Monday, April 20, 2015

Nutley lawsuits: Various allegations including police sergeant's claim that deputy police chief struck him in the eye with "pink breast cancer plastic duck."

Alphonse Petracco
Mayor of Nutley
On March 24, 2015, I blogged about a retired Nutley police officer's acceptance of $40,000 to settle his lawsuit against Mayor Alphonse Petracco, who the officer claimed was on a power trip and lived "above the law."

After posting the blog, I searched for other lawsuits arising out of Nutley, just to see what I would find.  The results are in:

Lamond v. Nutley, et al, Docket No. ESX-L-8109-13.  Police Sergeant Christopher Lamond also paints Mayor Petracco as a power tripper. The gist of Lamond's complaint is that he became a persona non grata to Mayor Petracco after he attended a fundraiser for Nutley Commissioner Mauro Tucci, who is described as a competitor of Petracco's.  The allegations, which are numerous, include "a very humiliating and degrading moment" when Deputy Police Chief Paul Moscolo, who was allegedly "a close ally of Petracco," threw a "pink breast cancer plastic duck" that injured Lamond's left eye.  Among other claims is Petracco's alleged withholding of Lamond's promotion to lieutenant unless Lamond "succumbed to "Petracco's threats to influence others to vote for/promote [Petracco's] 'favorites.'"  Lamond's civil complaint is on-line here.

Nutley has filed a motion for summary judgment which is scheduled to be heard by Judge Dennis F. Carey at 9 a.m. on May 29, 2015.  Nutley paints Lamond as a disgruntled employee with exaggerated claims.  The Township's brief claims, for instance, that the "rubber ducky" was tossed at Lamond "in a playful manner."

Lamond is being represented by Patrick P. Toscano of Caldwell who Judge Carey disqualified from the case on December 19, 2014, citing a "conflict of interest and appearance of impropriety."  Judge Carey then reversed himself on March 6, 2015 and allowed Toscano to continue as Lamond's lawyer. Both of Carey's orders are on-line here.

Rusignuolo v. Nutley, et al, Docket No. ESX-L-4018-13.  Retired Nutley Police Officer Frank Rusignuolo claims that Deputy Fire Chief Paul Cafone worked to prevent Resignuolo's commercial tenant from getting a permit to set up a hair salon in Rusignuolo's building.  Rusignuolo claims that Cafone was motivated to obstruct the permit's issuance because the tenant was vacating Cafone's building in order to occupy Rusignuolo's.  The civil complaint is on-line here and the matter is scheduled to be tried before Judge Carey on July 6, 2015.

Pace v. Nutley et al, Docket No. ESX-L-5518-13.  Plaintiffs Anthony and Diane Pace allege that Police Lieutenants Kevin Watts and "Neri" and Officers Gerard Tusa and "Vitale" "perpetrated numerous acts of physical violence" against Anthony Pace during an October 18, 2012 call to the couple's home.  The civil complaint is on-line here and the matter is scheduled to be tried before Judge Carey on September 8, 2015.

Truchan v. Nutley et al, Docket No. ESX-L-8750-14.  Plaintiff Anthony Truchan claims that Officers Joseph Stewart, Andrew Van Dorn and "Rodriguez" applied excessive force against him on November 24, 2013 when his estranged wife Grace invited them into their home to serve him with a Temporary Restraining Order.  He claims that the officers "forcibly twisted" his arms and caused his "head to come into contact with walls as [Police] escorted him outside and into the police vehicle." The civil complaint is on-line here and the matter has been transferred to federal court.