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Attorneys argue motion to dismiss lawsuit against Utica in Longo case

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Attorneys for both sides on Tuesday argued in federal court for and against dismissal of the civil lawsuit commenced by the family of Kristin Palumbo Longo against the city of Utica and former Police Chief Dan LaBella.

Utica Police Officer Joseph Longo stabbed his estranged wife then himself to death on September 28, 2009. The Palumbo family has filed a $100 million lawsuit against the city and LaBella for violating their daughter and sister's constitutional rights by creating the danger that ultimately lead to her violent death.

While roughly 1,000 pages of prior testimony and background information exist regarding this case, Tuesday's motion to dismiss proceeding, brought by the city, only lasted approximately 30 minutes.

During that time, an attorney for the city pointed out that the city did take measures to reduce the threat of Longo; they took away his guns and put him on desk duty. But the Palumbo family attorney said that was too little, too late, and that the city created the danger that lead to her death by failing to adequately address several incidents regarding Longo's mental state and stability.

"This man was spiraling out of control and they did nothing.... They promised to protect her. They didn't. They protected Longo," said family attorney John Dillon.

U.S. District Court Judge David Hurd reserved decision. The attorneys will be notified as to his ruling by e-mail. If he denies the motion to dismiss, a trial date will likely be set and settlement negotiations possibly begin.

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