Saying he was wrongfully arrested and lingered in prison for five months as a result, a laborer who three years ago worked on a Sheridan Road family’s chimney has filed a lawsuit that names the homeowner and four members of the New Canaan Police Department as defendants.
According to a complaint filed Thursday on behalf of Jonathan Torres of Lake Grove, N.Y., the plaintiff and two others—employed by Milford-based Jade Enterprises in May 2012—had finished cleaning and repairing a chimney at a private New Canaan home when police opened an investigation that found the work done was “unwarranted, unnecessary and hazardous.”
Police were “called to the scene by the homeowner,” according to the lawsuit. There, the arresting officers consulted with a second home improvement company and, on the strength of that company’s “false statements,” arrested Torres and others on charges of second-degree larceny, a felony offense, as well as second-degree reckless endangerment, criminal impersonation, second-degree criminal trover, sales without a permit and unlicensed craftsman, the lawsuit said.
The charges would be terminated on Dec. 13, 2012, according to the suit, though by then Torres, unable to post $50,000 bond, had spent five months in prison.
The police “acted with malice” and “had no probable cause” to bring the charges, the lawsuit said.
The homeowner stopped payment on a check issued for the chimney repair, the lawsuit said: “Defendant Suzanne Lake used legal process and caused the New Canaan police to effectuate the detention and arrest of Plaintiff by falsely claiming that he had engaged in fraud and/or criminal conduct.”
Lake could not immediately be reached for comment.
Torres’s lawyer, Josephine Miller of Danbury, was not immediately available to speak when reached by NewCanaanite.com.
Isn’t clear how much Torres is seeking, though it’s more than $15,000. Neither the town nor police department itself were named as defendants in the case. The officers named are Andrea Alexander, Daniel Guilino, Kevin Casey and Marc DeFelice.