CONCORD – The lawsuit being filed by the woman who served as an Ossipee police officer before being fired in 2018 has been scheduled to be heard in New Hampshire’s federal court in February of 2022.
Kimberly Hatch is suing the town of Ossipee for sexual harassment and discrimination.
Judge Joseph DiClerico Jr. is presiding over the case of Kimberly Hatch v. Town of Ossipee in the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire in Concord.
A trial notice filed Sept. 4 says that jury selection/trial is to begin Feb. 1, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. in front of DiClerico. A pretrial conference is set for Jan. 20, 2022.
Hatch, of Madison, filed her lawsuit March 1 in U.S. District Court in Concord. She is alleging gender discrimination/sexual harassment, and hostile work environment, as defined by NH RSA 354-A and under Title VII U.S. Code, as well as slander and abuse of process under common law.
The suit alleges the harassment went beyond just words.
“On or about June 2013, Cpl. Justin Swift came up behind Ms. Hatch and Tased her behind the neck,” said the suit. “Then he took a permanent marker and wrote on her forehead while she was disabled” by the tasing.
Hatch said she wasn’t the only woman in the town who was harassed.
“While Sgt. (Anthony) Castaldo was Ms. Hatch’s Field Training Officer and lead supervisor, she would observe him belittle and degrade, or harass, women,” said Hatch’s suit filed by Leslie Johnson, a Sandwich attorney
The town is being represented by William Staar and Brian Suslak of Morrison and Mahoney of Boston and Manchester.
Staar and Suslak’s answer to the suit, dated April 1, raises 10 defenses, including that the town denies “each and every claim” and that the town had “legitimate and non-discriminatory reasons” for the “alleged adverse employment actions” against Hatch.
It denies that Swift ever tased Hatch.
The town is demanding a jury trial.
“Admitted that almost seven years ago, Cpl. Swift wrote a line of permanent marker on plaintiff’s forehead, while the officers including plaintiff (Hatch) were horsing around at police headquarters,” states the answer. “Plaintiff was an active participant in the horseplay and consented to Cpl. Swift writing the line of permanent marker on plaintiff’s head.”
The lawsuit says the firing occurred for allegedly falsifying the report of a minor accident in September 2018 when she was driving a police cruiser, which she said had a blind spot.
As to the Sept. 17, 2018, car accident that led to her firing, the answer says Sgt. (Anthony) Castaldo “discovered a piece of her police-issued vehicle embedded in a crosswalk yield sign.”
Hatch’s termination came as a result of “her refusal to be honest and forthright in her reporting” of that accident, the answer says.