A $388,026 judgment won by a state court officer for mental anguish she said she suffered by being escorted out of a state courthouse and to her home to surrender her three permitted handguns was upheld by an appeals court Thursday.
The Appellate Division, Third Department, panel ruled that Officer Colleen Casey effectively proved her claim of false imprisonment by the public way she was made to hand over her personal weapons in 2009 under a directive by court administrators while she was assigned to Troy City Court.
The officer had a history of abusive relationships with men, according to the ruling by the state Court of Claims (NYLJ, June 30, 2015). The manual guiding court officers’ conduct allows court officials to require officers to turn over personal weapons.
Contrary to state contentions, Casey did not resist orders or was so “noncompliant” or “distraught” that her treatment by senior court officers was justified, the panel ruled in Casey v. State of New York, 522195. Supervisors of senior officers are not authorized to use “confinement or force to compel a subordinate to comply with an order,” according to the ruling written by Justice Elizabeth Garry.
Justices John Egan Jr., Eugene Devine, Christine Clark and Sharon Aarons joined in the ruling, which upheld Court of Claims’ Judge Judith Hard. She found Casey suffered mental anguish and lost wages by the way she was forced to comply.
Casey was represented in both courts by Kevin Luibrand of Latham, who said Thursday that with interest, Casey’s monetary award has now grown to a total of $507,910.
Assistant attorney general Brian Ginsberg argued for the state.