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Mar 25, 2015 10:39 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Portions Of Police Officer's Lawsuit Dismissed In Court

Mar 25, 2015 11:26 AM

A federal judge last week dismissed several claims made in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit brought by Southampton Town Police Lieutenant James Kiernan against members of the Town Board and the department’s former chief, William Wilson Jr.

The court dismissed charges claiming conspiracy on the part of the Town Board and former Chief Wilson, and that they had used their authority to retaliate against Lt. Kiernan for refusing to use political connections to garner support for Chief Wilson’s recommended reorganizations of the Town Police hierarchy and management systems.

The dismissals were largely based on technicalities. District Court Judge Sandra J. Feurstein agreed with a federal magistrate judge, A. Kathleen Thomlinson, who wrote an opinion last month that Mr. Kiernan’s counsel had failed to offer sufficient supporting evidence for the claims of retaliation, conspiracy and infringement of the lieutenant’s First and 14th Amendment rights to free speech and free association.

“It says that they failed to allege that the retaliation was under the color of state law—she’s saying they didn’t even make the allegation,” Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato said of the ruling. “We often are successful with those types of motions to dismiss. It’s a technicality of sorts, but they do lose those claims.”

The town’s defense of the lawsuit, which seeks $7.5 million in damages, is being handled by attorneys from Cullen & Dykman LLP, a Garden City law firm, and paid for by the town’s municipal insurance.

Lt. Kiernan’s attorney, Jason Abelove, could not be reached for comment on the recent ruling.

Judge Feurstein left intact the remaining claims of the lawsuit, including the claim that Lt. Kiernan’s constitutional rights had been compromised when he was denied due consideration for promotions because of the actions of the Town Board and his former superior, and that their actions against him had caused pain and suffering.

The claims in the lawsuit focus on the circumstances leading up to Lt. Kiernan’s six-month suspension, following Mr. Wilson’s filing of more than 30 misconduct charges against him. It claims that the charges, and the suspension by the Town Board, were retaliation for Lt. Kiernan, who was a longtime Republican Party committeeman, refusing to use his political connections to sway members of the Town Board in favor of Mr. Wilson’s hiring as police chief and approval of his proposed overhauling of the police department’s internal command structure.

In the lawsuit, Lt. Kiernan alleges that the ordeal of his six-month suspension, which ended the same week that Chief Wilson announced his retirement from the post after just 18 months as the head of the department, caused him and his family much embarrassment and that his personal health suffered from the stress.

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Could there be a more egregious example of shameless avarice? Here's someone who committed professional misconduct involving illegal use of narcotics that was judged to be a "termination offense" by an independent expert but who was, nonetheless, given a "get-out-of-jail free" card by his Republican party colleagues on the town board, and who now bites the collusive hand that fed him in an attempt to suck even more money from the town.

What to bet that, when he retires, he will be "disabled" ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Mar 26, 15 12:12 PM
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