Northampton detective sues city, police chief over denied benefits

  • Northampton Police Department FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 7/25/2019 11:36:33 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A city detective is suing the City Council, mayor and chief of police in Hampshire Superior Court asking for compensation for time he took off work while recovering from knee injuries he says he received in the line of duty.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday on behalf of Peter Fappiano III by his Northampton attorney, Kimberly Pisinski.

The lawsuit states that Fappiano, who has served in the Northampton Police Department for 33 years, suffered a left knee injury in January 2009 while in the line of duty and a second injury, this time to his right knee, in July 2012, also on the job. How Fappiano was injured in the line of duty was not detailed in the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Fappiano had surgery on both knees on Nov. 14, 2012, which was covered by injured-on-duty benefits. He later returned to work.

However, the lawsuit states that Fappiano continued to experience “pain, suffering, decreased mobilities and decreased abilities.”

“They were not healed, they were not fixed,” Pisinski said Thursday.

As a result of the injuries, Fappiano filed a second claim for injured-on-duty benefits. The claim was denied.

The lawsuit states that Fappiano underwent evaluations, treatments and further surgeries after Nov. 14, 2012, causing him to be out of work for about 61 days; and that he was forced to use his earned sick and personal time, as the city refused to give him injured-on-duty benefits.

Pisinski said her client delayed treatment because he thought he would receive the benefits.

“It is egregious that he had to wait so long to get rid of his pain,” said Pisinski.

Fappiano got the additional surgeries in November 2018 and January 2019.

“He’s doing fantastic,” she said. “They were exactly what was needed.”

Pisinski said it is her understanding that the department doesn’t believe that her client’s claim is for a continuation of the original on-duty injuries. She also said that no claim has been presented that her client was injured in an off-the-job incident.

The lawsuit asks the court to award Fappiano injured-on-duty benefits and reimburse him for the time he used as a result of being denied the benefits. It calls for the defendants to pay Fappiano’s court costs, and any other relief the court deems appropriate.

Fappiano could not be reached for comment Thursday, and a message said Police Chief Jody Kasper was not in her office. Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz declined to comment.

Bera Dunau can be reached at

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