St. Paul Travelers Settles Stun-Gun Suit Against Pa. Suburb

A Pittsburgh suburb’s former insurance carrier paid $100,000 to an ex-pizzeria owner who sued the municipality after being subdued by police with a stun gun in 2005.

Mount Lebanon police used a 50,000-volt Taser on Frank Caruso, 67, of Castle Shannon, during a parking dispute on July 11, 2005.

Caruso was fined $350 in October 2005 after he pleaded guilty to a summary charge of disorderly conduct in exchange for prosecutors’ withdrawing aggravated assault and resisting arrest charges.

Caruso and his wife, Josephine, 62, sued the municipality, its police chief and a police officer for allegedly violating their constitutional rights and inflicting physical and emotional pain.

The Carusos claimed they had just pulled out of a driveway near their business — they have since sold it — when they were pulled over for illegally parking.

In their lawsuit, the Carusos claimed the officers verbally abused Josephine Caruso after she got out of the car and they used the stun gun on Frank Caruso when he tried to intervene.

St. Paul Travelers, the municipality’s insurance carrier in 2005, settled the lawsuit because it was cheaper than defending it, said Mount Lebanon Manager Steve Feller.

The Carusos’ attorney, Tim O’Brien, said the municipality compensated his clients for violating their rights.