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Federal Appeals Court Rules for Plaintiffs in Stop-and-Frisk Case


NEW YORK, November 4, 2014 — In a win for Covington & Burling’s clients, a federal appeals court has denied an effort by police unions to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk tactics. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit clears the way for the implementation of court-ordered stop-and-frisk reforms.

“The court’s rulings reject the efforts by the unions to stand in the way of genuine reform,” said Covington partner Phil Irwin. “We look forward to beginning a remedial process, as contemplated in last year’s remedies order, that will safeguard the constitutional rights of black and Hispanic New Yorkers.” Covington, with co-counsel from the Center for Constitutional Rights and Beldock, Levine & Hoffman, has represented plaintiffs in the case, Floyd v. City of New York, since 2008.

In 2013, following a nine-week trial, the federal court ruled that NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies and practices violate the constitutional rights of blacks and Hispanics by targeting them for stops on the basis of their race or ethnicity and ordered sweeping reforms. The City of New York, under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, appealed the ruling. The appeal was later withdrawn by his successor Bill de Blasio, but several police unions sought to intervene to overturn the trial court ruling. On Oct. 31, 2014, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision to deny the unions’ motion to intervene in the case.

In addition to Mr. Irwin, the Covington team included Eric Hellerman, Gretchen Hoff Varner, and Bruce Corey.

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