A New Jersey Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of disgraced former mayor Jose “Joey” Torres in his health insurance case against mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration.
“The City of Paterson is hereby required to provide medical benefits, including, but not limited to, medical, dental, and prescription drug benefits to Plaintiffs on the same terms as similarly situated retirees and their eligible immediate family members, which medical benefits must be provided forthwith,” wrote Passaic County judge Randal Chiocca in a order issued on November 6.
Torres was kicked off the city’s health program after municipal officials switched to the state health plan. The state plan ended his coverage in January 2019 after determining Torres did not qualify as a city retiree.
Torres subsequently sued.
In his ruling, Chiocca also ordered the city to reimburse out-of-pocket dental expenses incurred in January 2019 in the amount of $1,080, all payments made by Torres’ wife Sonia Torres to her employer, Passaic County Technical Institute, on account of medical/health insurance coverage upon demonstration of the amounts paid, states the ruling.
“Thank you for letting me know,” said Torres on Wednesday morning. “It was clear as day. Everything was aboveboard like we’ve been saying.”
The judge also dismissed counterclaims the Sayegh administration made against Torres in the case. The city wanted Torres to pay more than $125,000 for health insurance and leave time.
Torres left office after a corruption conviction in 2017. He served a year in state prison for the crimes.
Sayegh did not rule out a possible appeal in the case.
“We are considering all options,” said Sayegh.
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