September 13, 2018

Falco State Court Lawsuit Dismissed in Full

The State Court lawsuit filed against the City of Hoboken (the “City”, “Hoboken”) and former Mayor Dawn Zimmer by former Police Chief Anthony Falco was dismissed in its entirety by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Martha D. Lynes, J.S.C., Thursday, September 6, just days before the trial was scheduled to begin. Another lawsuit filed by Chief Falco in Federal District Court based on the same facts and claims was dismissed with prejudice on October 20, 2017.

The original action was filed in 2013 in Federal Court alleging that former Mayor Zimmer and the City retaliated against Chief Falco because of Mayor Zimmer's supposed concerns about the conduct of the Hoboken police investigation into her father-in-law Henry Grossbard's death in 2005, when Ms. Zimmer was a private citizen. Mr. Grossbard, a Hoboken resident, was killed in a hit and run on Frank Sinatra Drive while walking his dog, and the crime was never solved.

Over the years, Chief Falco's legal claims evolved, and focused less on Mr. Grossbard's tragic death and more on the claim that Mayor Zimmer retaliated against him for disagreeing with her on policy issues like the reorganization of the police department in 2010 and Mayor Zimmer's decision to move the Hoboken St. Patrick's Day Parade to a weekday in 2012 to address serious public safety and quality of life concerns (the Parade was ultimately cancelled by the Parade Committee).

“I'm gratified that this saga is finally over in favor of Mayor Zimmer and Hoboken,” said Hoboken Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla. "Two Judges, a Federal District Court Judge, and a Hudson County Superior Court Judge have each ruled that this case lacked a legal basis to proceed. It is unfortunate that Hoboken's taxpayers were forced to pay the costs associated with defending this frivolous lawsuit. I hope that this result sends the message that the City will not cave to baseless, unsubstantiated claims and will rigorously defend against them.”

Former Mayor Zimmer said, "The use by Chief Falco of my Father-in-law's tragic death in a lawsuit seeking monetary compensation he wasn't entitled to, was painful for me and my family. I am gratified that two judges carefully evaluated the claims, saw through the smoke blown by Chief Falco and his attorneys, and dismissed the cases in full."