Niagara Gazette

Courts

April 4, 2014

Matteo Anello trial delayed till fall

Niagara Gazette — BUFFALO — The brother of former Niagara Falls Mayor Vince Anello has had his day in court delayed.

Jury selection had been set to begin Thursday, in U.S. District Court in Buffalo, in the trial of a civil rights lawsuit brought by Matteo Anello against the city. However, the trial has now been postponed for still another attempt at mediation in the case.

Anello filed suit against the city in August 2009 claiming his civil rights were violated when he was stopped from speaking at a city council meeting in October 2007 and then arrested when he refused to leave the council chambers. He is seeking unspecified monetary damages.

Anello’s lawyer, Jeanne Vinal, is also asking Chief U.S. District Court Judge William Skretny to order the city to pay for her client’s legal expenses.

Lawyers from the Buffalo firm of Hodgson, Russ, who are representing the city, and Vinal had been in the process of exchange trial exhibits and witness lists in preparation for the trial. Then, in late February, an apparent “hitch” developed.

Vinal notified the Hodgson, Russ attorneys that she intended to subpoena current City Council Member Kristen Grandinetti. In a letter to city layers, Vinal said she expected Grandinetti “to testify that (City Council Member Robert) Anderson used an anti-Italian slur in her presence.”

She also indicated that she would subpoena “all complaints against Mr. Anderson for allegations of discrimination.”

Anderson, along with former City Council members Sam Fruscione and Chris Robins and the city are the remaining defendants in the case. Skretny had previously dismissed part of the lawsuit and pared the number of defendants.

An appeal by the Falls and the current and former council members to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City, asking that the entire suit to be dismissed, was rejected by that panel of judges.

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