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Suspended Westhampton Beach cop drops $75M suit against village

Westhampton Police Officer Joseph Pesapane filed a $75

Westhampton Police Officer Joseph Pesapane filed a $75 million lawsuit against several village officials and Suffolk County authorities, according to court papers. Photo Credit: Eric Sanders Esq

A Westhampton Beach police officer who filed a $75 million federal lawsuit against the village is dismissing all claims against the defendants in the case, but the legal wrangling may not be over.

The attorney for Joseph Pesapane — who has been suspended from the force since 2014 — filed a notice of voluntary dismissal dated June 8 in U.S. District Court in Central Islip to “dismiss all claims without prejudice” against Westhampton Beach, several current and former village officials, the police department and Suffolk County authorities.

The lawsuit, filed in January, alleged Pesapane, 33, was illegally suspended without pay in January 2014 following a misdemeanor charge he faced after he was accused of stalking his former fiancee. The Suffolk County district attorney’s office dismissed the case in July 2016.

The suit was filed after Eric Sanders, Pesapane’s Manhattan-based attorney, said the village ignored a letter sent on his client’s behalf asking to reinstate Pesapane to the department with back pay and benefits retroactive to his suspension date, as well as for the village to schedule a hearing immediately if officials intended to proceed with disciplinary charges against Pesapane.

Sanders declined Tuesday to specify why his client filed the dismissal, but said the claims were “more than likely” going to be refiled at a later time, possibly within several weeks.

“There’s a couple of things I want to do, but it’s not being withdrawn because of the merits of the case,” Sanders said. “There are legal things I want to do to protect Mr. Pesapane. [The case] is still going to be pursued in a couple of different venues.”

Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore, who was named as a defendant, confirmed Tuesday that the village had received word of the action.

“Mr. Pesapane has voluntarily discontinued his federal lawsuit against the Village,” Moore said in a statement. “We have always maintained that the allegations in his complaint were without merit, and we are pleased that we do not have to expend any additional time and resources to defend against it.”

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