"It took a long time to sort through what actually happened in this very short period of time," said Smith.
There were multiple versions of what happened, said Smith, and it took a couple of years to identify all the defendants. The couple previously hadn't seen or talked to any of the officers conducting the raid. Also, "SWAT-like gear" was worn, so the plaintiffs couldn't easily identify the officers, said Smith.
"Many of the police offers really didn't agree with each other on what happened," said Smith. "Once the discovery process was complete, a motion was made by the defense for some re-judgment."
Hudson contended the burden of proof for probable cause to arrest her was inaccurately stated at the trial and affected the jury's verdict, so motions for a retrial were filed. On June 11, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Kahn granted a retrial for the claim of false arrest involving Hudson because of the error in explaining probable cause.
"It is actually kind of bizarre. The judge is the one who gives the jury instruction, and the judge instructed them that the plaintiffs had the burden of proof of demonstrating the arrest is unlawful," said Rotterdam Assistant Town Attorney Michael Godlewski. "You don't see it a lot were a judge ultimately makes a ruling and goes back on their ruling."
Kahn encouraged both parties to try to resolve their differences, which resulted in a settlement being reached so both parties could move on from the incident.
"Everybody recommended that we settle, so that we didn't face worse penalties," said Town Attorney Michael Godlewski. "[We paid] $18,000 to make it go away it was just a way of resolving the claim."
If the town happened to lose the case in a retrial, lawyer fees would have to be paid in addition to any amount the plaintiffs could have won. The Town Board was made aware of these factors and decided to approve the recommended settlement.
Smith added the Rotterdam police department and the town haven't admitted anything by reaching a settlement. It is just a way of resolving the claim easily.
"There are meritory arguments that can be made from each side," said Smith.""