Case against former ADA dismissed

JOHNSTOWN – A longstanding civil case involving state and federal action against a former Fulton County assistant district attorney accused of improperly jailing a woman has been dismissed.

An order discontinuing the February 2008 case by Stephanie Flagler of Oneida County against Gloversville attorney Matthew E. Trainor and Fulton County was filed Friday in state Supreme Court in Johnstown.

The 2nd Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals in New York City previously issued a mandate dismissing the second federal appeal March 13. The original dismissal of Flagler’s complaint against Trainor was through U.S. District Court in Albany on Nov. 1.

In a case from 2008, Flagler filed a lawsuit against Trainor, who now has a private practice in Gloversville. Trainor didn’t return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

Flagler had filed a $2 million suit against Trainor and Fulton County, but U.S. Northern District Senior Judge Neal P. McCurn in Utica dismissed all four of the plaintiff’s causes of action in September 2010.

The Flagler complaint was because she was ordered jailed briefly through Trainor as a material witness in a case involving her ex-boyfriend, Brandon Becker. She had filed a similar lawsuit seeking unspecified damages in state Supreme Court in Johnstown.

In her original complaint, Flagler claimed she was arrested without warning on the basis of a Fulton County Court witness warrant and taken in handcuffs to the Utica Police Department, transferred to the custody of state police and finally to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department before appearing before state Supreme Court Justice Richard T. Aulisi, who ordered her held.

Albany attorney Thomas Murphy – representing Trainor – said Tuesday his client was “fully vindicated.”

“From the very beginning of this case, it was clear that there was no merit to any of Ms. Flagler’s claims,” Murphy said. “In defending the case it was only a question of whether her complaint would be dismissed before or after a trial. Fortunately, the court agreed and decided that the claims failed as a matter of law and that a trial was not necessary.”

In addition, Murphy issued a prepared statement indicating Flagler was a victim of domestic violence and Trainor’s job as a prosecutor was to make sure a jury heard all of the evidence against the alleged perpetrator.

“When Mr. Trainor became concerned that Ms. Flagler might not appear at the criminal trial, he took those steps available to prosecutors under the law to ensure that the jury would hear her testimony,” Murphy’s statement read. “As a result of his efforts, the jury heard all of the evidence, including Ms. Flagler’s testimony as the victim, and the perpetrator was convicted and sentenced to a term in state prison.”

“After the conviction, Mr. Trainor explained the reasons for his concerns and the basis for his actions with regard to securing the appearance of Ms. Flagler at the trial,” the lawyer added. “Some of his comments were published in the local newspaper. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Flagler sued ADA Trainor and the county of Fulton claiming, among other things, that her constitutional rights were violated and that she had been defamed by his remarks.”

Utica attorney Lawrence W. Golden – counsel for Flagler – said Tuesday the litigation “was complex, involving a number of unique issues” and took time to litigate.

Golden noted Flagler decided to withdraw her latest appeal of a judicial decision and discontinue the state action for “personal reasons.”