Traffic agent suing Halloran

A $2 million lawsuit is the latest move in a series of confrontations between a traffic agent and a local City Councilmember.
The traffic agent, Daniel Chu, wants to take Councilmember Dan Halloran to court for defamation with “false reports” that he drove recklessly with police lights while talking on a cell phone, court papers say. In his slander and libel defamation notice of claim, Chu called Halloran’s charges “maliciously false statements,” as first reported by the Daily News.
Halloran, who is also a practicing lawyer, said the lawsuit is “completely frivolous.” He said that in order to win a defamation suit, Chu had to plead with particularity that what was said isn’t true, had to show actual damage, or be a citizen whose privacy rights were violated.
“Nothing I said is not true,” said Halloran. Later, Chu allegedly admitted to the charges of talking on his cell phone and driving at excessive speeds with the lights on to get coffee during a disciplinary hearing and was disciplined and ordered to undergo sensitivity training by the NYPD.
Since Chu retained his job after undergoing retraining and discipline by the NYPD and as a traffic agent is a public figure, Halloran said there is no way for the lawsuit to go forward.
Michael Berkely, the lawyer representing Chu, said he is “not making any more comments.”
The dispute started when Halloran saw Chu driving at high speeds through traffic, with police lights on, while talking on a cell phone, only to park illegally in front of a Dunkin’ Donuts to get coffee. The Councilmember said he followed Chu and got out of his car to take pictures of Chu’s vehicle.
Halloran said that when Chu came out, he was “irate,” and wrote the Councilmember a summons that has since been dismissed by a judge for not being credible.
“I’m sure it’s not the last of him,” said Halloran, who also said Chu recently ticketed a woman who was trying to fix a flat tire.
“This just shows that this guy just doesn’t get it.”

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