$393,500 Verdict Against City of New York

False Arrest And Malicious Prosecution Physician Arrested Following Unsubstantiated Allegations Of Inappropriate Touching Of Patient Psychological Damages

VERDICT: $393,500 (6/0).

Breakdown: $250,000 for past pain and suffering; $13,500 for lost earnings; $5,000 for medical expenses ; $125,000 for attorneys fees. Jury: 4 male, 2 female.
XIX/49-5 False Arrest And Malicious Prosecution Physician Arrested Following Unsubstantiated Allegations Of Inappropriate Touching Of Patient Psychological Damages

Mark Gardy, M.D. v. City of New York 114348/95 9-day trial Verdict 5/2/02 New York Supreme Judge: Jane S. Solomon

Pltf. Atty: Harvey Weitz and Veronica A. Albanese of Schneider, Kleinick, Weitz, Damashek & Shoot, Manhattan

Deft. Atty: Kaming Lau, Asst. Corp. Counsel
Facts:

This action arose out of the 1994 arrest of the plaintiff, then a 34-year-old emergency room physician, on allegations of inappropriate touching of a patient at Roosevelt St. Luke s Hospital. The police department performed a cursory investigation of the complaining witness and of the plaintiff, and subsequently called the District Attorney s office and were told not to arrest anyone without consulting them. Shortly thereafter, the police department notified the public information office of the New York Police Department that they were going to make an official arrest. Testimony indicated that the press was present at the precinct when the plaintiff was arrested. He was paraded in a perp walk in handcuffs before TV cameras, and local newspapers carried a story with a picture of him. The plaintiff was held in custody; however, the District Attorney declined to prosecute the case and the charges were dismissed.

The plaintiff brought this action for false arrest and malicious prosecution, and claimed that the arrest was based on unsubstantiated allegations, and should not have been effected, particularly in light of the instructions from the District Attorney s office not to make an arrest without their approval. The plaintiff produced the Chief Prosecutor of the-New York Special Victims Unit, who testified that the detectives overstepped their bounds and should not have made an arrest without notifying her office of their intentions.

The defendant argued that it had probable cause to arrest the plaintiff. The lead detective on the case testified that he believed the complaining witness allegations against the plaintiff to be true.

Injuries: The plaintiff claimed that he suffered psychological damages as a result of this incident. Demonstrative evidence: ABC and WPIX news coverage of the events. No offer was made; the plaintiff stated that he would not have accepted a settlement offer; he wanted to continue the trial and be exonerated by the jury. Jury deliberation: The jury deliberated overnight.

Pltf. Expert: Dr. Kenneth Tardiff, psychiatrist, Manhattan.
Deft. Expert: There was no expert testimony for defendant.

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