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$3 Million Awarded For Boy’s False Arrest

The City Housing Authority was held liable yesterday for $3 million in damages by a Manhattan jury for the false arrest and malicious prosecution of an 11-year-old boy two months after a personal injury claim had been brought on his behalf.

The award to Thomas D. Lewis, now 17, resulted from misdemeanor charges filed against him in May 1984 after the Housing Authority learned of the injury action involving the boy’s falling down an elevator shaft at the Frederick Douglass housing project on Columbus Avenue. Richard Godosky, the plaintiff’s attorney, said evidence submitted during the trial showed that the agency believed the filing of the charges would be “helpful” in defense of the injury action, which has settled for an undisclosed amount.

The charges, criminal trespass and mischief involving tampering with an elevator, were later dismissed in Family Court, Mr. Godosky said. The Housing Authority was represented by Michael Horowitz of Gilroy, Downes & Horowitz. Supreme Court Justice John Dier, a visiting justice from Lake George, presided over the trial.