challenged several other proposed CCRB rules revisions under state law that allows for the review of agency decisions. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief.

Judge Melissa Crane of the New York trial court issued an opinion on February 27, 2019, in favor of the CCRB. 2019 WL 1475017. The trial court found that the CCRB was authorized to investigate civilian allegations of sexual misconduct by NYPD officers since it had the authority to include sexual misconduct within its interpretation of “abuse of authority,” which the CCRB has jurisdiction to investigate. The court did invalidate four other rules changes that were proposed alongside the Sexual Misconduct resolution. The court found that it was outside the CCRB’s jurisdiction to “initiate contact with potential victims” and limited the CCRB’s investigatory power to responding to complaints that have been submitted. The court also invalidated as arbitrary and capricious a broad rule that would have allowed complaints from people who viewed unauthenticated videos on the internet, but are not actually victims themselves. Another rule change regarding the use of past unsubstantiated complaints was struck down for lacking appropriate detail on how, if at all, the complaints could be used in future investigations. Finally, the court struck down a rule that would have expanded the Administrative Prosecution Unit’s powers to the same level as the NYPD’s Department of Advocate’s Office. 

Both parties appealed on April 3, 2019. The CCRB submitted amended rules revisions and requested a motion to reargue, which the trial court denied on June 3, 2019.

Writing for the New York appellate court on May 28, 2020, Judge David Friedman declared that the Sexual Misconduct Resolution amounted to a new rule and that the CCRB did not abide by the rule-making requirement to hold a public hearing before adoption. Litigation in the trial court ended on December 9, 2020.

Outside of the court system, the NYPD and CCRB in February 2021 signed a memorandum of understanding and pledged to follow a newly written disciplinary matrix, which included sexual misconduct under the CCRB’s “abuse of authority” jurisdiction.

Summary Authors

Robin Peterson (11/16/2022)

People


Judge(s)

Crane, Melissa A. (New York)

Renwick, Dianne T. (New York)

Attorney for Plaintiff

Daly, Matthew C. (New York)

Attorney for Defendant

Jacob, Agnetha (New York)

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

152235/2018

New York Supreme Court Docket

Lynch v. New York City Civilian

Dec. 9, 2020

Dec. 9, 2020

Docket

152235/2018

Verified Article 78 & Declaratory Judgment Petition

March 13, 2018

March 13, 2018

Complaint

152235/2018

Decision and Order on Motion

Feb. 28, 2019

Feb. 28, 2019

Order/Opinion

64 Misc.3d 64

84

152235/2018

Order

June 3, 2019

June 3, 2019

Order/Opinion
85

10995

Notice of Entry

New York state appellate court

May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

Pleading / Motion / Brief

183 A.D.3d 183

10995

Decision and Order

New York state appellate court

May 28, 2020

May 28, 2020

Order/Opinion

183 A.D.3d 183

Docket

Last updated Aug. 30, 2023, 1:38 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Policing

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 13, 2018

Closing Date: May 28, 2020

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A union representing NYPD police officers.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (New York, New York), City

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Available Documents:

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Content of Injunction:

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Issues

Policing:

Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures