HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — A pair of linked lawsuits alleging police harassment and retaliation against a pair of brothers were recently dismissed in state and federal courts, court records show. There was no settlement in either matter.
In a statement, township police Chief Stacy Tappeiner said he was not surprised the cases were dismissed. “Both cases were handled in keeping with New Jersey state statutes and Attorney General guidelines,” Tappeiner wrote. “It’s unfortunate that the township insurance carrier and the taxpayers of Hamilton Township had to expend thousands of dollars fighting frivolous litigation of this nature.“
Conrad Benedetto, who represented both Nicholas and Jason Dare, did not return calls seeking comment.
Former township police officer Nicholas J. Dare had sued the township in April 2012, claiming $500,000 in damages from harassment, retaliation and a hostile work environment. His brother, State Police Trooper Jason Dare, filed suit against the township in February 2013, claiming township police targeted him following a 2011 drunken driving arrest.
The township hired Nicholas Dare in June 2003, but he faced repeated internal affairs charges in 2006, 2007, 2009, and was suspended 10 days in 2011. Township police were moving to dismiss him on other charges when he committed suicide in Jan. 2013 at the age of 35.
Court records show Atlantic County Superior Court Judge James P. Savio dismissed Nicholas Dare’s case in February when Dare’s attorneys did not respond to document requests from defense attorneys. There was no single discovery issue that attorneys sparred over, defense attorney Patrick J. Madden said.
Township police arrested Jason Dare following a December 2011 Christmas party, charging him with driving under the influence after Dare said he crashed into a tree on a wooded stretch of Route 40 eluding a deer. Jason Dare’s suit claimed township police identified him as Nicholas Dare’s brother at the scene, prior to his arrest. Jason Dare was ultimately found not guilty of driving while intoxicated, but courts ruled township police acted appropriately in the arrest.
Jason Dare’s suit said he had hoped to recoup approximately $50,000 in lost wages following his subsequent suspension from work. His federal case ended earlier this month, when his attorney Conrad Benedetto agreed to a dismissal of all claims.
It was unclear why Benedetto did so. He did not return calls seeking comment.
“There was nothing placed on the record that would indicate a reason,” said defense attorney Michael Barker, who represented the township.
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