Friday, September 27, 2013

Parsippany-Troy Hills pays $10,000 to settle patrolman's suit filed in 2003

On July 24, 2013, the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills (Morris County) agreed to pay $10,000 to a former police officer who sued the Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department for allegedly wrongfully terminating and creating a hostile work environment for him.

In his suit, Michael Jasiecki described the Department as "a large but closely-knit law enforcement agency and loyalty to the Chief [Michael Filippello] and his allies is demanded if an officer wishes to progress up the promotional ladder."

Jasiecki's lawsuit, which is available at the link below, contains too many details to summarize here.  Suffice it to say that Jasiecki believed that he was victimized because he did not show properly loyalty during a criminal investigation into former Mayor Frank Priore.

Also named in the suit were Parsippany-Troy Hills Mayor Marceil Lettsa and Police Captain Anthony DeZenzo.

The case is captioned Jasiecki v. Parsippany-Troy Hills, Federal Case No. 3:03-cv-03865-PGS-DEA and Jasiecki's attorney was Gina Mendola Longarzo of Florham Park.  Case documents are on-line here.

The settlement agreement contains a confidentiality clause, which prevents the parties to the suit from publicly disclosing the settlement terms.  Fortunately, however, these confidentiality clauses do not trump the public's right to obtain copies of settlement agreements that arise out of lawsuits in which a government agency or official is a defendant.

None of Jasiecki's allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement resolution expressly states that the $10,000 payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by Parsippany-Troy Hills or any of its officials. All that is known for sure is that Parsippany-Troy Hills or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Jasiecki $10,000 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants' decision to settle was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases settle before trial--it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.