You Can Sue City Hall – After a local village municipality unilaterally nominated its own law enforcement body to adjudicate the local traffic laws

Feb 18, 2024Supply Chain Chronicles

The Situation

For decades Village of Old Field in New York cited, fined, and otherwise penalized violators. While this certainly popped up on the radar of both state and county governments, neither had the political will to challenge the Village’s supposed authority, despite admitting on numerous occasions that it was legally invalid. So, what chance could a group of motorists have in a federal class action civil suit? Well, with the right lawyers and zealous advocacy, justice can prevail for even the most overmatched underdogs.

The Approach

The primary objective of the plaintiffs in this case was to stop the municipality’s improper punitive actions against supposed transgressors of their purported laws and edicts. They also sought to recover damages for the unauthorized seizures of money and property in the course of their illegal activities. The legal team petitioned for injunctive and declaratory relief against multiple members of the Village “government” with a multi-pronged legal challenge, based on several federal statutes, including 18 U.S.C. § 1962(b) and (d), the RICO statute; 18 U.S.C. § 1962 (c)); 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”); and a New York State law cause of action for Money Had and Received. Despite the lack of legal support from local governments and the “official” status of the defendant, no stone was left unturned in the pursuit of legal avenues to ending this faux government and compensation for the plaintiff’s grievances.

The Results

Defendants filed a motion to dismiss all complaints in the United States District Court, E.D. New York. Despite more than a few complications, such as the division of liability among the several defendants, resulting in some claims being dismissed, the thorough multi-pronged strategy proved successful. Some federal and some state-based claims were found viable by the court to be litigated, but before the dispute ever reached that stage, the matter was resolved. The Old Field Constabulary came to an end, settling with plaintiffs for a figure in the millions of dollars.

Conclusion

While some legal complaints can be fairly cut-and-dry; where you’re obviously in the right and have been wrongfully injured by an obvious malefactor, sometimes the deck seems stacked against you no matter how righteous your cause. But, as for the plaintiffs in Village of Old Field, having the right attorneys in your corner, with the hard-won experience and fortitude to take on even the most formidable adversaries can make the seemingly impossible come down in your favor. I know because I was among them, and I can bring the same dedicated representation to bear for you and your business.

Need Guidance?

Need guidance navigating the complex challenges in today’s rapidly evolving legal landscape?

Contact Commerce Law Partners today and Prepare to Win.

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