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    Police-Fire Reports
    Sunday, March 26, 2023

    City of Norwich settles lawsuit with terminated police officer

    Norwich — The City of Norwich agreed Tuesday morning to pay $1.25 million to resolve a civil lawsuit brought by former police patrolman Douglas Morello as a Superior Court jury was set to begin deliberating.

    Morello, 49, an officer of 16½ years, had claimed he was fired in violation of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act because he was mentally disabled and the department failed to make reasonable accommodations for his disability.

    His attorney, Jacques J. Parenteau, put the terms of the agreement on the record this morning after Judge Leeland J. Cole-Chu released a jury that had listened to nine days of testimony and was about to begin deliberations.

    The city will pay $800,000 to an insurance company that will set up a "non-qualified assignment" in which Morello will receive $3,333 a month for the next 20 years or the rest of his life. The payments, Parenteau said, will "for all intents and purposes replace Morello's pension."

    The city will pay $425,000 to Parenteau's firm for legal fees and costs. The city also will return to Morello $102,526 that he had contributed to his pension.

    The parties agreed the settlement represents damages and interest for loss of reputation, emotional distress and loss of pension, Parenteau said.

    Morello and the city, which was represented by attorney Matthew E. Auger of the Suisman Shapiro law firm, agreed that the only public comment they will make about the case is that "it has been settled to the satisfaction of all parties, and that Mr. Morello agrees not to reapply to the city in the future," Parenteau said on the record.

    Morello, who had testified at the trial along with psychiatrists, police Chief Louis J. Fusaro, union representatives and police supervisors and officers, told the judge that he understands and accepts the agreement. Auger said the city would be released from all obligations once the money is received by the insurance company that will serve as the broker.

    The city had contended that Morello, who was suspended and investigated after a woman reported he had followed her on several occasions, was terminated because he posed a threat to others based on a pattern of behavior that he is likely to repeat.

    Morello said he was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and symptoms of obsession and compulsion, and that, as a result of his termination, was unable to find similar work and provide for his son and mother.

    During the trial, his attorney had elicited testimony from officers who told of other more "favored" employees being transferred to desk duty, court duty or assigned a patrol partner after they suffered physical or mental problems.


    Twitter: @KFLORIN

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