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PNC bank accused of hiding video of wealth manager's assault

Feb 28. 2020
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By Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Max Abelson · BUSINESS 

Damara Scott, a former wealth manager for PNC Financial Services, won $2.4 million from the bank earlier this month in a lawsuit that said she was groped by a customer with a history of harassing women there.

Now Scott is asking for a new trial, alleging that PNC hid key evidence from her for years, and possibly altered it before finally handing it over.

Nancy Erika Smith, Scott's lawyer, said in an interview that she was putting away files after the trial when she saw in photos what looked like bank security cameras, then demanded the video. What PNC sent her shows a man waiting for Scott at a branch in New Jersey in 2013 and following her to a car -- but key footage is absent.

"They produced the video they hid from the police, the prosecutors, us, the jury, the court," Smith said. "And guess what's missing? The five seconds of the assault." Video reviewed by Bloomberg shows the surveillance footage skips several seconds just after the man follows Scott to a car.

"It is shocking -- never seen anything like it in my 40 years as a lawyer," Smith said.

PNC will "vigorously oppose" Scott's motion for a new trial, according to Marcey Zwiebel, a spokesperson for the Pittsburgh-based bank.

"PNC did not deliberately hide the video from plaintiff," Zwiebel said. "It is also not true that the video was altered to omit an assault." She said she couldn't immediately address the gap in the video, but that the footage "reflects all activity involving plaintiff and the customer."

Scott has said she was traumatized by the encounter in Glen Ridge, and that the bank had failed to properly protect her. The $2.4 million she won was for compensatory damages, and she's now asking for a new trial for punitive damages.

The man, Patrick Pignatello, died soon after the alleged assault. He owned a construction company, according to an obituary, and was known around town as "Mr. Glen Ridge."


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