A Clay Township resident has filed a lawsuit in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court against the township police chief and a patrol officer, alleging malicious prosecution.
The lawsuit, filed by Anthony Simon, of N. Genoa-Clay Center Road, also names Simon’s neighbors, Wayne and Dorothy Fondessy, as defendants.
According to the lawsuit and court records, Chief Terry Mitchell initiated a criminal complaint around Sept. 19, 2011 against Simon, charging him in Ottawa County Municipal Court with criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct.
The charges stemmed from a property disagreement Simon has had with the Fondessy’s, who live next door to him, but were dismissed in April 2012.
In his lawsuit, Simon contends Chief Mitchell’s allegations “had no reasonable basis and lacked probable cause.”
Patrol officer Jamie Blausey is also named as a defendant in the Simon lawsuit.
Statements made by the Fondessys to Blausey and Chief Mitchell resulted in the charges being filed against Simon but were ‘… untrue or misleading and had no reasonable basis or underlying cause for a criminal complaint,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit contends Chief Mitchell contacted Simon’s attorney around June 28, 2011 – about when the Fondessy’s statements were taken by police – and threatened criminal action against Simon if he didn’t correct a drainage issue on his property.
“…Mitchell abused the legal process by using it for ulterior motive or purpose of coercing Simon to comply with civil issues being raised by his neighbors…Wayne and Dorothy Fondessy,” the lawsuit says. “Such purpose was not legitimate, regular, or legal in the use of the criminal justice system.”
The suit asks for a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages of at least $25,000 for each count from each defendant as well as court costs and attorney fees.
The case has been assigned to Judge Bruce Winters.
Shortly after Chief Mitchell filed the complaint against Simon in municipal court, Dorothy Fondessy filed a petition in common pleas court requesting a civil protection order against Simon.
In November 2011, the court issued a protection order which is scheduled to expire in October 2016.
Simon has appealed the ruling and the case is pending in the Sixth District Court of Appeals, a spokesperson for the court said.
On the advice of his attorney, Simon last week declined to discuss either case.
Gary Kapp, the township’s former zoning inspector, inspected Simon’s property on July 23, 2011 and in a letter dated Aug. 5 wrote “…there does not appear to be a zoning violation with the drainpipe for your sump pump. However, like I suggested, it would be wise to check with the Ohio Revised Code regarding shedding water on adjoining properties. This would be in your best interest to check those guidelines.”
An email and phone message left with Chief Mitchell for comment was not returned. The Fondessys could not be reached for comment.