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The Therapy Sessions
Thursday, September 30, 2004

Money for stupid drunks?

What is our society coming to?
Drunken man gets $850,000

RAMSEY, N.J. - A man who got drunk and passed out in a snowbank successfully sued police for not finding him sooner, but police plan to contest the $850,000 award.

Frederick Puglisi was 20 when he left a New Year's Eve party at a hotel early Jan. 1, 2001 to buy cigarettes and get something to eat.

Puglisi's lawyer said Bergen County police received a call from a passerby about 1 a.m. Attorney Samuel Denburg said the caller reported that a man had been struck by a car, although his client did not remember being hit. Puglisi did have a bump on his head, Denburg said.

Denburg argued that the police dispatcher did not get enough information from the caller and did not pass enough information to Ramsey police, and that the officers did not look thoroughly for Puglisi or get out of their cars during a short, unsuccessful search.

Puglisi was discovered late the next morning after spending nine hours outside. By that time, his temperature had fallen to 78 degrees, and he had severe frostbite, which ultimately disfigured his right hand, Denburg said.

A Superior Court jury ordered last week that Bergen County police pay Puglisi $450,000 and Ramsey police $400,000.

Lawyers for Ramsey and Bergen County police said the dispatcher and officers acted properly.

The Rogers solution? Fire the incompetent dispatcher and investigate the negligent cops.

But for the drunk loser? Not a stinking dime.

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