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Ex-Hills Football Player Sues School, Town for $15M

Troy Zaffino claims his rights were violated and he was falsely arrested.

One of the nine Wayne Hills football players accused of aggravated assault filed a federal lawsuit last week against several town and Wayne education officials seeking at least $15 million in damages for false arrest and violation of his constitutional rights, NorthJersey.com reported Wednesday.

Troy Zaffino was one the Wayne Hills High football players Nov. 8, 2011. The players allegedly attacked two Wayne Valley High School students at a Halloween party at a house on Urban Club Road Oct. 29, 2011. They allegedly left the victims in the street, one of them unconscious.

Zaffino names in the suit several township and education officials and employees, including Board of Education Trustees, Mayor Chris Vergano, Police Chief John Reardon, and Capt. James Clarke, among others. At least some of those individauls were named in a Notice of Claim . Zaffino was a minor when the notice was sent and not mentioned by name in it.

Mayor Chris Vergano said Wednesday night that the township has been served with the suit. Town counsel Matthew Giacobbe said the matter will be referred to the New Jersey Joint Insurance Fund who will assign counsel to represent the town. Giacobbe declined further commnet.

Zaffino argued in the notice that he “was not present at the alleged location” and was “not involved in the alleged incident whatsoever.” The notice states there are “multiple alibi witnesses willing to swear” that he was not at the incident, claims his continues to maintain in the suit, according to the report.

Zaffino, a former team captain, graduated Hills in June. He said in March that  in the matter "has been hell."

The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office  against Zaffino earlier this year. Seven of the players, all juveniles, in February.

All nine players were prohibited from participating in the team's state group championship game against Old Tappan in December. Hills won 15-12.

Andrew Monaghan, the lone adult at the time the assault charges were filed, at a party on Salisbury Road in July. Police said Monaghan interfered with a police officer that was investigation a noise complaint at the party, Reardon previously said.

Monaghan , a type of probationary program, earlier this year.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

George September 07, 2012 at 03:52 PM
NOSE that is the stupidest comment you have ever made, and there is a lot to choose from to make that comment. If he was awarded $20M , who do you think is going to pay for that? Or don't you NOSE the answer to that?
Brad September 07, 2012 at 05:06 PM
if people keep this kind of entitlement attitude, in a few years we wont have athletics in public school anymore. Shame on this kid, but more likely his parents for bad parenting and trying to make a quick buck, but risking future kids of a chance to play sports in public school. Sports are voluntary and there is no guarantee to play, I missed all 4 years of playing football, can I sue for $100M, because I should have played for Coach Olsen and was denied the chance because I didnt try out???
Scondo September 07, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Bad parenting? The kid by all accounts did absolutely nothing wrong. He is by all accounts absolutely innocent. Sounds like "bad parenting" kid was a fine football player who did nothing wrong. What planet are you people from ? Entitlement attitude ? You are entitled to not be falsely arrested, that means that the police just can't walk up to you and arrest you without reason. They must have probable cause to make an arrest, What was the probable cause here ??? If lacking then the young man has a case. What makes anyone think that a totally innocent person can just be arrested without some reason, some articulable suspicion that the person has done something criminally culpable. This case has nothing to do with football or being deinied the right to play. Remove that from your equation.
still in town 78 September 07, 2012 at 05:26 PM
If you know anything about Wayne hills football you would know there is no try outs there is no cuts! If you have the will and determination to play you can play. This kid wasn't even there and and as not allowed to play in a wonderful thing in any student athletes life. The state championship game. Should he hhave sued absolutely should he have sued for 15 million no but I believe he is right for feeling wronged. All because of a lynch mob. He was guilty of being a Wayne hills football player at at the wrong time. If his case makes the boe think next time about what is right and not what is politically expedient then the law suite did its job.
notwhoyouthink September 07, 2012 at 07:41 PM
can't help but wonder how all these zealots will react to some of the recent Valley Football player incidents - They haven't been in the "news (if you can call it that)" - wonder why and I wonder if they're being suspended from play since we now have a "code of conduct" C'mon...lets hear about their football players and the incidents that have occurred recently - or is this the usual double standard - it's ok for everyone but Hills.
C6 September 07, 2012 at 08:10 PM
The main problem in my opinion is the school feels they have so much power that they control and punish kids for situations that occur off school property and off school time. That's a parents job not the school districts job! Let the parents do their jobs for incidents that the school has no business being involved with if its a situation that didnt happen at school. Yes it was wrong that the kids got in a fight and yes its crazy that this family is trying to cash in like they won the lottery but the boe has way too much power for their own good. Let them discipline their own kids not other people's kids!
John September 08, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Gordon- What I think is that you are a hater, that your arguments don't hold water and that your insistence on bringing up red herring issues is evidence of your hatred for the man and your inability to make a cogent argument based on the facts of the case at hand. AKA, you are an imbecile.
John September 08, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Furthermore, my dear Gordo, have you considered that perhaps the man is passionate about his work? That he is driven to succeed and is not content with merely showing up? In this day and age of political correctness I know its unpopular to teach our kids that winning actually matters....but in real life,as on the football field being successful in your endeavors DOES matter!!!!The lessons Olsen teaches these kids on the football field will serve them well throughout their lives. I wish we saw more of Olsens style and passion from many more of our teachers and administrators!!!!!!!!!
Frank Gallagher September 08, 2012 at 02:00 AM
So the coach lost his cool and threw his clipboard, what's so unusual about that? You keep harping on about that, and yelling at his QB... pretty standard stuff for football coaches if you ask me. Wow you are very sensitive.....calling him immature strikes me as the pot calling the kettle black. Go have a nice cry and then try to get a grip.
Gordon Rizzuto September 08, 2012 at 02:05 AM
John I'm not saying that Olsen isn't a good coach or that he doesn't even have a passionf or the game. You think he'd ever treat Kevin the way he treated his quarterback back then? Absolutely not. John as a coach you shouldn't be cursing out 17 year old kids and trying to hit somebody with your clipboard.He could have threw it at the ground but he chose to throw it in the air.Also you don't realize the point I'm making about Olsen letting his son participate. Olsen was saying the board went over its ground by suspending the boys. Olsen went over his ground by letting his son participate. Who is he to question the board. Also your crazy if you believe anybody deserves 15 million dollars when all they missed was a football game. That makes you an imbecile for actually believing some so stupid. You can't say that his right to play football was violated when you don't have a right to play football.Also you think Troy zaffino is the only person to ever be wrongfully cvharged? Many people have wrongfully charged over a majority of things.When it comes down to it Troy missed a football game. You know how many schoolds don't even have football? You think they could go to a judge and say our right to play football was denied because we don't have a football program?
John September 08, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Gordon, you don't get it, you will never get it, you are a hopeless case. You continue to make fallacious arguments and raise red herring issues to butress your ridiculous position. 1.) I never said that missing a football game was worth 15 million dollars. 2.) Coach Chris Olsen had nothing to do with this matter. Your insistence on engaging me in a debate over his conduct in a game 3 years ago or that more years ago than that he allowed his 11 year old son to attend a HS Football practice is a red herring, a pure diversion and an opportunity for you to spew your hatred.
John September 08, 2012 at 02:59 AM
3.What I did say is that our city officials, particularly the BOE acted without authority and without regard for the facts, that they were over zealous, that they were motivated by political expediency and that in the process an innocent student athlete was deprived of an irreplaceable once in a lifetime experience, an opportunity for which he worked many years to achieve. To those of you who haven't had the exceptional priviledge of watching your son from the age of 5 devote long, hard hours of blood, sweat and sacrifice to develop the skills necessary to compete at the HS level, please do not make light of what this young man was robbed of. And for what????? So that the cowardly BOE in an effort to preserve their own political hides could give the lynch mob of the ill-informed public the blood they were thirsty for????? This young man and more broadly the people of this community deserve better from the officials elected to serve them!
still in town 78 September 08, 2012 at 07:20 AM
Gordon I understand what your saying but coming from the background that I come from you see throwing the clipboard in the air as an aggressive uncontrolled action. Not to say there was no emotion. Butbut when people do things like that sometimes it'd an over exadrateted way of getting someone's complete attention. He was probably more disappointed in the fact that the player didn't preform up to his potential.
fboy1932 September 08, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Don't know why my post was deleted but here it goes again! I wish the kid gets more and never has to work a day in his. And if it means suing Olsen who I support then so be it. This is what happens when people that have pull and comment on Wayne Patch to muscle judgment and prove guilty without justice. So when our taxes go up i'd like to see the same cry babies on here. Guess my taxes and water and sewer rates going up again. Thanks Wayne NJ!
Gordon Rizzuto September 08, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Fboy you think every person whose ever missed a game or anything in life have been given a chance to prove themselves. Are you telling me you've never eben in a situation where an entire class has received detention even though you personally didn't do anything wrong? This kid isn't going to get any money on less they plead him out. There's no way you can tell me him missing a football game ruined his life thta much that he deserves 15 million dollars. You know how many people would switch lives with this kid in a second.
Scondo September 08, 2012 at 02:25 PM
As required by NJSA 2A:4A-60c(1) and c(3)............ Suggest you all look it up. Amazing how many of you have no idea , none, about what you are talking about.
Kelly Lonigan September 08, 2012 at 02:31 PM
i cant wait for this trial except there is no way it will happen. there is no case. this is a good old-fashioned money grab with the hope of a quick settlement. Is it the parents or the kid that is initiating this nonsense? So what are the actual damages? If 1 'eyewitness" to the beating fingered this kid as being a participant then there is probable cause for an arrest. After that it is up to the Prosecutor and he needs to conduct a full and thorough investigation which takes time. The boe took its cue from the prosecutor. I dont see where anyone did anything wrong or illegal except for the eyewitness who gave bad info. For anyone to think there is a conspiracy against the Wh football team or Troy Zaffino perpetrated by the Police, Boe, prosecutor please give me whatever you are smoking...............You are the same bunch of people who kept telling us the whole thing was a witch hunt and wait until the truth comes out. Well i see 8 of 9 players pleading guilty to a crime....so what am i missing?
Andy September 08, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I don't know... call me a throw back or out of touch but, When I was growing up; Valley fought with Hills, Hills fought with DePaul and DePaul fought with anyone who started with them but, when the fight was over you picked up your "wounded" and left. Later when questioned nobody fought with nobody, anyone injured ... it happened when the tripped and fell down or were on a skate board. Fights were off school property and football was on school property. No one said anything to anyone because if you were in a fist fight... the coach would bench you because of "conduct unbecoming" and you would run laps or suicides for a week. Your parents may or may not ground you depending on the circumstances and of course until the score was settled the nine WH guys would be looking over their shoulder and be ready at every party for the two WV guys to come back with 20 of their friends to repay the beating... no cops, no lawyers, no newspapers ... Life was so much simpler when kids had respect for their parents, themselves, and authority, society wasn't breading "law suit millionaires", it was teaching hard work and consequences ... the days of yesteryear ...
Kelly Lonigan September 08, 2012 at 08:52 PM
amazing how you disregard (c) 3 because its not convenient to your argument (3) On a confidential basis, the principal of the school where the juvenile is enrolled for use by the principal and such members of the staff and faculty of the school as the principal deems appropriate for maintaining order, safety or discipline in the school or to planning programs relevant to the juvenile's educational and social development, provided that no record of such information shall be maintained except as authorized by regulation of the Department of Education; or
Pat September 08, 2012 at 09:45 PM
From what I heard, the Valley boys only hurt themselves. They didn't beat anyone to unconsciousness and leave them in the middle of the street. Apples and Oranges. Can't compare. They may be guilty of stupidity. There actions did not involve a 'pit bull mentality'.
Luis Matos September 08, 2012 at 11:32 PM
When is Jersey Shore filming in Wayne :)
Andy Passa September 09, 2012 at 12:19 AM
WOW! A lawsuit? This is craziness!
Pat September 09, 2012 at 01:51 PM
All I know is Troy better stay at college. If he comes to Wayne, he better be careful. Naming the police chief and arresting officer in the suit, better not so much as spit in public. I see a lot of trips to police headquarters for him and his family.
Hills v. Valley September 09, 2012 at 03:57 PM
I've been scouting towns for a new place to live. I've also been aware of the "Us and Them" mentality that seems to continually strive in Wayne. Sorry Wayne-ite home sellers...I'm passing you by.
Scondo September 09, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Absurd. what you are suggesting is that he would be subject to retaliatory actions. even I who believes every police department in them nation should have civilian review do not believe your idea for a minute. We enjoy a highly professional police department that occasionally has a managerial and public relations failure.
Scondo September 09, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Hardly a major issue, and probably non existent.
careless fills September 10, 2012 at 03:27 AM
The initial arrest was justified. He was in the group that was clearly implicated. The subsequent investigation should have eventually shown that he wasn't involved.
Gordon Rizzuto September 10, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Kelly I agree 100 percent. Time and Time again people have been saying the TRUTH will come out. It was a witch hunt against these boys and Wayne Hills football. What a joke. Suing because he was denied due process for a football game. Where does it end? Let me ask all of you if the two boys who got assaulted should sue because they weren't allowed due process. What judge and jury decided the punihsment for those two kids? None. 8 Wayne Hills football players did.
The Man September 10, 2012 at 08:48 PM
I just wonder if people had to post using their real names would they say the same things? There seems to be a lot of opinions, some filled with hate, and at the end of the day, these are kids we're talking about......
DrSmithNJ October 17, 2012 at 11:22 AM
It's a game...A GAME! I suppose you are going to blame the 3 losses this year on those players and the events that happened last year...Who Cares? IT'S A GAME!!!!!

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