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Township Settles D'Onofrio Lawsuit Appeal with $900,000 Savings

Committee introduces ordinance to finance final $695,000 of settlement.

Warren Township successfully appealed a nearly $2.6 million judgement issued in May to settle a lawsuit brought by former Municipal Prosecutor Michelle D'Onofrio, and will pay a total of $1.73 million to settle the lawsuit.

D'Onofrio, of Long Hill, had sued the township after she was dismissed in 2007 following her complaints into the behavior of former Municipal Court Judge Richard Sasso. D'Onofrio had charged Sasso was drunk in court at times, and discriminated against women and minorities in his courtroom.

Sasso retired in 2008.

In May, a Morris County jury awarded D'Onofrio a total of $2,597,958—$1,397,958 for punitive damages and lost earnings, plus $1.2 million in legal fees. The township appealed the ruling, and negotiated a final settlement of $1.73 million.

According to Township Attorney Jeffrey Lehrer, the township's insurance coverage will pay $875,000 of the final settlement, leaving $855,000 for the township to pay directly. The township included $170,000 for the settlement in the budget, and the Township Committee introduced an ordinance to finance the remaining $685,000 over a four-year period.

The committee also passed an budget appropriation and a settlement agreement at Thursday's meeting to complete the arrangements. 

Barbara Martinelli March 16, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Such a shame. Who is watching Warren?
Susan M. March 17, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Arrogance indeed and some VERY BAD LEGAL ADVICE from attorneys who must have thought that all of NJ has the same small-minded backwards thinking that they do. Obviously a "Good Old Boys Club" law firm. Townshiip needs to fire them and hire another firm.
ldb92 March 18, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Garafola, Coley, Leffert, Krane all have to go. Bad actors who arrogantly run amok . The sad truth is that no one really cares until it effects them personally. How come the Township never wins when they are called on the actions of their "officials"?
Joe May 26, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Warren twp committee are a bunch of corrupt and disgraceful people. The entire group including the Chief of police, Leffert are corrupt.
Joe February 15, 2013 at 03:41 AM
The police Chief, Leffert, the Township Administrator and the entire police union are all corrupt. Garafola is as corrupt as they come, they kept the same members in the town council for years. Leffert has lied under oath along with others on the police force. They have covered up dui from an officer within the department that crashed his vehicle and changed the report. The Chief drives around in a township unmarked vehicle owned by the township going out and drinking and driving. The sad part is he is not the only one as another does all the time. Officers within the department drink on duty. Warren Twp shouldn't have to stand for the corruption within the police department and the township, they are a disgrace to the public.

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