MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ -- Borough officials adopted a resolution at the Sept. 15 council meeting approving a $2.45 million settlement of a lawsuit filed against the borough by five police officers and a part-time dispatcher. Plaintiffs alleged multiple incidents of harassment (that frequently involved a large, blue dildo) by long-time police officers in the lawsuit, which was filed on May 11, 2018.
According to the resolution passed by the council, the $2.45 million settlement will be completely covered by the borough’s insurance and will be shared by the six borough employees, police officers Christopher Feighner, Richard Latargia, Thomas Norton, Jeffrey Stinner, James Urban, and part-time dispatcher Amy Colineri and their attorney Charles Sciarra of Sciarra & Catrambone, LLC.
The agreement is attached to the Resolution and can be found here.
According to the settlement agreement, the borough “denies all of the allegations asserted by Plaintiffs via the Action and denies that it violated any law, rule, or regulation or committed any wrongdoing whatsoever against Plaintiffs.”
The lawsuit described a number of allegedly inappropriate actions by borough employees, including Borough Administrator James Debbie (a former chief of the department), Police Chief Allan Attanasio, Mountainside Police Detective Andrew Huber, and Mountainside Police Lt. Thomas Murphy.
Both Officers Murphy and Huber were placed on Administrative Leave of Absence when the details of the lawsuit were made public, according to a statement posted on the borough website at the time. On July 24, 2018, borough officials announced that Murphy was suspended without pay, and Huber and Attanasio had submitted their retirement papers. Following his suspension, Murphy was off the payroll and, as of July 20, 2018, Huber and Attanasio were no longer on the brought’s payroll, according to published reports.
The settlement document states, “Plaintiffs Stinner and Latargin agree to never apply for any promotional opportunity available within the Borough’s Police Department for the remainder of their tenure as Borough employees, and to never seek any other employment position within the Borough.”