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Iannucci v. City of New York

April 19, 2006

ROBERT IANNUCCI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF NEW YORK, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sifton, Senior Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Robert Iannucci brings this action for damages against the City of New York under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging deprivation of his rights to procedural and substantive due process under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Plaintiff alleges the City of New York (the "City") failed to prevent police vehicles and vehicles belonging to police officers from parking on the curbs and sidewalks in front of his properties and driveways leading to them, causing damage and depriving him of their use. On January 3, 2006, I denied defendant's motion for summary judgment. Presently before the Court is defendant's motion for reconsideration of that decision pursuant to Local Civil Rule 6.3. For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are drawn from the parties' submissions in connection with this motion. The facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.

Plaintiff is the owner of several buildings located near the 84th Police Precinct and the Police Academy in Brooklyn, New York. (Iannucci Aff. ¶ 5). In 1982 and 1983, plaintiff purchased 309 Gold Street, 171 Johnson Street, and 311-313-315 Gold Street in Brooklyn. On November 20, 2002, plaintiff purchased 325 Gold Street, a ten story commercial building, and on November 20, 2003, plaintiff purchased 173-175 Johnson Street. (Iannucci Aff. ¶ 5). During the entire time plaintiff has owned these properties, official New York Police Department vehicles and private vehicles with New York City parking placards (collectively "City vehicles") have parked and double-parked illegally on the curbs, sidewalks and streets abutting plaintiff's properties on a daily basis. Although City vehicles do not encroach onto plaintiff's property, they prevent access to them. (Iannucci Aff. ¶ 11). The ability of plaintiff and his tenants to enter and exit plaintiff's buildings has been restricted. (Iannucci Aff. ¶ 11).

Plaintiff's properties are located within the "self-enforcement" zone of the 84th Precinct, which means that the police in that precinct are responsible for enforcing traffic and parking laws in that area. (Accardi Dep. at 14-15; Sferrazza Dep. 13-14). Approximately 270 officers are assigned to the 84th Precinct. (Sferrazza Dep. at 7). Sergeant Edward Accardi of the 84th Precinct, who served as the precinct's Traffic Safety Supervisor, testified at his deposition that although there was no official policy within the 84th Precinct with regard to the enforcement of parking and traffic regulations in the area, efforts were made by Sergeant Accardi and other precinct commanders to curb illegal parking by City vehicles, including routine ticketing, writing of summonses, and towing of the illegally-parked vehicles. (Accardi Dep. at 18-20, 40-41). Although Sergeant Accardi "felt [they] got compliance with members of the 84th," he acknowledged that illegal parking continued to be a frequent problem. (Accardi Dep. at 36-44). The police department does not have parking facilities for City vehicles apart from a fenced lot located on the north side of Tillary Street, which accommodates approximately fifty cars. (Accardi Dep. 17, 44; Sferrazza Dep. at 7).

The illegal parking has caused damage to the curbs and sidewalks near plaintiff's properties, requiring significant repair. On one occasion, the City of New York assessed plaintiff for the repair of the sidewalks adjacent to his property in the amount of $50,000. (Iannucci Aff. ¶ 16). Plaintiff has complained repeatedly to City and police authorities, both in person and in writing, over the past twenty years. (Iannucci Aff. ¶ 13; Pl. Ex. K). Plaintiff made several in-person complaints to Sergeant Accardi and Captain Sferrazza. (Ianucci Aff. ¶ 13; Sferrazza Dep. at 17). Despite his complaints, City vehicles continue to park illegally on the curbs and sidewalks abutting plaintiff's properties blocking driveways to plaintiff's properties.

In November 2002, plaintiff commenced this Section 1983 action against the City seeking monetary damages and attorney's fees for the violation of his procedural and substantive due process rights. The City initially moved for judgment on the pleadings dismissing the complaint, arguing that: (1) the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; (2) the action was barred because defendant had acquired a prescriptive easement; (3) the action was untimely; and (4) the action was barred by the doctrine of laches. On October 16, 2003, I denied the motion in an oral opinion. On October 27, 2003, the City moved for reconsideration of that decision, which I denied in a Memorandum Opinion and Order dated March 16, 2004.

The City subsequently moved for summary judgment, this time arguing that the action was barred because the City had acquired a prescriptive right to maintain a nuisance, and plaintiff filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. By written Memorandum Opinion and Order, I denied both motions on January 3, 2006. I held, inter alia, that the City's defense failed because its actions constituted a public nuisance, and while one can acquire a prescriptive right to maintain a private nuisance, under New York law, no prescriptive right to maintain a public nuisance can be acquired.

Presently before the Court is defendant's motion for reconsideration of my decision denying its motion for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 6.3 of the Local Rules of the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York. For the reasons stated below, the motion is denied.

DISCUSSION

Standard for Motion for Reconsideration

A motion for reconsideration pursuant to Local Rule 6.3 will be granted if the moving party presents factual matters or controlling decisions the court overlooked that might materially have influenced its decision. Pereira v. Aetna Casualty and Surety Co. (In re Payroll Express Corp.), 921 F.Supp. 1121, 1123 (S.D.N.Y.1996); Violette v. Armonk Assocs., L.P., 823 F.Supp. 224, 226 (S.D.N.Y.1993). Reconsideration is also appropriate in light of an intervening change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice. Doe v. New York City Dep't of Social Servs., 709 F.2d 782, 789 (2d Cir.1983); Casino, LLC v. M/V Royal Empress, 1998 WL 566772, at *1 (E.D.N.Y.1998). Local Rule 6.3 is to be narrowly construed and strictly applied so as to avoid repetitive arguments on issues that have been fully considered by the court. See Caleb & Co. v. E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co., 624 F.Supp. 747, 748 (S.D.N.Y.1985). In deciding a Local Rule 6.3 motion, the court will not allow a party to use the motion as a substitute for appealing from a final judgment. See Morser v. A.T. & T. Information Systems, 715 F.Supp. 516, 517 ...


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