A federal judge has dismissed a $4 million lawsuit filed by a former Kenmore police officer who claimed he was forced to retire after being in six on-duty auto crashes.
Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio said he saw no proof that Joseph Cicatello, 36, was improperly influenced by village officials to resign from his patrolman's job in October 1990.
Cicatello's lawsuit claimed that he was pressured into resigning -- without his attorney present -- after he had six on-duty accidents in his patrol car over a three-year period. He also alleged that Kenmore Police Chief Elmer A. Arnet made false promises that he would help Cicatello get a job with another police force.
Robert A. Doren, an attorney for the village, denied the allegations, saying Cicatello made his own decision.
Foschio said his examination of the facts indicated that Cicatello's resignation was "knowing and voluntary," and that an attorney was available to him. The judge said Cicatello went ahead with the resignation despite being advised not to do so by the president of the department's police union.
"While stating he believed he was coerced into (resigning), he conceded that he was not threatened in any manner by Arnet during their meeting," Foschio wrote.
Kenmore police said the department's records showed Cicatello was involved in accidents on six occasions between Nov. 6, 1987, and Aug. 29, 1990. In five of the accidents, Cicatello's patrol car rear-ended vehicles that were stopped in front of him, and in the sixth, he hit a mail box, a department spokesman said.
At the time of his resignation, the department was pressing charges against him, claiming he had shown a "manifest inability" to drive safely, and Arnet had prohibited him from driving any patrol car.
Cicatello's attorney, Barry J. Donohue, said Friday that he strongly disagrees with Foschio's decision, but does not think Cicatello will appeal. The lawyer said Cicatello made a hasty decision to retire, in part because he was upset over some matters in his personal life.
Cicatello had been a police officer since 1984. He did some private security work after losing his job, but is presently unemployed, Donohue said.