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Wrongful Death Lawsuit filed against City Police Settled; Some School Districts Receive Less Aid


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WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUIT SETTLED FOR $85,000—Searching for information on the internet we stumbled upon a legal document naming three Gloucester City Police Officers in a wrongful death lawsuit. It was filed in 2015 against Gloucester City Police Officer Blaze O'Donnell, Police Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 3.38.59Officer Kevin Wall, and Sgt. Jason Flood. The incident alleged in the complaint occurred on January 12, 2013, at 3:15 PM at 801 Jersey Avenue. 

Three months ago we asked Gloucester City Police Lt. Steve Burkhardt about the outcome of the case. And, would the officers involved like to explain their side of the story. Burkhardt said, "Regarding the Dottavio case, an agreement was reached between the estate and the city insurance provider.  A confidentiality clause prohibits us from discussing the case."  

Undeterred, CNBNews filed an OPRA request for the Tort claims and settlement agreements for this case to PERMA RISK MANAGEMENT, the insurance carrier for the City of Gloucester City. As a result of that appeal we discovered a payout of $85,000 on November 3, 2016 to James Dottavio, the administrator of the estate.

(Editor's Note) At the bottom of this article a copy of the settlement is posted

The following description of what allegedly happened is from the lawsuit that was filed against the officers on January 15, 2018. 


—(Plaintiff) James Dottavio, as Administrator ad prosequendum of the Estate of James P. Dottavio, Deceased v. (Defendants) Gloucester City Police Officer Blaze O'Donnell, Police Officer Kevin Wall, Sgt. Jason Flood, Police Officer John Doe#1 and Police Officer Jane Doe #2 

On January 8, 2015 James Dottavio, as administrator ad prosequendum of the estate of James P. Dottavio, deceased filed a lawsuit against Gloucester City Police Officer Blaze O'Donnell, Police Officer Kevin Wall, Sgt. Jason Flood, Police Officer John Doe #1 and Police Officer Jane Doe#2. The incident alleged in the complaint occurred on/or about January 12, 2013, at 3:15 PM at 801 Jersey Avenue. 

James P. Dottavio,  was a 63-year-old man that was 5'2" inches tall and weighed 185 pounds at the time of the alleged incident. The plaintiff was involved in a property dispute with another man (name omitted by CNBNews) when the Gloucester City police arrived at 801 Jersey Avenue. Officer O'Donnell placed the plaintiff under arrest and grabbed his arm to handcuff him when they both fell to the ground. Officer Wall then sprayed the deceased man with a one-second burst of cap stun.

 O'Donnell, according to the lawsuit, placed the handcuff on Dottavio left wrist, and defendant Sgt. Flood then delivered a vicious knee strike to the plaintiff's midsection. Sgt. Flood then delivered two more knee strikes to the plaintiff's midsection while he lay prone on the ground.

 The other man involved in the January 12 argument with Dottavio refused to press any charges against him. 

 Later that day (January 12, 2013) Dottavio went to the Underwood-Memorial hospital complaining of pain in his left side as a result of the physical assault by the police officers.  The deceased went back to the same hospital two days later and it was discovered he had rib fractures, along with a collapsed lung (pneumothorax) plus blood in his lungs (hemothorax). He was transferred to Cooper Hospital because they are a designated trauma center and could better treat his condition.

 The documents alleged that James P. Dottavio was in an intolerable amount of pain due to the rib fractures and was experiencing difficulty breathing. He was discharged on January 16 and was given a combination of slow release morphine (opiates) and tramadol for pain control.  The injured man died four days later on January 20. The cause of death was a reaction to the drug(s).

It is alleged as a direct result of the conduct of the police officers named in the lawsuit the man suffered physical injuries, pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, and death.

 The plaintiff was asking the court for compensatory and punitive dames in an amount in excess of $50,000 plus such reasonable costs as the court may allow for each one.

IMG_1878 2 2first page of lawsuit filed against Gloucester City Police Officers


Related: Search for Information Regarding Fire Dept. Fight, Leads to 12 Lawsuits Filed Against Gloucester City

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LESS SCHOOL AID FOR SOME NJ DISTRICTS—The New Jersey Department of  Education, using the new school aid formula, cut aid to almost 200 districts across the state according to a recent nj1015.com article. The new $8.43 billion funding formula, which was developed by Democratic lawmakers, shifted state aid to more than 300 school districts that they said have been underfunded for nearly a decade.

The new law forces any school district that is spending less than what the state defines as "adequacy" to raise taxes by 2 percent annually to make up for the lost aid. The law also allows districts formerly known as "Abbots" (which includes Gloucester City) to raise their taxes by more than the 2 percent cap to make up the difference in state aid. (emphasis reporter)

In the immediate South Jersey area, two districts, Audubon Park and Haddon Township are receiving less. School aid to Brooklawn and Gloucester City remained the same as last year.  Bellmawr received a 15 percent increase while Haddonfield's  saw a 40 percent increase in their school aid.



                             NEW AID                   $ CHANGE                   % CHANGE


Audubon Boro       $6,345,474                   $295,693                       5%

Audubon Park         $1, 410,078                -$9,735                         -1%

Bellmawr…..             $6,156,049              $782,638                         15%

Brooklawn          ….$3,963,329                     $0                                0%

Camden City………$282,029,317             $1,941,258                      1%

Deptford……………$25,369244                 $1,208,059                     5%

Gloucester City……$29,595,537                    $ 0                                0%

Gloucester Twp. ..   $51,917671                     $929,232                     2%

Haddon Twp……….$8,198,876                     -$248,743                    -3%

Haddonfield……….$1,506,627                     $430,629                      40% 

Runnemede…         $5,150,455                     $245,260                         5%

Westville….             $2,679,067                     $127,575                         5%    

Woodbury….         $12,915,051                     $615,003                         5%


(information provided by FM1015.com) continue to read




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