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NYS Supreme Court Rules that Sea Cliff Violated Resident's Fourth Amendment Rights

Jul 23, 2012Local Government and Land UseProfessional Responsibility

Seacliff resident Anthony Losquadro took on Village Hall and won. In October of 2010 a neighbor complained to the village that Losquadro’s dog was constantly whining and barking. According to court documents, Sea Cliff Building inspector Andrew Lawrence visited Losquadro’s property to look into the complaint. Losquadro informed the Village that it had no right to search his property without a warrant or his consent, and asked the Village to refrain from doing so, but the Village threatened that it would continue to do so.

In the case heard before the New York State Supreme Court, Losquadro filed suit against the village for unlawful search, and to challenge the Village Code provision allowing the Village to enter private property without a warrant.

The buildings department issued numerous violations against Losquadro for construction of a chain link fence, a shed and a dog run. During the court proceedings, Sea Cliff argued that Village code allowed them to gain access to the property. However, Losquadro’s attorney, A. Thomas Levin, a partner with the Garden City Law Firm, Meyer Suozzi English & Klein, P.C. argued that the village had violated Losquadro’s fourth amendment right which protected him from illegal searches.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Steven M. Jaeger agreed with Losquadro, and ruled that the Village Code violated the United States and New York State constitutions.

“It is unconscionable that Sea Cliff Village code can be at odds with the United States and New York State constitutions,” said Levin. “We tried to explain to the Village, that their codes could not usurp the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, but unfortunately they felt that their parochial view was wiser than that of the U.S. Supreme Court.”

“My client is gratified that the New York State Supreme Court has protected his rights, and the rights of all other village and Long Island residents and will protect them against overzealous enforcement of regulations, even if to do so they need to trample over our nation’s constitution.”

Acting Supreme Court Justice Steven M. Jaeger next will be asked to require the Village to pay Losquadro’s legal bills.