Napoli Shkolnik PLLC files $50 million lawsuit against Suffolk County

·4 min read

Suit Alleges Defendant Waverly Lucas suffered personal, physical and emotional injuries and the violation of his civil rights

NEW YORK, August 09, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Heather M. Palmore, Chief Trial Counsel with Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, a nationally known litigation firm, has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the County of Suffolk, the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office on behalf of Mr. Waverly Lucas. The suit alleges that Mr. Lucas suffered personal, physical and emotional injuries and the violation of his civil rights sustained when he was subjected to the use of excessive force by police who violently pulled off his prosthetic leg and unlawfully searched his vehicle on August 18, 2021.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Case: 2:22-cv-04663), and as the video of the incident confirms, two white police officers with the SCPD unlawfully detained and arrested Mr. Lucas while he was on his way to the Little Store connected to the Gulf Gas Station located at 1373 Straight Path, Wyandanch, New York.

"Mr. Waverly clearly had his rights violated by Suffolk County Police who had no reason to attack him other than the color of his skin," Palmore said. "We are holding the County of Suffolk, the Suffolk County Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office each responsible for their lack of training in interacting with disabled citizens and for failing to treat Mr. Lucas with the dignity that we all deserve regardless of origin or race."

The lawsuit contends that a police vehicle made a U-turn and pulled up next to Mr. Lucas at the Gulf Gas Station where one of the officers stopped him from walking into the store and demanded that he provide his identification without reason, warning or provocation. When Mr. Lucas asked the officer why he needed to produce identification, and without receiving a response to the question, he was falsely accused of urinating in public.

The officer then lunged at Mr. Lucas and put him in an illegal chokehold, grabbed his arms and wrenched them. After pulling his arms and securing them with handcuffs, Mr. Lucas was picked up and shoved towards the police vehicle.

Mr. Lucas is an amputee and does not have full range of motion in his right leg. Rather than adjusting to this circumstance in their attempt to properly place him in the patrol car, the police officers became enraged and elbowed Mr. Lucas in the eye fracturing his right orbital and then violently ripped off his prosthetic leg and threw it into the trunk of the police vehicle. Mr. Lucas immediately experienced extreme and excruciating pain, and as a result, requested medical attention. The officers transported Mr. Lucas to the Suffolk County Police Department where an ambulance was waiting.

The paramedic noticed Mr. Lucas was still holding the car key in his hand when he was being examined in the ambulance and notified police. Without engaging in any de-escalation techniques or simply asking Mr. Lucas for the key, they tackled him to the floor of the ambulance and forcefully took the key. Mr. Lucas returned from the hospital later without treatment or as much as being examined by a doctor.

The officers then went back to the gas station and unlawfully searched the vehicle without probable cause and without consent. In the vehicle, the officers discovered Mr. Lucas' Oxycodone prescription medication. The officers unlawfully seized his medication and brought it back to the precinct. Mr. Lucas was processed and given a Desk Appearance Ticket to appear in Court. It was not until hours later that Mr. Lucas learned that his charges were associated with his Oxycodone prescription medication and not associated with his arrest.

Mr. Lucas returned to Good Samaritan Hospital where he was diagnosed with a severely fractured orbital bone, swollen wrists, injuries to multiple body parts and ordered a new prosthetic for him to replace the prosthetic that taken by the officers. Mr. Lucas never has recovered the missing prosthetic.

About Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC

Napoli Shkolnik is a national law firm that represents victims across the country in complex litigation, arbitration, and mediation related to a number of practice areas, including personal injury, medical malpractice, environmental racism and civil rights litigation.

The firm recently secured landmark verdicts in the Flint Water Crisis litigation; the New York jury opioid trial, in which many ‘Big Pharma’ companies were found liable in the state’s deadly opioid crisis; and the national opioid trial taking place Ohio where national pharmacy chains were confirmed to have fueled the opioid epidemic by flooding communities with painkillers.

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Jason Ysais
Consumer Attorney Public Relations
P: 818-330-8878