LITIGATION (Updated Feb 2015. For some older SVP cases, go here)
State Court Litigation
Carlos Vasquez v. City of New York Carlos Vasquez, originally from Puerto Rico, sells fruit and vegetables from a pushcart in downtown Manhattan. In 2011, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“DOHMH”) refused to renew Carlos’ food vending permit, which he needs to legally operate his business, because he turned in his renewal application after the deadline. In fact, Carlos had submitted his application a month before the deadline but the DOHMH mistakenly thought it was incomplete and therefore did not accept it. SVP filed an Article 78 proceeding in the New York Supreme Court and the DOHMH then agreed to settle the case and reissue Carlos his food vending permit.
Read the complaint
Sabul Hussain v. City of New York The ECB fined Sabul Hussain, a hot dog vendor, $1,000 for a ticket issued in 2004. However, the police officer who wrote the ticket never actually gave it to Sabul and he first found out about the ticket in 2008. Sabul repeatedly asked for a hearing to dispute the ticket but the Environmental Control Board (“ECB”) refused. SVP had no choice but to file an Article 78 proceeding in the New York State Supreme Court. The judge ruled that Sabul had a right to a hearing to contest the ticket. SVP then appeared at the ECB for a hearing, after which the ticket was dismissed.
Read the judge’s decision
Abdurraheem, et al. v. Beddoe, et al. In 2012, SVP filed a class action lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court after learning that the City was fining vendors more than the maximum legal amount for tickets they received from the NYPD and DOHMH. The City agreed to settle the case and refund approximately $228,000 to vendors who overpaid their fines as a result of the City’s miscalculations.
Read the New York Post coverage
Ahmed Hassan v. City of New York Hassan had only been working for one month when his food cart was inspected by the DOHMH. The inspector asked him for a copy of the vending permit. Ahmed knew the permit paper was on the pushcart but didn’t know the exact location. By the time he found it, the health inspector had issued Ahmed a ticket for $1,000 because he didn’t produce it “upon demand.” This ticket was upheld at an administrative proceeding at the ECB. SVP brought an Article 78 proceeding challenging the decision. The court ruled in favor of Ahmed, calling the decision of the ECB “arbitrary and capricious.”
Read the judge’s decision
Federal Court Litigation
Sheikh Faisal v. City of New York Faisal is a food vendor who has sold hot dogs in Soho for more than ten years. In 2009, two NYPD officers approached Sheikh,gave him three tickets for allegedly vending too close to the crosswalk, and then unlawfully seized his vending pushcart and all of the contents. SVP filed a civil rights case against the officers and the City of New York in the Southern District of New York. The City agreed to settle the case by paying Shekih $9,000 to compensate for his lost food, damage to his cart, and days of missed work.
See a picture of Sheikh
Mrigle, et al. v. City of New York Abdelliah Mrigle and Adel Sayed had worked on a food cart at 29th Street and Broadway for more than five years. In 2010, several NYPD officers began a campaign of illegal enforcement, including writing tickets, threats of arrest, and illegal orders to close their food cart, in order to get them to move from their legal vending location. After several NYPD officers arrested Abdelliah, SVP filed a civil rights lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against the arresting officers and City of New York, for the unlawful arrest. The City settled the case by paying Abdelliah and Adel $26,000.
Co-Counsel O’Melveny & Meyers LLP
Read the complaint
Marie-Rose Goba v. City of New York
In 2013, SVP member Marie Rose Goba was arrested for selling mangoes on 28th Street in Manhattan. The police officer claimed she was vending without a license when in fact, Marie Rose had a copy of her license with her and showed it to the officer. SVP filed a civil rights case against the arresting officer, and City of New York, for the unlawful arrest. The City agreed to settle the case by paying Marie-Rose $13,000.00.
See a picture of Marie-Rose
Wagner, et. al. v. City of New York SVP has filed a civil rights case against an NYPD officer and the City of New York on behalf of two vendors, Hakim Abdurraheem and Lawrence Wagner, regarding their 2012 arrest for selling allegedly counterfeit “I Love NY” t-shirts. Hakim and Larry are both disabled veterans who were arrested even though they had no idea the shirts they were selling may have been counterfeit (a necessary element of the crime). Additionally, the arresting officers deprived Hakim and Larry of their cane and wheelchair, respectively, while detained. The case is currently pending in the Southern District of New York.
Read the NY Times coverage of their arrest
Yuhua Liu v. City of New York
Yuhua Liu is a Chinese immigrant and street vendor who draws caricatures on the sidewalks near Times Square. In 2013, he was arrested when a police officer claimed one of his drawings was touching the sidewalk. Yuhua was acquitted of the charges at a criminal trial. SVP has filed a civil rights lawsuit in the SDNY for the unlawful arrest.
Read what Gothamist had to say about Liu’s criminal case