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Iannucci v. City of New York

March 21, 2007


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


Plaintiff Robert Ianucci ("Ianucci") brings this action against Defendant City of New York ("City") to recover damages for the City's alleged failure to prevent New York City police officers from parking their vehicles on sidewalks, curbs, and driveways on or adjacent to plaintiff's properties, causing damage and depriving plaintiff of the use of his property.*fn1

Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff alleges that the City violated his procedural and substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.*fn2 Presently before the Court is defendant's motion for partial summary judgment, seeking dismissal of plaintiff's claim for damages based on the assignment of claims related to property at 325 Gold Street. In November 2002, plaintiff bought this property from its prior owner, who assigned all claims related to the property to plaintiff. For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion is granted.


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

Plaintiff Ianucci is a resident of the State of New York and owns several buildings located on Gold and Johnson streets in Brooklyn, New York. The City of New York is a municipal corporation organized under the laws of the State of New York.

In 1982, plaintiff purchased two properties located at 309 Gold Street and 171 Johnson Street in Brooklyn, New York. In 1983, plaintiff purchased property located at 311, 313, and 315 Gold Street (which is also known as 167-169 Johnson Street). Defendant's Opposition Memorandum, p. 2.

In April 2001, plaintiff began leasing office space at 325 Gold Street, a ten story commercial building which was then owned by the Garden City Company ("Garden City"). Thereafter, Garden City was under the oversight of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and was put up for sale by a court appointed trustee. See Defendant's Local Rule 56.1 Statement, ¶ 6; Def. Exh. 1, For Sale or Not for Sale?, The Garden City News, April 20, 2001. On November 20, 2002, plaintiff purchased the 325 Gold Street property from Garden City. As part of his purchase of the 325 Gold Street property, Garden City assigned to plaintiff claims relating to 325 Gold Street between 1983, when Garden City acquired 325 Gold Street, until November 20, 2002, the date Garden City conveyed the property to plaintiff. Around this time, plaintiff also purchased property at 173 and 175 Gold Street.

Plaintiff alleges that since 1983, New York City vehicles, such as police patrol cars, Fire Department cars, Emergency Medical Services trucks, Department of Transportation trucks, and private vehicles with New York City parking placards (collectively "City vehicles"), have parked and double-parked illegally on the sidewalks, curbs, and streets abutting plaintiff's properties on a daily basis.*fn3 According to plaintiff, "[t]he double parked cars impede the flow of traffic," including pedestrian traffic, "and thus block access to plaintiff's building." Plaintiff's Opposition Memorandum, p. 6. "The cars blocking the loading bays prevent businesses from sending or receiving deliveries." Id. Lastly, plaintiff states, "[t]his image of rows of double parked cars, and cars illegally parked on the sidewalks creates a negative image that detracts from the plaintiff's ability to rent his properties in accordance with the prevailing values of the area." Id.

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 have been 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 caused the curbs and sidewalks in front of the properties to become cracked and damaged, 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 $60,000. Ianucci Affidavit, dated Feb. 16, 2007, ¶ 22.

Plaintiff states that since 1982, he notified the City "on multiple occasions" that the City's official vehicles and City Placard vehicles were parking on the sidewalks and curbs in front of the properties, and that the vehicles were double parking and blocking the driveways to the premises. Despite his complaints, City vehicles continued to park illegally on the curbs and sidewalks abutting plaintiff's properties. In 2005, plaintiff sold all properties listed above, except for the 325 Gold Street property.

In November 2002, plaintiff commenced this Section 1983 action seeking monetary damages and attorney's fees for the alleged violation of his procedural and substantive due process rights. Plaintiff also seeks to recover damages that Garden City, the prior owner, allegedly suffered with respect to the 325 Gold Street property during the period of Garden City's ownership, from 1983 through November 2002. Approximately 78% of plaintiff's claim of ...

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