Southern District Extends Effort to Settle NYPD Cases

, New York Law Journal

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Crotty told one attorney at the hearing, Christopher Dunn of the New York Civil Liberties Union, that some judges "don't like the plan, but I think it's working better than you suggest."

And Celeste Koeleveld, executive assistant corporation counsel for public safety at the Law Department, said at the hearing that cases move faster under the plan.

Despite the almost uniformly negative comments of plaintiffs attorneys at the June hearing, Koeleveld insisted the "vast majority" of civil rights lawyers were pleased with the plan.

"They get the documents they need early on," she said.

The district's notice to the bar about the changes and the one-year extension said the pilot plan has resulted in the settlement of "70 percent of plan-eligible cases in the first six months after the filing of a complaint."

Plan Modifications

But the court also told lawyers that some changes were made in the plan after comments at the hearing.

One change the court made was to "make explicit that plaintiffs who allege 'garden variety' damages need not provide defendants with medical and mental health releases."

Another change is that the parties can request an initial pretrial conference with the presiding judge where the mediation or settlement conference is unsuccessful.

The court also has replaced an order to show cause requirement with a provision allowing either party to contact the judge if the opposing party is not complying with the plan.

Finally, the court said that, going forward, "the discovery stay expires if the case does not settle at the mediation or settlement conference."

Dunn said Friday in an interview that the plan was still flawed.

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