Filing a Baseless Suit in NY? Get Ready to Reimburse $19K

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on December 21, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A New York federal judge just slapped a vexatious litigant who brought a civil rights lawsuit against the New York City Police based on 'highly unreliable' facts.

The price for making this baseless claim against the city? $19,000. He should consider himself lucky. The costs associated with litigation were upwards of $95,000 and he could have been slapped harder if it weren't for his inability to pay.

False Arrest Claim

According to Courthouse News, the plaintiff, Patricio Jimenez, was arrested for domestic abuse charges in late December 2012. The charges against him to be dropped on account of his wife's refusal to testify against him. Court papers recount a story of Jimenez coming home and getting into an argument with his wife. He is alleged to have slapped her hard repeatedly, choked her, and twisting her arm behind her back.

In a rather stunning and audacious move, Mr. Jimenez then brought a suit for false arrest against the city. The judge previously noted that both Mr. Jimenez and his wife were not on their best behavior in the previous criminal proceedings against the husband and found that testimony from the couple was highly unreliable and "very likely perjurious."

The Empire City Strikes Back

The ruling Judge Scheindlin opined that Jimenez' audacity at using his wife's recantation and refusal to press charges was "galling" and that the New York should not be required to expend taxpayer money to protect against claims according to testimony that is as unbelievable as the people giving it. When the town contested the suit and discovered that the pair were lying about what happened, the green light was given to sue Jimenez for reimbursement.

Tobias E. Zimmerman, a senior attorney with New York's Legal Department said that he was hopeful that this suit would discourage the filing of future legal cases based on fraudulent facts.

Discount Fines

The city had originally asked the judge for $100,000 in reimbursement against Jimenez and his lawyer, but owing to his low income level, will get off with only $19,000 against him.

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