Warren Township successfully appealed a nearly $2.6 million judgement issued in May to settle a lawsuit brought by former Municipal Prosecutor Michelle D'Onofrio, and will pay a total of $1.73 million to settle the lawsuit.
D'Onofrio, of Long Hill, had sued the township after she was dismissed in 2007 following her complaints into the behavior of former Municipal Court Judge Richard Sasso. D'Onofrio had charged Sasso was drunk in court at times, and discriminated against women and minorities in his courtroom.
Sasso retired in 2008.
In May, a Morris County jury awarded D'Onofrio a total of $2,597,958—$1,397,958 for punitive damages and lost earnings, plus $1.2 million in legal fees. The township appealed the ruling, and negotiated a final settlement of $1.73 million.
According to Township Attorney Jeffrey Lehrer, the township's insurance coverage will pay $875,000 of the final settlement, leaving $855,000 for the township to pay directly. The township included $170,000 for the settlement in the budget, and the Township Committee introduced an ordinance to finance the remaining $685,000 over a four-year period.
The committee also passed an budget appropriation and a settlement agreement at Thursday's meeting to complete the arrangements.