A settlement by Ventnor and Margate over a failed 2008 drug raid in Ventnor is for $1 million, according to the plaintiff’s attorney.
The settlement was reached this week in the complaint by Daniel Lombardi, of Margate, Lisa Cress, of Ventnor, and Cress’ two daughters after the March 2008 raid on an apartment on North Wyoming Avenue that found no drugs but allegedly left the two adults injured.
“The lawsuit alleged that individual police officers of Ventnor City violated the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights when the defendant officers swore out false statements in a search warrant application to obtain a ‘no-knock’ search warrant of the plaintiffs’ home,” plaintiff attorney Jennifer Bonjean said in a statement. Ventnor activated the Atlantic County Emergency Response Team, or ACERT, to execute the warrant.
The suit alleged Lombardi was “viciously assaulted” and Cress was struck in the face “by an assault rifle or other blunt object and violently shoved” down stairs.
While the original defendants included Ventnor, Margate, Atlantic City, Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County and several named officers, many of those individual cases were dismissed in the five years since the suit was filed.
Cress settled with Egg Harbor Township for $67,500 in February, Bonjean said, and the case by all four plaintiffs proceeded to trial against Ventnor shortly afterward.
Margate, which had been one of the defendants whose case was dismissed, was brought back in to the case during trial, Bonjean said. Margate and Ventnor were ordered last month to submit to a search of their electronic files.
After five days of testimony in federal court in Camden, the parties reached a settlement on Monday without the case making it to jury deliberations.
Bonjean said the $1 million figure was not broken down by town, as the two cities have the same insurance carrier. City solicitors for Margate and Ventnor could not be reached for comment Friday.
She added that $100,000 of the settlement “has been allotted for training of the Ventnor City and Margate City police departments.”
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