United States: Court Rejects Constitutional Suit Against Pryor Cashman Client HPDPS
Last Updated: May 18 2017

Under the representation of Litigation Partner David Rose, the Hunts Point Department of Public Safety ("HPDPS"), the security service of the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market and a public security service under the purview of the City of New York, successfully defeated a federal suit brought by Peter Alphas alleging various violations of constitutional rights.

In his suit, Alphas – the sole shareholder of a now-bankrupt food distribution business which operated out of the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market before being evicted in 2013 – referenced allegations contained in a separate, and subsequently dismissed, RICO / conspiracy action he brought against The Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative Association, Inc., its board, officers and agents (collectively, the "Hunts Point Defendants"). Specifically, Alphas claimed that HPDPS ignored his calls to investigate actions purportedly undertaken by the Hunts Point Defendants, namely, evicting his business from Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market, in violation of his constitutional rights.

Judge Andrew Carter, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York rejected Alphas' claims, agreeing with Pryor Cashman's argument that HPDPS, as a mere administrative arm of the City of New York, has no independent legal existence and therefore cannot be sued.

The Court also ruled in favor of HPDPS on the issue of Alphas' lack of standing, holding that because he was not harmed in his individual capacity by any of the alleged violations, he had no grounds to bring suit.

In dismissing the case with prejudice and denying Alphas leave to amend his complaint, Judge Carter noted that while a district court should freely grant leave to amend a complaint, Alphas' claims suffered from substantive flaws which made "dismissal especially appropriate...and any further amendment of [his] federal claims futile."

To read the Court's full decision, please click here.

The Pryor Cashman Team

Rose was assisted in this matter by Litigation Associate Ross Bagley.

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