Calvo v. City of New York, 14 civ 7246 (VEC) – and – DeCastro v. City of New York, 16 civ 03850 (RA) SDNY
For years, the City of New York and the TLC routinely seized automobiles that it suspected were operating for-hire without a license. They did so without a warrant, without a pre-seizure hearing, and without judicial imprimatur of any kind. It would then hold the vehicles effectively for ransom until the owner pleaded guilty and paid a fine posted a cash bond insuring they could pay a fine if found in violation of the City law. On a motion for summary judgment, Judge Caproni held that the City's practice violated the Fourth Amendment and denied the vehicle owners due process of law.