Canandaigua will pay $1.5 million to family of parole officer killed by police sergeant

CANANDAIGUA, N.Y. — The City of Canandaigua will pay $1.5 million to the family of a parole officer who was shot and killed, according to a lawsuit, by a Canandaigua Police officer.

The family of the parole officer, Sandy Guardiola, sued the City of Canandaigua. The lawsuit also names Canandaigua Police Chief Stephen Hedworth and Canandaigua Police Sgt. Scott Kadien as defendants. On Tuesday, the settlement was finalized, according to court papers.

The lawsuit says Sgt. Kadien shot Guardiola three times at her apartment while conducting a wellness check on Oct. 4, 2017. The sergeant was at Pinnacle North Apartments because Guardiola hadn’t been at work for weeks following a car crash.

Kadien reported that Guardiola had pulled a gun on him. A grand jury decided not to bring charges against the sergeant, deeming the shooting justified. He retired in May 2019 after 23 years of service.

Here is a statement from Canandaigua City Manager John Goodwin:

“This was a settlement arranged to resolve litigation. We made an offer a few weeks ago, to put this matter to bed. We still don’t believe we did anything wrong; but it was in the best interest of the city to resolve this matter.”

Here is a full statement from the law firm that represents Guardiola’s family:

On September 12, 2023, the United States District Court for the Western District of New York entered a $1,500,000.00 judgment against the City of Canandaigua for claims against the City, former Police Chief Stephen Hedworth, and Sergeant Scott Kadien, the officer who shot and killed Ms. Guardiola. Ms. Guardiola had been on approved medical leave for four weeks after a September 2017 car accident and had been in constant contact with her employer. Despite this, a colleague from Parole called 911 and falsely stated that Ms. Guardiola had not been heard from for three weeks. Without calling her emergency contacts, Sergeant Kadien entered her apartment and her bedroom and shot and killed her. The family of Ms. Guardiola—her two children Andrew and Alysa, as well as Ms. Guardiola’s niece, Jahaira Holder, as administratrix of Ms. Guardiola’s estate—has sought justice for Sandy Guardiola since her death on October 4, 2017. The family filed suit in 2018 alleging not only wrongful death against Kadien, but also a claim against the City of Canandaigua for its failure to train officers on how to properly perform wellness checks. After five years of litigation, the Court issued a judgment against the City of Canandaigua in the amount of $1,500,000. “No amount of money will bring these kids their mother,” said Jonathan Moore, partner at Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP and lead attorney on the case, “but a judgment against the City and $1,500,000 is at least an acknowledgment that her death should not have happened,” he added.

The case against the State of New York and Ms. Guardiola’s former employers and colleagues—Grant Scriven, Thomas O’Connor, Beth Hart-Bader, Dawn Anderson, Jennifer Pollman, and Martha Collalto (formerly Lindner)—continues in federal and state court. The family and BLH vow to continue to seek justice for their role in Ms. Guardiola’s tragic, preventable killing.

Mr. Moore added: “Now that this issue has been resolved with the City of Canandaigua, Chief Stephen Hedworth, and Sergeant Scott Kadien, we call on Attorney General Letitia James to meet with us to discuss a resolution of the remaining claims against the State Defendants.”

Beldock Levine & Hoffman LLP has been on the forefront of significant constitutional cases involving police misconduct, the First Amendment, and employment discrimination. The firm was responsible for the ground-breaking class action, Floyd v. City of New York, which successfully overturned the NYPD’s decade-long unconstitutional stop-and-frisk policy. Other notable representations include the family of Eric Garner, members of the Exonerated Five, George Whitmore, and Rubin “Hurricane” Carter.

Here is the lawsuit settlement: