SCHENECTADY – The attorney for a Niskayuna man authorities say was assaulted at the Schenectady County Jail by a corrections officer has now filed the precursor to a potential lawsuit in the case.
The attorney for John Mannarino has filed a notice of claim with Schenectady County and Sheriff Dominic Dagostino, seeking an estimated $2.5 million in damages. Mannarino is represented by attorney Kevin Luibrand.
Two former corrections employees – an officer and a sergeant – have both been indicted on charges related to the Nov. 9 assault on Mannarino.
Former corrections officer Eugene Sellie, 28, was indicted in January on two counts of second-degree assault, felonies, along with two counts of misdemeanor official misconduct.
Sellie is accused of attacking John Mannarino on Nov. 9 as Mannarino was being released from jail. The attack left Mannarino hospitalized and on a ventilator for nearly a week, Mannarino’s attorney has said.
Former Sgt. Timothy Bruce was indicted last week on two misdemeanor official misconduct counts, accused of not seeking medical attention for Mannarino.
Sheriff Dominic Dagostino fired both Sellie and Bruce the day after the attack.
Schenectady County Attorney Chris Gardner, in the county’s response, pointed to the firings.
“Our position on the claim is the Sheriff has taken decisive action in terminating the employment of a corrections officer and a corrections sergeant who were involved in this use of force,” Gardner said. “The District Attorney has indicted a corrections officer and a corrections sergeant arising from this matter and we understand that the county will face significant liability, but we think it will be significantly less than $1 million.”
The county has insurance coverage up to $1 million, Gardner said.
The notice of claim, dated Feb. 3, gives an outline of Mannarino’s allegations in the case.
According to the notice, the sequence of events began when Mannarino was arraigned in Town of Niskayuna court on unspecified criminal charges. He was released on his own recognizance.
Instead of being released, Mannarino was “illegally seized” and taken to the jail against his will in violation of the judge’s order to release him, the notice reads.
At the jail, Mannarino was placed in a cell and confined, in violation of the judge’s order, and held for approximately two-and-a-half hours before Sellie brought him into a room, the notice reads.
“Once in the room, Sellie sought to incite (Mannarino) to fight him, which (Mannarino) refused, at which point in time Sellie struck and kicked the defenseless (Mannarino) multiple times about the face, head, torso, ribcage, back, lower spine and shoulders,” the notice reads.
The attack was unprovoked, the notice reads.
Sellie’s attorney has previously argued that Mannarino tried to attack Sellie.
During the attack, Mannarino yelled for help and employees heard the calls and refused to stop Sellie, the notice reads.
He was then denied medical treatment and sent out of the facility onto the street.
Authorities were tipped off when a probation officer pulled over after he saw him walking along the sidewalk at the corner of Veeder Avenue and Albany Street – not far from the jail – and stopped, officials have said.
Mannarino has suffered significant damages, including medical expenses, lost income, emotional distress, internal organ damage and significant pain and suffering, the notice reads.
The $2.5 million number is based in the notice on estimates by Luibrand based on other similar cases, the notice reads.