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The case I am presenting today is Davids versus City of New York, specifically NYCPD.

The plaintiff Joseph Davids served NYPD as a police officer since July, 1983, and was
promoted to the rank of captain in December, 2005. Department Administrative Guide Procedure No.
314-01 (AG 314-01) states that all newly promoted sergeants, lieutenants, and captains have to go
through a probationary period of 18 months. It also provides that an officer, who satisfactorily
completes the initial 12 months, has a choice to waive the remaining 6 months. The defendant New
York City Police Department demoted the plaintiff to his previous lieutenant rank, 17 months after
his probationary period as captain had begun. The reason for demotion was based on evaluations,
conducted on the 4th, 10th, and 16th month of the probation. According to the first evaluation of the
plaintiff, he demonstrated poor levels of understanding, preparation, and presentation. Executive
officer Delatorre met with the plaintiff several times throughout the evaluation period, and instructed
him with specific directions for improvement. Nevertheless, the second evaluations revealed little
improvement of the plaintiffs performance. He still lacked analytical skills and performance in
general, and his unpreparedness showed lack of motivation. The department guideline notes that if
ratee performs below competent standard (2.5 or lower) or is rated extremely competent (5.0) the
commanding officer Must be the reviewer. Even though the plaintiffs performance indicated a
below standard level, none of the inspectors assigned for his evaluation were his commanding
officers. Twelve months passed, and the plaintiff entered into extension of 6-month probation, during
which he was demoted. The plaintiff brought action against the defendant, requesting for an
immediate reinstatement and compensation for damages. The Supreme Court of the State of New
York denied and dismissed the complaint. The plaintiff appealed to the Appellate Division of The
Supreme Court of the State of New York.
The plaintiff Joseph Davids brought an appeal to the appellate division, because he believed
the decision of the lower court was at fault. The judgment failed to dispute any of the valid
allegations of fact that his party provided, and also it did not find the defendants actions to be
unlawful.
The plaintiff charged the defendant with the following arguments: First, the defendant NYPD
acted in bad faith and in an arbitrary and capricious manner; because they failed to abide by their
required procedure in evaluation of an officer, extension of probationary period, and demotion;
second, the plaintiffs demotion was arbitrary and capricious, and was made in bad faith. The
plaintiff, who underwent two evaluations during his probation, had not received evaluation reports in
timely manner; they came out late. In fact, since the first evaluation result was given to him, the
plaintiff had only five days to prepare for the second evaluation. Such distortion in the evaluation
procedure deprived him of proper opportunity to improve his performance, which evidently was
below the satisfactory level required by the defendant. In addition to this, the plaintiff was not
evaluated by his commanding officers; even though the department guidelines clearly provide that
evaluation of a below-standard member must to be reviewed by his or her commanding officer.
Lastly, the reasons for the extension of probationary period were found deficient. The defendant
violated provisions of Civil Service Law 20, 55, R.C.N.Y. 5.2.8 (a) which notes that any extension
of a probationary period requires the written request by the Police Commissioner to the
Commissioner of Citywide Administrative Services. The plaintiff was never provided with any
document signed by the Police Commissioner. Based on the above reasons, the lower courts
judgment must be reversed, and the plaintiff should be immediately reinstated to the rank of captain
with corresponding salary and benefits, and receive damages incurred by the demotion.
The defendant contended that the below court correctly delivered the dismissal of the
complaint: Decision to demote the plaintiff was not made in bad faith. Unless such termination was
based on constitutionally impermissible reasons or on arbitrary and capricious reasons, the
discretion to appoint and demote an officer shall not be challenged by the court. Moreover, the
plaintiffs evaluation revealed his inadequate level of performance, which in fact was not disputed by
the plaintiff. The plaintiff was indecisive, unable to produce logical answers with given information,
and lacked analytical skills and managerial skills. Upon such inadequacy, the defendant decided to
return the plaintiff to his previous lieutenant rank. The defendant did not act in bad faith, but merely
acted reasonably and objectively.
To me, the defendant party provided persuasive arguments with factual evidence that the
plaintiff lacked critical skills, which the police department expects from all captains. Clearly, the
plaintiff failed to successfully dispute this point raised by the opponent party. The basic rule of law
states that the plaintiff bears the burden of proof. The plaintiff Joseph Davids did not actively
challenge the defendants argument that the plaintiffs insufficient skills caused his own demotion. In
addition to the above supportive evidence, the defendant focused on specific issue at law, which
questioned the courts authority to intervene in the event of promoting or demoting an officer. Prior
cases determined that unless the termination of probationary employment was based on
constitutionally impermissible or capricious and arbitrary reasons, the court did not intervene.
Providing the previous legal case and decision, the defendant was able to influence the lower court
with stare decisis. The defendant also tactfully defended against the allegation of the plaintiff that
NYPDs evaluation and demotion was done in bad faith. The defendant argued that: (a) the
evaluations were conducted by inspectors whom the department deemed appropriate to carry out such
task; (b) the raters had adequate knowledge on the plaintiffs performance through witnessing and
consulting with his commanding officer; (c) regarding the extension of probation, the plaintiff
consented and the approval of the Commissioner was present; lastly, the extension was provided as
an opportunity for his benefit, during which he could have improved his skills up to the qualifying
level.
If I were the judge, I would be more convinced by the argument made by the defendant. The
party not only constructively defended the charge brought by the plaintiff, but also skillfully changed
the central issue of the case. It shifted the focus from the defendants violations of its procedure, to
the plaintiffs disqualification and incompetence discovered during his probationary period as a
captain. Thank you.