Schenectady reaches six-figure settlement in false arrest lawsuit

A screenshot from a bystander's arrest video provided at the time of the lawsuit's filing in 2017. The man in the yellow shirt is identified in the lawsuit as Ronald Sheridan

A screenshot from a bystander's arrest video provided at the time of the lawsuit's filing in 2017. The man in the yellow shirt is identified in the lawsuit as Ronald Sheridan

SCHENECTADY — The city has reached a six-figure settlement agreement in a 2018 lawsuit filed by a city couple against more than a dozen city police officers — including the department’s current Chief Eric Clifford — alleging false arrest.

Arthur Frost, a lawyer representing Denise and Ronald Sheridan, on Tuesday said a “mid-six-figure” settlement agreement has been reached in the case, which dates back to 2014.

“The case is now dismissed with prejudice based on the settlement,” he said. “The terms of the settlement were finalized at the tail end of last year and it was fully resolved and withdrawn this year.”

Frost, citing privacy concerns for his clients, declined to say what exactly the city would pay out under the agreement, but noted the city and the officers listed in the complaint did not admit to any liability under the agreement, which was first reported by the Times Union.

The City Council Claims Committee discussed the matter during an executive session on Monday, but it’s unclear if members advanced the matter for a final vote in front of the full council next week.

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Andrew Koldin, the city’s corporation counsel, declined to comment on the resolution Tuesday.

“City Council hasn’t resolved anything yet, so I can’t confirm or deny any settlement yet,” he said.

Carmel Patrick, chair of the Claims Committee, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. 

The case was dismissed on Feb. 16, according to court documents.

The Sheridans filed the lawsuit in federal court following an incident at their Carrie Street residence involving more than a dozen uniformed and plain clothes officers on Sept. 18, 2014. One of the responding officers was Clifford, who was a lieutenant with the department’s detective unit at the time of the incident.

Clifford did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

According to court documents, police showed up at the couple’s Carrie Street home in search of a fugitive. Denise Sheridan told the officers that the individual they were looking for was not in their home.

Police spotted the fugitive walking down the street and arrested him before returning to the residence, where they then “physically manipulated” and arrested the couple, according to the lawsuit, which contends the couple did not commit any crime.

Denise Sheridan was later released without being charged, and charges filed against Ronald Sheridan were later dropped “in the interest of justice,” according to the lawsuit.

Frost said the agreement has been in the works for about four months, when attorneys representing the city approached him and his co-counsel, Steven Schultz, seeking to resume settlement discussions.

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“We previously had a mediation session that was fruitless, but as we got closer to a trial date, the city contacted us again about whether we wanted to renew settlement discussions,” he said.

Frost said the Sheridans are “very pleased” with the settlement and feel “vindicated,” but added that the couple plans to move out of the city.

“They will likely be leaving the city of Schenectady,” he said. “Frankly, they don’t trust the Schenectady Police Department and would like to be left alone.”

Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.

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Categories: News, Schenectady, Schenectady County



I wonder why the city of Albany very recently settled a very similar false arrest case involving 2 people for 50k total and this settlement according to claiments attorney is in the mid 6 figure range. Hard to believe Schenectady has deeper pockets. Interesting!

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