On October 15, 2009, Plainfield resident Chauncey Scott and his parents, Ernest Scott and Donna Scott, accepted $7,500 in settlement of their lawsuit against Dunellen Borough and its police department.

The lawsuit, filed in State Court in early 2008, is vague. It alleges only that that Dunellen engaged in unspecified acts of misconduct against Chauncey Scott on February 22, 2006. While most such complaints recite specific details regarding the alleged misconduct, this one does not. The complaint was drafted by the Scotts’ lawyer, Gerald Gordon of New Brunswick.

The lawsuit and settlement agreement are on-line here.

None of the Scotts’ allegations–whatever they are–have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by the Borough or any of its officers. All that is known for sure is that Dunellen, and perhaps its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that they would rather pay the Scotts and their lawyer $7,500 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps Dunellen’s decision to settle was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and Dunellen wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases settle before trial–it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]