Richard Greenberg, a Mount Laurel, NJ man, says his two year old Nissan Maxima was still humming when he dropped it off for a basic oil change. The total bill to change its high - quality synthetic oil should have been $62. Unfortunately, Mr. Greenberg ended up with a bill twice double that amount - and a car that was no longer running. When he attempted to protest the service, he was visited by a state trooper at his home, who then arrested him until he paid the outstanding bill.
Last week, a New Jersey appeals court ruled that Mr. Greenberg has a right to a trial to attempt to demonstrate that he was falsely arrested and held on Feb. 22, 2007.
Greenberg, 60, an insurance agent, said in an interview this week that Trooper Nicholas Pryszlak accused him of passing a bad check and "came into my home, put me against a wall, searched me and handcuffed me."
After being transported to a state police barracks in Bordentown, Greenberg said, he was chained to a bench and taunted by Sgt. Steven M. Jones. Jones resigned last year after admitting during an unrelated internal investigation that he took $7,000 worth of gasoline from a state pump for his personal use.
The appeals court reversed Superior Court Judge Evan H.C. Crook, who last year dismissed Greenberg's complaint against the state police; the trooper; the sergeant; Oil Station Inc., a Hainesport oil and lube service shop; and Peter Moran Jr., its owner. Greenberg is seeking unspecified damages and also claiming civil rights violations.
Greenberg said that he had tried to explain to the trooper that he stopped payment on a check paid to an Oil Station mechanic because Pep Boys workers told him the car battery posts had been snapped, apparently during servicing. Greenberg later mailed Moran a replacement check for $31 - with a note explaining why - and got it back ripped in half, according to the court ruling.
Moran, who has owned the Route 38 auto shop since 1988, enclosed a note saying Greenberg should pay the full bill or he would go to small claims court.
Moran said in an interview that he had called police, but Greenberg's arrest "wasn't my intention." He summoned police because he felt he should be paid. "It was my position we didn't do anything wrong," Moran said. The car had a "preexisting condition."
CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS - BROAD DEFINITIONS
While there is a wide range of police misconduct that can be considered a civil rights violation, rudeness, harassment, and antagonism are not among them. However, according to Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242 it is not necessary for the victim to demonstrate that anyone acting under the color of law was motivated by the victim's the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin to prove a civil rights violation.
We have successfully represented numerous clients who have had their civil rights violated by law enforcement. While we recognize that most police offices have a positive influence on our communities. Our attorneys are committed to holding problem officers and complacent police departments responsible for their actions.
CONTACT OUR NEW JERSEY POLICE MISCONDUCT LAWYERS
Contact the Law Offices of Mallon and Tranger if you have any questions about filing a civil rights violation. We have offices in Freehold, Point Pleasant and Toms River to serve clients in Ocean or Monmouth counties. Our attorneys can be reached by phone at 732-702-0333 or toll free at 732-702-0333 or by contacting us online.