Demoted Police Captain's Claim of Procedural Defects

In Davids v. City of New York (Sup Ct, New York County 2009), the petitioner, a probationary police captain, argued that the respondents' "failure to follow their own procedures is evidence of bad faith sufficient to warrant annulling the determination to demote him." Specifically, the petitioner alleged that his raters emphasized the wrong set of criteria, his evaluations were untimely, and "the failure of his commanding officer to serve as reviewer for either evaluation undermines the 'specific reason' that the petitioner believes AG 314-01 requires the commanding officer to review below competent evaluations . . . 'the ratee's direct superior who is most capable of determining the ratee's actual performance" (id). In opposition, respondents argued that such procedural defects did not suffice to demonstrate bad faith. The Court in Davids noted that the petitioner "received below-competent scores on his evaluations, and the Respondents' witnesses . . . provided affidavits that buttress the evaluations' conclusions." Thus, the evidence of poor performance indicated that the respondents acted in good faith when they demoted the petitioner. "Consequently, Petitioner must offset the evidence of good faith with sufficiently persuasive evidence of bad faith," the Court explained. The petitioner failed to meet his burden. He offered no evidence to substantiate his claim that his raters attached too much weight to inappropriate criteria, and the Court determined that the "remaining asserted procedural defects (the evaluation's timing, the commanding officer's failure to serve as reviewer, and the reviewers' failure to sign the evaluations before the petitioner received his copy) are insufficient to demonstrate bad faith, particularly in light of evidence that Petitioner performed poorly. Indeed, even where Respondents breached the Guidelines' text, they substantially upheld its purposes." The Court in Davids went on to deny and dismiss the Petition.