Case Against NYPD for Fatal Shooting of Clients’ Dog, Lola, Survives Summary Judgment Motion


BLH successfully opposed a summary judgment motion seeking to prevent trial in a tragic case against NYPD Officers who shot and killed BLH clients’ dog, Lola. Mr. Azurdia fell asleep while in the process of retrieving cab fare from his apartment after leaving his ID with the driver as collateral. The driver called the police and Officers Germain and Toribio arrived at Plaintiffs’ apartment door and knocked. When Mr. Azurdia opened the door with his dog Lola by his side, Officer Germain immediately began shooting at Lola in the doorway, in the area where Mr. Azurdia was standing, and down the hallway as Lola fled. Mr. Azurdia was arrested on theft of services and prosecuted based on the police report created by Officer Toribio that falsely stated he refused to pay his cab fare. Meanwhile, Ms. Chibbaro was left to take Lola to the veterinarian where she succumbed to her injuries.


Judge Allyne Ross of the Eastern District of New York denied summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ unreasonable seizure, conversion, and fair trial claims, and granted summary judgment in part and denied in part on Plaintiffs’ negligence claims. The Court further denied qualified immunity to Officer Germain on Plaintiff’s unreasonable seizure claim and to Officer Toribio on Plaintiff’s fair trial claim. The Court found genuine disputes of material fact existed as to Lola’s behavior when Mr. Azurdia answered the door and the reasonableness of the Officers’ response. The Court also upheld Plaintiff’s fair trial claim, finding no bar to the claim based on an ACD following the Second Circuit decision in Smalls v. Collins. The Court also upheld a negligent infliction of emotional distress claim as to Mr. Azurdia on a zone of danger theory.


New York Law Journal


Contact: Marc A. Cannan – mcannan@blhny.com

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