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Bradicich v. Township of Hanover

October 14, 2010

DOLORES BRADICICH, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
TOWNSHIP OF HANOVER, TOWNSHIP OF HANOVER POLICE DEPARTMENT, VIOLATIONS BUREAU, MUNICIPAL COURT JUDGE BRIAN O'TOOLE, SERGEANT ANTHONY VITANZA, DISPATCHER JOHN COLLORA, PATROLMAN JAMES GRAWEHR, PATROLMAN ROBERT CARPENTER, PATROLMAN DOMINIC KAISER, AND SERGEANT ZVOLENSKY, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Morris County, Docket No. L-3324-07.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted September 14, 2010

Before Judges Wefing and Payne.

Plaintiff appeals from a trial court order granting summary judgment to defendants. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

Plaintiff's pleadings and brief are somewhat disorganized, but from them we glean the following factual background; our recitation is not intended to be an exhaustive list of plaintiff's complaints and allegations but, rather, to survey the highlights.

Plaintiff alleged that on October 16, 2005, she was assaulted by a former boyfriend, and several days thereafter, she went to the Hanover Township Police Department to file a complaint against him. Defendant Collora was the dispatcher on duty. She contended that officers at police headquarters, defendants Grawehr and Zvolensky, treated her rudely and completed written reports falsely. Plaintiff asserted below that she went to the police to file an assault complaint, not to seek a restraining order against her former boyfriend. The officers on duty nevertheless contacted the municipal court judge, who, after speaking to plaintiff, declined to issue a restraining order against her former boyfriend.

She returned to the police headquarters on two successive days and was not able to obtain a copy of the police report that had been prepared and filed. Plaintiff states in her papers that she obtained a temporary restraining order the following day from a judge of the Superior Court; she has not provided a copy of that order although the table of contents to her appendix refers to it.

According to her brief, she was contacted in the middle of November by a man she had previously dated, whom she identifies only as "Michael." She said Michael left a message on her telephone answering machine threatening to kill her and her former boyfriend if he saw the boyfriend's truck at plaintiff's home. Michael, she said, also threatened to beat up friends of the former boyfriend.

After drinking a quantity of wine, plaintiff drove to the Hanover police station to deliver a tape recording of Michael's message, arriving around midnight. Defendant Collora was again the dispatcher on duty, and he informed her that there was no officer available to take her report, as all were out responding to other calls. She said she waited for approximately an hour and then went to her car to retrieve her cell phone and purse. She sat in the car with the motor running for another period of time, smoking a cigarette. She was approached by two officers, who, smelling alcohol on her breath, asked her to step out of the car. She refused to do so, despite repeated requests. Eventually, the two officers removed her from the car. She says they acted in a brutal manner and injured her. The trial court viewed a DVD recording of the incident recorded by one of the video cameras in one of the patrol cars and noted that it did not substantiate plaintiff's version of what had occurred. We have also reviewed that DVD and concur completely with the trial court's assessment. Plaintiff was then arrested for obstruction of justice, N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1, and driving while intoxicated, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. A subsequent Alcotest produced a blood alcohol reading between .147 and .149.

Plaintiff alleges that several days after this incident, she had an encounter with another Superior Court judge who, she maintains, "advised" her to dismiss the temporary restraining order she had earlier obtained against her former boyfriend. This, she maintains, was the result of a communication from the municipal court judge who had originally denied her request for a temporary restraining order, seeking to influence the Superior Court judge against her. Plaintiff has provided no proof to support these allegations. She says she did dismiss the restraining order but did not do so voluntarily, but as a result of "coercion" from the Superior Court judge.

She later appeared before that same municipal court judge on the charge of driving while intoxicated and was convicted. She appealed that conviction to the Law Division, where she was again found guilty of driving while intoxicated. In her brief, she contends that the municipal court judge denigrated and insulted her during the municipal court proceedings. She has not provided a transcript against which we could measure her allegations.

Plaintiff also alleges that police officers subsequently broke into her home to read the medical records of her son, who, she said, was contemplating seeking a position on the Township's police force. She said some personal items were taken and some were moved. She said closet doors were damaged and bore the markings of black fingerprint dust. She also maintains that her computer was "compromised," that the police took the keys to her truck, that the municipal court judge tampered with her mail and other individuals stalked her.

Plaintiff also contends that she subsequently had a severe emotional breakdown and attempted to harm herself, as a result of which she spent several years in therapy. She has included in her appendix a report of a psychiatric evaluation performed in ...


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