Village Out to Get Him, Samaritan Claims

     CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CN) – A Good Samaritan can amend his complaint to claim that a Long Island village retaliated against him six times, not eight, a federal judge ruled.
     Jeffrey Bartels, who has lived in Lloyd Harbor for more than 40 years, claims that no good deed went unpunished for him in a lawsuit he filed against the village, its Mayor Leland M. Hairr and more than 10 other government employees.
     In May 2009, Bartels said he pulled over his car to photograph an unsafe power line, only to receive a summons from Police Officer Morrissey for “illegally parking.” He says he beat the ticket in court with the help of a $350-an-hour lawyer.
     That December, Lloyd Harbor allegedly engaged in “mass tree-cutting” near his home, which Bartels says he criticized in the press as a money-making initiative disguised as a public safety one. Bartels said that he was in Florida at the time, but he claims he got a call from Police Officer Baffa accusing him of “trespassing” on someone’s property near the cutting site because of his dissent.
     Next March, Bartels said that he photographed another unsafe power line until he saw village employees “Brian Madsen and/or Tom Scholl and/or John Doe Nos. 1 and 2” accelerating toward him in a six-wheeled Ford. Bartels said that he injured himself leaping over the guardrail to avoid getting run over, but Sergeant Renald Difanzo never charged or disciplined the drivers.
     Bartels filed his first complaint in the Eastern District of New York on Nov. 3, 2010.
     He moved to add several defendants and five new claims about a year later, based on allegedly continuing retaliation.
     In his first new claim, Bartels contended that two police officers, Morrissey and Donnaruma, threatened to Taser him in April 2011 for “trespassing” when he checked in on his elderly neighbors on a windy day, but he entered their apartment before the police could shock him.
     That June, he says, he videotaped a problem with the public drainage system and was approached in a “menacing and physically intimidating manner” by highway superintendent Robert Schwartz. Eventually, he claims, Officers Grim and Cortez arrived on the scene and pursued him by foot until he escaped into the house of a friend and neighbor.
     Later that month, Bartels said that he withheld his dues from a neighborhood group, the Fiddlers Green Association, because of a dispute, and Police Officer O’Shaughnessy allegedly threatened him with trespass to pressure him to pay up again.
     On Monday, U.S. District Judge Arthur D. Spatt allowed these claims to proceed.
     The judge rejected two others charges alleging that police refused to investigate an unidentified car parked briefly outside his house, and saying that a woman wrongly filed a complaint with the police when he videotaped diverted water flow.
     These charges do not state a claim, Spatt ruled.
     Bartels is represented by James Maloney, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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