Seward & Kissel LLP Secures Favorable Settlement for Pro Bono Client in Police-Related Civil Rights Case

February 12, 2021

New York, NY—February 12, 2021—Seward & Kissel LLP has secured a favorable settlement, pro bono, on behalf of a civil rights plaintiff – a 45-year-old black man – who alleged that a Schenectady County Sheriff’s Office Deputy and other officers unlawfully and forcibly removed him from the passenger seat of a vehicle, threw him down on the street, and tasered him while in handcuffs. As part of the settlement, the plaintiff, represented by Seward & Kissel associates Andrew Matott and James Hurder, will receive $27,500 from the County of Schenectady and its insurance carrier.

The settlement agreement, which was made public on February 10, does not cover a slew of additional civil rights claims filed by the plaintiff against the Albany Police Department and six of its officers, including Section 1983 claims based on Fourth Amendment violations resulting from unreasonable searches and privacy intrusions, as well as corresponding state law claims.

Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that police officers, led by Officer Scott Gavigan, used automatic license plate reader technology to unlawfully track his movements for months, initiate pretextual traffic stops of vehicles associated with the plaintiff, and subject him to multiple body cavity searches in the middle of the street without justification. These claims are scheduled to proceed to a federal jury trial later this year.

“We are grateful the team’s hard work resulted in this settlement, and appreciate the efforts of all parties involved,” said Jack Yoskowitz, partner and head of Seward & Kissel’s pro bono practice. “The team looks forward to continuing its work on such an important cause and securing complete justice for our client.”

The case is Chaney v. Gavigan, 16-cv-01185 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.



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