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March 04, 2015

Using evidence of alleged wrongdoing obtained by means of global-positioning equipment


Using evidence of alleged wrongdoing obtained by means of global-positioning equipment
2015 NY Slip Op 01735, Appellate Division, First Department

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission [TLC] revoked a taxi driver’s license after finding that the driver “on numerous occasions, charged passengers a rate that was double the legal rate.” The Appellate Division sustained the Commissions action.

The court noted that although the driver did not exhaust his administrative remedies because he failed to appeal Chairperson's final decision to revoke petitioner's license, he contended that the data from a global-positioning-system (GPS) device installed by the TLC as part of its Taxi Technology System without a court order was obtained in violation of the New York State Constitution and the United States Constitution.

Even had the driver exhausted his administrative remedies, said the Appellate Division, he would not prevail in his challenge to the TLC’s installation and use of the device, explaining that “Even if the installation of the device constituted a ‘search’ within the meaning of both Constitutions, the search was reasonable under the special needs exception to the warrant requirement.”

In Matter of Cunningham, 21 NY3d 515, the Court of Appeals considered the use of a Global Positioning System device to gather evidence of a state employee’s alleged misconduct [see http://publicpersonnellaw.blogspot.com/2013/06/using-global-positioning-system-device.html]. 

In Cunningham, a State agency, suspecting that a State employee was submitting false time reports, attached a global positioning system (GPS) device to the employee's personal automobile without the employee’s knowledge. Citing People v Weaver (12 NY3d 433) and United States v Jones (132 S Ct 945}, the Court of Appeals ruled that the State agency's action was a search within the meaning of the State and Federal Constitutions and “did not require a warrant” but “on the facts of this case such surveillance was  unreasonable”


The decision TLC decision is posted on the Internet at:

The Cunningham decision is posted on the Internet at:

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