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Random Notes on NJ Government

Arbitrator awards Penns Grove patrolman $131K

A July 16, 2018 order signed by Salem County Superior Court Judge Jean S. Chetney affirmed an arbitrator’s May 9, 2018 award of $120,000 plus $11,169.99 in interest in favor of a Penns Grove patrolman, but a deficiency notice issued by the court complains that Judge Chetney’s order is deficient because it “does not state as to whom the Judgment is entered against.”

The award arose out of a 2016 lawsuit filed by Patrolman George Manganaro against the Borough of Penns Grove, the Penns Grove-Carneys Point Regional School District, Mayor John A. Washington, fromer Board of Education member Walter Hudson and former Council member Jeanette R. Jackson.  In his lawsuit, Manganaro claimed that Hudson, Jackson and Washington “attacked and assaulted” him at Penns Grove Middle School on July 10, 2014.  According to a July 13, 2015 news article, Manganaro was at a middle school basketball game to investigate underage drinking when Hudson allegedly confronted him and twice threw him to the floor of the gym.  According to the article, Hudson was sentenced to three years probation as a result of a plea deal that resolved the charges brought against him.

The arbitrator’s handwritten report noted that “Walter Hudson, individually” is 100% liable for the “pain and suffering” that Manganaro claimed to have experienced.    Also, a series of summary judgment orders show that the borough, the school district, Washington and Jackson were dismissed from the suit and that all counter-claims and cross-claims against Manganaro were also dismissed.  Accordingly, it appears that Hudson is the only party against whom judgment could have been entered.

The arbitrator’s report also noted that the $120,000 award “includes repayment of WC (workers compensation) lien of $48,500.”

As a separate matter, according to a November 29, 2017 Philadelphia Inquirer article, Manganaro was suspended from the department after having been charged with aggravated assault for allegedly “kicking an individual in the face while handcuffed.” 

By John Paff

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project