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GISSI v. CODD

May 20, 1974

FRANK J. GISSI, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL J. CODD, Police Commissioner of the City of New York, ERNEST LEHMAN, District Surgeon of the New York City Police Department, and FRANCIS C. HALL, Commanding Officer, Medical Section, New York City Police Department, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JUDD

MEMORANDUM

 JUDD, J.

 Plaintiff has moved for a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of Police Department rules which have been applied so as to require him to remain in his apartment while he is on sick leave, except during hours specified by the District Surgeon and on occasions when the Central Sick Desk authorizes him to be absent. A hearing was held at which the plaintiff and Captain Francis C. Hall of the Police Department were heard as witnesses.

 Facts

 According to the affidavits and testimony, plaintiff joined the Police Department in 1966 and was injured in a collision on September 18, 1970. In January 1971 plaintiff was placed on restricted duty. In August 1971 he was placed on sick report and has remained so since that time.

 The Police Department provides unlimited sick leave on full pay.

 In 1973 plaintiff was suspended and brought up on Departmental charges for leaving his home on 33 occasions without permission. The surveillance reports showed, among other things, that on December 27, 1972 the plaintiff was not at home when surveillance officers arrived at 2:45 p.m., that he came home by car at 3:40, left at 4:20, went to the R.D.R. Collision Yard and stayed there until 4:35 when he left and surveillance was broken. His automobile was again observed at home at 5:15. He left at 6:00 o'clock by car and drove to Pan Am Motor Inn on Queens Boulevard, where his car remained parked when observation was discontinued at 2:00 a.m. the next day.

 On January 3, 1973 he left his residence at 5:25 p.m., drove to a bakery, and then to an apartment building in which his father apparently lives. His father and a woman left the building at 5:55. At 6:35, plaintiff drove to a house at Graves End Neck, entered the house, exited with his father and came back home at 7:40, after driving his father home.

 On April 25, 1973, he left his residence at 11:00 a.m. carrying an attache case, entered a dentist's office, went from there to a Cadillac service, from there to the Advance Process Spray Company, from there to a luncheonette on McDonald Avenue, from there to the Regency Carting Service, from there to the side entrance of a building at Graves End Neck Road, from there to a store on Avenue U, from there to a toy and card store on Avenue U, and from there to his residence, arriving back at 3:00 p.m.

 On May 1, 1973, he was observed to leave his residence at 9:15, go to a rental office, a cleaner, a luncheonette, a factory next door to the Regency Carting Service, a music shop, a cleaner, an A & P, the Continental Coiffeur, and then drive to a building at 74-10 Grand Avenue with another man, who at about 2:05 p.m. helped him bring out a big box and put it in the trunk of his car. He then stood in front of a barber shop on Queens Boulevard talking with several men, walked to a luncheonette, then to a tire shop, and then to the Alton's Police Equipment Store on Schenectady Avenue. He arrived back at his home at 4:05 p.m., where he helped his friend carry the box from the car into his residence.

 After his departmental trial, plaintiff pleaded guilty to violating the rules on three days, was fined, and was reinstated to the Department in August 1973.

 At the time of his reinstatement, plaintiff was offered any type of restricted duty, with an opportunity to choose a location within walking distance of his home. He refused because he pleaded he was too sick.

 Plaintiff has applied for a disability pension. The Police Department surgeon found that he was able to work and had no physical or neurological disability. He was directed to return to work in February 1974. He reported one night at midnight, but left at 4:00 a.m., saying that he was sick as a result of medication which he had been taking. Two police sergeants went to his home, checked his medicine closet, and took a urine sample which turned out to be negative for any medication. Plaintiff has made no further attempt to work. His disability pension application has been disapproved by the Medical Board Police Pension Fund.

 No evidence was offered at the hearing concerning any existing medical or psychological ailment. The court observed that the plaintiff moved with some difficulty and held his head at an angle. Plaintiff asserts that he has been drinking because of a marital problem, which he ...


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