City Settles Lawsuits With Former NBPD Officers

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The city settled two lawsuits with three former Newport Beach police officers last week, according to a city press release.

The settlements total nearly $1 million, with the excess insurance carrier paying $600,00 and the city contributing $350,000, Newport Beach spokeswoman Tara Finnigan wrote in the statement.

“The city is self-insured up to a certain amount and our excess carrier is liable for all attorneys’ fees and costs (and damages, if any) in excess of the city’s self-insured retention,” city attorney Aaron Harp explained later in an email.

The decision to settle was a business decision by the insurance carrier, he said. The company determined it would be more economical to settle and end the litigation than to continue to trial and incur additional legal fees.

“We expect that the costs through trial for these matters would have been in excess of $500,000,” Harp wrote.

The city spent approximately $650,000 on the two litigation matters through the date of settlement, he noted.

The city disagrees with the allegations made by the former NBPD officers, Finnigan wrote in the statement.

Craig Frizzell, Steve Schulman and Robert Morton claimed they were unfairly treated and passed over for promotions.

They “alleged they were retaliated against for filing complaints related to the Newport Beach Police Department’s promotional process,” the statement reads.

Newport Beach Police Department could not comment on this case or any information surround it directly, NBPD spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said in an email.

“This settlement resolves all claims brought by the former police officers without an admission of fault or assignment of liability by any of the parties,” Finnigan wrote.

Under the settlement agreements, Morton will receive $110,000 and Frizzell and Shulman will each receive $420,000, Harp said.

“Although the settlement originates from a financial decision, the city feels the settlement is in the best interest of its current police officers, former police officers and, most of all, our residents because it allows all parties to move on and the Police Department to focus on the important work of keeping our city a safe place to live, work and play,” Harp said in the statement.

The press release also noted that violent and property crimes fell one percent lower last year than the record-setting low in 2012.

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