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Longo suit to proceed; Utica may be on hook for $100 million

By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV)
The Manhattan court has found that a lawsuit filed by the family of Kristin Palumbo Longo may proceed against the city and then-Public Safety Commissioner Dan LaBella.

After Longo family attorney John Dillon filed the suit last year, LaBella and then Mayor David Roefaro moved to have it dismissed, claiming that they have what's known as qualified immunity. The court found that Roefaro did, and his name is dropped from the suit. The suit may proceed against the city and LaBella.

Utica Police Officer Joseph Longo stabbed his estranged wife, Kristin Palumbo Longo, to death in their Deerfield home in August of 2009. The suit was originally filed for $100 million. It claims the city and parties named knew of the abusive relationship between the Longos and turned a blind eye.

Victim Kristin Palumbo Longo's sister says she was overcome with emotion when her attorney, John Dillon, called her with the news that the case would go forward. She says she wants one thing to come out of this: change.

"I think all of us feel that if municipalities in our county and in our state implement and follow without exception an officer involved domestic violence protocol then we'll have done my sister Kristin some justice," said Gina Pearce.

The Longos left behind four young children. Next, attorneys in the case will begin taking sworn testimony from witnesses. It's too soon to tell when it will actually go to trial, or, if there will be settlement talks,

"Normally in a case like this, we would have to go through discovery to determine what the proof is before you could even make that decision," says city attorney John Orilio.

Any trial in this case would likely be a year away.

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