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$1.5M settlement reached in fatal shooting by Canandaigua police officer

Case against some defendants continues

By: Bennett Loudon//September 13, 2023

$1.5M settlement reached in fatal shooting by Canandaigua police officer

Case against some defendants continues

By: Bennett Loudon//September 13, 2023

Part of a federal lawsuit filed by the family of a woman fatally shot in her own home by a Canandaigua police officer has been settled for $1.5 million.

On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court in Rochester entered a $1.5 million judgment against the city of Canandaigua for claims against the city, former Canandaigua Police Chief Stephen Hedworth, and Sgt. Scott Kadien, the officer who shot and killed Sandy Guardiola.

The case against other defendants is continuing. The remaining defendant include: Dawn Anderson, parole chief; Thomas O’Connor; Beth-Hart Bader, senior parole officer; and Grant Scriven, regional director of the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

Guardiola had been on approved medical leave for four weeks after a September 2017 car accident and she was in constant contact with her employer. Despite this, a colleague from the state parole office called 911 and falsely stated that Guardiola had not been heard from for three weeks.

Sgt. Kadien entered her apartment and her bedroom and shot and killed her. The family of Guardiola filed the lawsuit in 2018.

The judgment was filed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68, which is designed to encourage settlements. Rule 68 encourages plaintiffs to accept a reasonable settlement offer because refusing the offer under Rule 68 will make the plaintiff responsible for all costs going forward if they fail to obtain a better judgment.

The letter of judgment is not an admission of liability by the defendants.

The plaintiffs are represented by the New York City law firm of Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP.

“No amount of money will bring these kids their mother,” Jonathan Moore, partner at Beldock Levine & Hoffman, and lead attorney on the case, said in a news release.

“But a judgment against the city and $1,500,000 is at least an acknowledgment that her death should not have happened,” Moore said.

“Now that this issue has been resolved with the City of Canandaigua, Chief Stephen Hedworth, and Scott Kadien, we call on (New York State Attorney General) Letitia James to meet with us to discuss a resolution of the remaining claims against the state defendants.”

Guardiola, who was killed on Oct. 4, 2017, was a parole officer who originally worked in the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) office in Rochester.

When she worked there, Guardiola complained about hostile and discriminatory treatment by supervisors and coworkers, which was allegedly permitted to continue by several senior officials, including Scriven and Senior Parole Officer Thomas O’Connor.

Guardiola was home on medical leave from Sept. 4, 2017, through Oct. 3, 2017, because of injuries from a motor vehicle accident. During that time, she was granted a voluntary transfer to the Binghamton DOCCS office.

On the afternoon of Oct. 3, 2017, Guardiola spoke on the phone with the bureau chief of the Binghamton office. She said she was doing well and was waiting for a doctor’s note to clear her to return to work.

The next day, the Binghamton bureau chief allegedly tried to telephone Guardiola and got no answer, which he told Scriven. Scriven contacted O’Connor at Guardiola’s former office in Rochester and told him to do a wellness check on Guardiola, claiming she had not been heard from for three weeks.

O’Connor went to Guardiola’s apartment complex in Canandaigua and met with an employee of the complex’s management company. After they were unable to determine whether she was home, O’Connor called 911 and requested a welfare check on Guardiola, stating that she had been missing from work for three weeks.

Kadien was sent to Guardiola’s apartment and met with O’Connor. At Kadien’s request, building management staff unlocked Guardiola’s door for him. Kadien walked through the apartment and opened the door to Guardiola’s bedroom, where she was sleeping.

As Kadien entered the bedroom, Guardiola woke up and reached for her service revolver, which she kept under a pillow for protection because she had received threats from parolees with serious mental issues.

Kadien shot Guardiola in the right arm. The bullet passed through her arm and into her right ear and head, according to court papers. Guardiola’s gun fired in the opposite direction from Kadien and into a wall, then Kadien shot Guardiola twice more, in the head and abdomen.

Emergency responders were stationed across the street, but Kadien did not call for help right away. Instead, he called for backup.

After other law enforcement personnel arrived and allegedly talked about how to handle the situation for about 10 minutes, emergency responders were finally called. Guardiola died a short time later.

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