A federal judge ruled in favor of the mother of a man, who died by suicide nearly two years after two police officers brutally beat him in a hospital room, can pursue a wrongful death case.
The mother, Marie Casciano, will continue the lawsuit her deceased son, Andrew Casciano, filed against the city in 2019. Her son filed the lawsuit seeking damages for the March 5, 2018 attack by former police officers Ruben McAusland and Roger Then, both of whom were later convicted for their crimes.
After the son’s death, the mother filed to amend the lawsuit to assert a wrongful death claim. Lawyers representing Paterson opposed her move. They argued Casciano took his life two years after the police assault and the two events are not related.
“Whether Plaintiff will be able to demonstrate causation between the assault and the suicide and prevail on the claims remains to be seen. While it is conceivable that a finder of fact may conclude that the suicide is too attenuated to the assault for the latter to be the cause, Plaintiff’s claims are not necessarily futile,” read an opinion issued by United States magistrate judge Mark Falk last Tuesday.
Falk noted the mother’s amended claims will likely be “difficult to prove,” but not impossible. “Indeed, causation is often termed to be a classic jury issue,” wrote the judge.
Casciano committed suicide on December 23, 2019. He left a note that stated he killed himself “because the lawsuit was too much of an embarrassment.” Lawyers for the city used the note to assert Casciano killed himself not because of the assault, but because of the lawsuit.
Casciano’s adverse interaction with the two now-convicted police officers stemmed from a previous failed suicide attempt.
The mother is seeking to recover burial expenses and damages accrued during the lifetime of the decedent, according to court documents.