Summary Judgment Granted in Andriani Case

Today, the NJ District Court issued summary judgment in the case of Angelo Andriani vs. the city of Hoboken:

  • The Court finds that Andriani’s signing of the Settlement Agreement which resulted in dismissal of the 2007 Lawsuit with prejudice is a “final judgment.” (“final judgment” for claim preclusion purposes occurred when district court approved settlement and dismissed the case).
  • Privity – the Court finds that there is privity between the Defendants in the 2011 Complaint and the Plaintiffs. First, all parties in both matters are public entities and employees involved with the operation of the Hoboken Police Department. (privity “is merely a word used to say that the relationship between the one who is a party on the record and another is close enough to include that other within the res judicata”). Second, Andriani’s Settlement Agreement, in which he discharged “the City of Hoboken, and its past and present employees, officials, and representatives, and former Mayor David Roberts and all of their respective heirs, successors and assigns” further supports the close relationship of the litigants in both actions. (Claim preclusion can be invoked “against a plaintiff . . . where there is a close or significant relationship between successive defendants.”)
  • The allegations made by Andriani in the 2011 Complaint stem from the set of underlying events were already extensively litigated through an administrative disciplinary action and a federal civil suit which resulted in a final judgment. Under the standard set out by the Third Circuit, the 2007 Lawsuit and the 2011 Complaint are undeniably based on the same cause of action. (district court “properly concluded that the case involved the same cause of action because the underlying events in both cases are the same, as the acts complained of were the same, and the evidence at the trial would have been the same.”)

In light of the foregoing, the Court finds that, even when viewing all evidence in light most favorable to non-movant, Andriani’s 2011 Complaint is barred under the doctrine of claim preclusion.

Remember Angelo Andriani?

3/24/2011 Update:

He’s the former head of the now-defunct Hoboken SWAT team who was suspended following a slew of charges regarding his conduct in command. Now he’s sitting pretty following an appeal to the state Civil Service Commission, stands to retire with a full pension – and could sue the city for millions!

Roberts started this fiasco, and Zimmer made it worse

Former Mayor David Roberts suspended Andriani with pay and started an administrative hearing after details of his lascivious SWAT team trips to Katrina-ravaged Louisiana were uncovered.

What wasn’t learned until later was Roberts was also along for the ride, along with former Police Chief Carmen LaBruno – who got to retire with a huge golden parachute from the taxpayers of Hoboken. Photos of Andriani holding guns with Hooters Girls were seen around the country.

Over two years paid vacation for Andriani, now due back pay!

Former Lieutenant Andriani enjoyed two years off with pay until reports of another incident surfaced at a Tampa Airport in January, 2010.

Mayor Dawn Zimmer used that as an excuse to fire Andriani as his hearings dragged on. It wasn’t a decision based on the power vested in her within New Jersey’s often ridiculous laws regarding public employees. It was instead designed to grab a quick headline and soundbites on the New York TV news.

At the time Hoboken411 was the ONLY place you could find a report saying Zimmer’s actions were likely to backfire on the city. Remember this?

“Sources with knowledge of New Jersey law say though Andriani has been paid all this time while suspended, he may lose the option to retire with full pension and benefits if found guilty of the most serious charges. Andriani was on the force 23 years when the charges were brought, and he needs 25 years of service to earn the full benefit of the plan.

City officials have several times been warned to be careful what they say about Andriani, who is already suing former members of his SWAT Team who are suing him and the city. As Former Mayor David Roberts learned over and over again, saying the wrong thing about city employees can lead to big lawsuit settlements and awards. Zimmer’s call for Andriani to be suspended before Internal Affairs can investigate the Tampa Airport incident could come back to haunt her, and city taxpayers.”

– Hoboken411, 1/28/2010

Zimmer fired Andriani, and a Judge reinstated him

For years a hearing prosecuted by Conflicted Councilman Ravi Bhalla’s officemate Paul Condon dragged on and on into the Andriani matter. Once it wrapped up (after Zimmer fired him) Andriani appealed. Last fall a Judge through out the dismissal and ruled a 90-day suspension was a more appropriate penalty. The Civil Service Commission then modified the suspension order to six months.

Here’s how it was reported in the CSC’s meeting minutes of February 2, 2011:

B-99 ANGELO ANDRIANI

The appeal of Angelo Andriani, a Police Lieutenant with Hoboken, of his removal, on charges, was heard by Administrative Law Judge Margaret M. Monaco, who rendered her initial decision on October 1, 2010. At its meeting on January 19, 2011, the Civil Service Commission, did not adopt the ALJ’s recommendation to modify the removal to a 90-day suspension. Rather, the Commission modified the removal to a six-month suspension. The proposed decision is now submitted the Commission’s review.

ACTION: The Civil Service Commission adopted the decision.

What does that mean? It means Andriani will have achieved the 25 years of “service” needed to get a full pension. It also means Zimmer’s move to fire him has been reversed, and the self proclaimed “Son of God” can now sue the city for wrongful termination.

Zimmer hides Andriani decision from the public

Notice how the Mayor and her $75,000 a year political operative Juan Melli didn’t issue any press release about this fiasco?

Zimmer was happy to call the New York City media in to announce she fired Andriani, but hasn’t publicly acknowledged that her Public Relations gambit backfired. Don’t be fooled by the spin.

Zimmer wanted this kept quiet, and Melli is paid to spin political gold for Zimmer, not present the truth about what’s really going on at City Hall. For that there’s only Hoboken411.

Was this a fair result, or a travesty of justice?

Andriani fired, but saga continues

Angelo Andriani is no longer an employee of the City of Hoboken.

5/12/2010 Update:

The former SWAT team commander wasn’t fired for his role in the Hoboken SWAT scandal. His exit follows a hearing on his behavior at a Florida airport, where he reportedly flashed an inactive police badge at a TSA agent. The hearing officer in that case recommended the firing, which was approved by the Police Chief, Director of Public Safety, Business Administrator and State Fiscal Monitor. Mayor Dawn Zimmer chose not to pull the trigger on Andriani herself, for whatever reason.

Andriani is gone, but the SWAT hearing drags on

Andriani can now appeal his firing to the Civil Service Commission. The hearings regarding the SWAT scandal are still without an end because Andriani’s attorney wants to bring former Mayor Dave Roberts in for a deposition and testimony. Roberts’ attorney has been fighting the request, dragging the SWAT hearing on for years with no end in sight. Meanwhile there are still the civil lawsuits that have been filed by former SWAT team members against the city and Andriani, who they claim is a white supremacist. Andriani has also filed a countersuit.

The Andriani saga isn’t over. In fact, it’s probably only halftime as this legal game drags on.

1/28/2010:

Perhaps the stress of getting paid for nothing is getting to Angelo Andriani?

Andriani Hoboken SWAT 1

Former Hoboken SWAT Commander vs. TSA Officers

The former Commander of Hoboken’s scandal-plagued SWAT Team is under fire again.

Lieutenant Angelo Andriani has been enjoying two years of suspension WITH pay while the City of Hoboken’s own administrative hearings into his conduct drag on and on and on. Now, Andriani faces a new Internal Affairs investigation following charges he caused a ruckus at Tampa International Airport. Andriani, accused in a lawsuit of telling officers in his charge that former Police Chief Carmen LaBruno “is God, and I am the Son of God,” was apparently not pleased when a flight crew was allowed to cross through Tampa International Airport security before he was.

Andriani allegedly yelled and flashed his badge

Andriani Hoboken SWAT 1 medTampa Airport Police were reportedly called to a disturbance call shortly after 9am on January 18, where they found an “irate” Andriani taking pictures of Transportation Security Administration personnel who permitted a flight crew to pass him in line at a checkpoint. A spokeswoman for the TSA is quoted as saying Andriani displayed a badge and said he was a Police Officer, though he has been suspended WITH $11,000 a month pay since he was brought up on administrative charges.

Andriani’s friend and former boss was given a Golden Parachute by former Mayor David Roberts and a City Council that was more interested in seeing LaBruno leave than launch a full investigation into his conduct in office.

Current Mayor Dawn Zimmer voted in favor of the LaBruno buyout, which included $375,000 for “unused sick pay”, a $150,000 contract termination fee, and a $146,641 a year pension for life.

City hearings continue into Andriani’s actions

Two years ago when the SWAT scandal broke, the Hoboken Labor Counsel David Corrigan on the job to investigate. The Corrigan Report paints an embarrassing picture of a SWAT Team commander given free reign by LaBruno, who stepped in to protect his pal when others complained. The report essentially says LaBruno let Lieutenant Angelo Andriani set up his own dues paying SWAT club and allowed him to do what he pleased with no benefit to the people of the City of Hoboken.

Nine Officers face administrative charges

Andriani Hoboken SWAT 5 medSince the Hudson County Prosecutor found no cause for criminal charges in the SWAT case, the city hired a judge to begin a private disciplinary hearing into Andriani’s conduct. That hearing run by the city began behind closed doors nearly two years ago, and citizens including Mo DeGenarro and Richard Tremitiedi have been complaining it’s been going on forever with no sign of conclusion. Meanwhile, outside attorneys continue to bill the city for the case.

By the way… The State is NOT running the hearing, despite an internet misinformation campaign to the contrary launched by Mayor Zimmer’s minions. It’s the city’s show, following guidelines from state law.

Zimmer’s reaction to Andriani news

After six months of sheer silence on the SWAT scandal from the Mayor’s office, Zimmer is now calling for Andriani to be brought up on new Internal Affairs charges related to the Tampa incident and suspended without pay. Zimmer issued a press release saying she “continues to demand a resolution to the outstanding SWAT team investigation.”

As Chief Executive of the city administration, Zimmer is responsible for making sure this hearing is handled properly, so it’s unclear exactly whom she is “demanding” the “resolution” from (did she forget she was Mayor?)

Zimmer’s “demand” may backfire

Sources with knowledge of New Jersey law say though Andriani has been paid all this time while suspended, he may lose the option to retire with full pension and benefits if found guilty of the most serious charges. Andriani was on the force 23 years when the charges were brought, and he needs 25 years of service to earn the full benefit of the plan. City officials have several times been warned to be careful what they say about Andriani, who is already suing former members of his SWAT Team who are suing him and the city. As Former Mayor David Roberts learned over and over again, saying the wrong thing about city employees can lead to big lawsuit settlements and awards.

Zimmer’s call for Andriani to be suspended before Internal Affairs can investigate the Tampa Airport incident could come back to haunt her, and city taxpayers.

Here is a very thorough video reminder that sums up the details of the SWAT debacle:

411 note: The Hoboken P.D. has markedly changed since the SWAT story broke

In the over two years since the SWAT scandal erupted there have been many changes in the Hoboken Police Department. Chief LaBruno retired, Liutenant Andriani was suspended, Acting Chief Lisa was briefly elevated before retiring when he didn’t get the permanent job, and most important of all, new Chief Anthony Falco has set a very different tone during his short time in office. Members of the Hoboken P.D. embarrassed by the headlines created by others have continued to serve this city with dignity and valor. The actions of a few effected an entire department, but the SWAT team has been disbanded and time marches on with new leadership.

Much more on the Hoboken SWAT debacle, including the Corrigan Report here: Swat misconduct report leaked

Hoboken NJ

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