FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE LAW OFFICE OF STEVEN A. MORELLI, P.C.
The Town of Hempstead has raised the “White Flag”
Madden v. Town of Hempstead, et al.
Federal District Court, Eastern District of New York
Case No. 10‐CV‐5682
After two years of litigation, the plaintiffs, Diane Madden, Lucille DeFina and Frances
Lucivero‐Pelletier, three animal rescuers in the Town of Hempstead have secured a
total victory against the Town of Hempstead, Town Supervisor Kate Murray, and
various Town Officials. On this date a judgment has been entered by the Clerk of
the Federal District Court, Eastern District of New York, in favor of the plaintiffs,
against the Town of Hempstead and all the named defendants. This is a clear
victory, not only for the plaintiffs, not only for proponents of First Amendment
Rights, but also for the helpless animals that find themselves in the confines
of the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter.
These ladies have been vindicated in that the New York State Comptroller has issued
a scathing report indicating that what these members of the community were saying
was absolutely true. Rather than deal with these issues in public, by way of a jury
trial, the Town defendants have raised the white flag, serving an Offer of Judgment
upon counsel to the plaintiffs. While a trial of this action would have surely publicized
the inappropriate goings on at the Hempstead Animal Shelter, given the public report
of the Comptroller, and the total capitulation of the defendants, the plaintiffs have
decided to accept the offer of judgment securing their win, and the ability to focus on
the animals. Given this victory, the plaintiffs will use their new found resources to
now move forward toward privatization. The fight to protect animals is not over, it
has just begun.
The plaintiffs, and their lawyer, will be available to answer questions at the
Press Room of the Supreme Court, 101 Supreme Court Drive, Mineola
@ 3:00 PM. They will discuss the winning of their lawsuit, and their plans
for the future.
The action filed by Diane Madden, Lucille Defina and Frances Lucivero‐Pelletier
through their attorney Steven A Morelli, was brought to redress defamatory
statements made by the defendants as well as violations of the plaintiffs First
Amendment Constitutional Rights. The Plaintiffs spoke out on the issues of
misuse of taxpayer monies, including a public wasteland for political cronyism,
on animal abuse they witnessed and upon the total failure to safeguard public
donations provided by the people of the community for the care and well being of
the animals. Rather than deal with the concerns of the community, the defendants
sought to silence their critics by claiming that they were subject to a criminal
investigation, and thus, were no longer allowed in the shelter. There was no basis
for these allegations against the plaintiffs, and they were designed solely for the
purpose of justifying the denial of their First Amendment freedoms.
The lawyer for the plaintiffs indicates that “when a municipality takes to attacking
their own citizens with unsubstantiated innuendo, you know that something is wrong”.
The findings of New York State Audit confirmed the misuse of public funds and
mismanagement of the Shelter as stated by the Plaintiffs. “However, many of the
problems still exist” says DeFina. “The absolute refusal on the part of Hempstead Officials
to allow public oversight leaves us no choice but to continue our efforts to be the voice
for the animals” says Madden. Given the findings of the report, and what they have
uncovered in discovery in their own action, they will be taking these issues to the
Federal Government and other agencies, seeking further investigation as to
financial improprieties, future controls, and public transparencies. The time for full
transparency is here, and the Plaintiffs will not rest until that is done.