Ohdan v. City of New York – Case Brief Summary (New York)

In Ohdan v. City of New York, 268 A.D.2d 86, 706 N.Y.S.2d 419 (First Dept 2000), defendants City of New York and traffic enforcement agent Audrey Jolly were sued for personal injuries suffered by plaintiff when Agent Jolly, in performing her duties of ticketing illegally parked cars and ordering those cars to move, ordered Mr. Rodriguez to move the car he was sitting in.

Mr. Rodriguez did not know how to operate an automobile and attempted to tell Agent Jolly that he could not obey her orders. He spoke only Spanish and rather than trying to understand what he was saying, Agent Jolly yet again ordered him to move the car.

When he eventually moved the car, he caused it to crash into a storefront and injured several individuals.

The First Department in Ohdan explained that:

"plaintiff does not premise her negligence claim on Jolly's discretionary decision to ask the illegally parked drivers on that block to move their cars...nor on the absence of a policy requiring traffic officers to inquire first whether the occupant of the car could drive. Rather, plaintiff alleges that Jolly's negligence consisted of harassing Rodriguez and ignoring his protests without making any effort to find out what he was saying. Such unprofessional behavior clearly does not fall within the range of discretionary decisions immunized by public policy." Id. at 95.