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Manchester pays $200,000 in downtown bar beating

New Hampshire Union Leader

March 11. 2013 11:22PM
Christopher Micklovich 

MANCHESTER - Christopher Micklovich, the bar patron whose bloodied, beaten face shocked Manchester residents following his 2010 arrest, was quietly paid $200,000 to settle a federal lawsuit he filed against the city and four police officers accused of beating him, the New Hampshire Union Leader has learned.

City Risk Manager Harry Ntapalis, who oversees claims and settlements against the city, said the payment was approved and paid in mid-May of last year. Ntapalis provided the information when asked Monday by the Union Leader.

Ntapalis said the city spent another $68,000 on bills for the lawyers who represented the four officers in the lawsuit.

"It was a global settlement. All his medication, pain, suffering, everything was taken into account," Ntapalis said. He said the $200,000 settlement was reached through mediation among lawyers for all sides.

"There were demands for a much higher amount. We went back and forth and it was eventually decided," Ntapalis said.

The payment is yet another wrinkle in the matter, which stemmed from the March 3, 2010, beating of Micklovich by four off-duty police officers outside the Strange Brew Tavern on Market Street.

Police initially downplayed the matter, but eventually asked the New Hampshire attorney general to look into the matter. After months of investigation, Attorney General Michael Delaney concluded the four officers had not committed a crime, but said it was not the Manchester Police Department's finest hour.

One of the four, Lt. Ernie Goodno, retired shortly after the incident. The other three were suspended, but their suspensions were eventually overturned by an arbitrator.

Micklovich, who suffered more than two dozen broken bones in his face, underwent reconstructive surgery to repair the damage, according to previous newspaper accounts. Police officers have told investigators they believed Micklovich was going to harm the owner of the bar.

A call to Micklovich's lawyer was not returned.

Ntapalis said state law caps municipal liability at $275,000 per person, but if the issue involves a violation of civil rights, the cap does not apply. He said the settlement comes out of a self-insurance fund the city operates, and the city made no acknowledgement of responsibility in the settlement.

Contacted Monday night, Mayor Ted Gatsas said he was unaware of the settlement and would have to speak to Ntapalis before commenting.

Ntapalis said he brought the matter to the Aldermanic Committee on Human Resources and Insurance on May 15. The amount exceeded a cap the city has placed on settlements, so he needed approval from the committee.

Alderman Bill Shea, chairman of the committee, said the committee accepted Ntapalis' recommendation to approve the settlement.

"Judging from the activity, I'd say there is a certain amount of culpability on their (the officers') part," Shea said. Shea said it was not up to his committee to release the information.

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