Sunday, January 15, 2017

JIF picks up tab in Assemblyman's $50,000 settlement.

On January 12, 2017, I wrote an article about Assemblyman Paul D. Moriarty settling his lawsuit against Washington Township (Gloucester County) Patrol Officer Joseph DiBuonaventura for $50,000.  In the article, I stated that it was "unclear whether the $50,000 was paid for by DiBuonaventura, Washington Township or the Township's insurance carrier."

Yesterday, Mr. DiBuonaventura reached out to me and waived confidentiality to two September 13, 2016 letters from his attorney, Robert A. Baxter, revealing that the $50,000 was paid by the Tri-County Joint Insurance Fund which insures Washington Township.  DiBuonaventura also told me that the settlement was paid without his consent and that if he had been given an opportunity, he would have fought the settlement and required Moriarty to prove his case in court.

I don't fully understand why the Township's insurer paid the $50,000.  On March 30, 2015, the court dismissed Moriarty's case against the Township and against DiBuonaventura acting "in his official capacity."  According to an April 11, 2015 Philadelphia Inquirer article, the dismissal did not affect Moriarty's case against DiBuonaventura in his "individual capacity" and William C. Popjoy, III, Moriarty's attorney, is quoted as having said "Certainly, the federal court is recognizing our ability to go after Officer DiBuonaventura directly."

If the March 30, 2015 order ended the Township's (and thus the JIF's) responsibility to pay Moriarty, why did the JIF ultimately pay?