The plaintiff in this case is Julius Bailey. The defendants in the matter are the Suffolk County Police Department and the Suffolk County Legal Department. The case is being heard in the District Court of Suffolk County in the state of New York. Judge C. Stephen Hackeling is overhearing the case.
A New York Criminal Lawyer said the plaintiff is seeking to recover $1,492 for damages sustained to his vehicle while it was in the custody of the defendant, the County. The County has placed an application through the court to have the complaint against them dismissed. This application has been deferred and will be decided along with the small claims action of the case.
On the sixth of September, 2009 the plaintiff was sleeping in his vehicle that was parked near the intersection of Round Swamp Road and Old Country Road in Melville, New York. A police officer from Suffolk County arrested the plaintiff for the suspicion of driving while under the influence of alcohol (DWI).
The officer issued a breathalyzer at the scene and it came back as 0.0%. The plaintiff was given another breathalyzer at the precinct with the same result. The officer questioned the accuracy of the breathalyzer and issued a report stating that the plaintiff failed to comply with the breathalyzer test.
The plaintiff had his driver’s license revoked pending a refusal hearing with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles. A Long Island Criminal Lawyer said the plaintiff’s car was impounded by the defendant, the Suffolk County Police Department. The plaintiff states that he requested a blood test to confirm that he was not under the influence of alcohol and this was refused. The defendant does not concede this point, but does not challenge it either.
The police officer did not appear in court for the DMV refusal hearing and the plaintiff’s license was reinstated. The plaintiff then requested a hearing for his vehicle’s return. During the hearing the two parties could not reach an agreement as the County insisted that the vehicle be installed with an alcohol ignition disconnect device and the plaintiff refused.
The hearing officer ordered that the vehicle be returned to the plaintiff as there was no probable cause provided by the defendant for the arrest of the plaintiff and the impound of the vehicle. The plaintiff was directed to pay the storage and towing costs of the vehicle.
The plaintiff signed a general release form and picked up his vehicle at the impound lot. The plaintiff states that his car had been damaged while it was under the care of the county. The plaintiff filed a detailed claim with the claims office of the police department. After almost two months the claim had not been forwarded to the risk/management department for insurance policy review. The clerk in charge of forwarding the claim admits that it was never taken care of.
The plaintiff has offered receipts for the repairs that were necessary for his vehicle after picking it up from the impound lot. After reviewing the facts of the case the court finds in favor of the plaintiff and orders the defendant to pay a total of $948.09. This sum is achieved by reviewing the actual repair costs that the county can be held liable for. The plaintiff could have been entitled to recovery of the storage and towing costs as well, but this was not requested.
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