New Berlin settles lawsuit filed by former police dispatcher

Detective revealed medical, financial information

Sept. 19, 2011

New Berlin - A lawsuit filed by a former New Berlin dispatcher after her personal medical and financial information was revealed by a New Berlin police detective has been settled, her attorney said Monday.

A settlement requiring New Berlin, Detective Nicole Saftig and their insurance company to pay his client $150,000 was reached through mediation Friday, according to attorney Walter Kelly. The settlement also required Saftig to issue a public apology, which was done in court Friday, Kelly said.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph ordered the case returned to a federal court judge for dismissal after both parties stipulate to the agreement.

New Berlin City Attorney Mark Blum said Monday he was unaware of the decision. Another law firm was hired to handle the case and a representative could not be reached for comment, nor could Saftig's attorney, Paul Bucher.

Blum said "most likely" the city's insurance carrier would cover the cost. He said Common Council approval may not be necessary.

Kelly filed a breach of privacy lawsuit against Saftig, New Berlin and their insurers in 2009 on behalf of his client. She had applied for a job as a New Berlin emergency dispatcher, a job she held for about six months beginning in September 2008.

Saftig had done a background check on her for the job and, according to the complaint, Saftig disclosed to friends and acquaintances that the woman had undergone weight loss surgery, suffering health complications that led to extensive credit card debt. Saftig excused the release of information as "girl talk," according to the complaint.

Kelly said Monday, "It hurts to have your personal medical and financial information made the subject of office gossip and misinformed judgments. I'm pleased that we were able to resolve the case."

Saftig was initially demoted to patrol officer for violating the department's confidentiality rules, a discipline that was appealed, and she has been returned to the rank of detective.

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