Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sixth Circuit Grants Steubenville Plaintiff Civil Rights Claim Procedural Right of Appeal on All Relevant Issues Including City Policy and ADA Claims

The Sixth Circuit has decided an important procedural matter in favor of Plaintiff
Sean Scipio Sr in relation to his pending appeal of his Steubenville related civil rights
police misconduct case.

Sean Scipio had filed a complaint against the city of Steubenville in 2005 through
Attorney Richard Olivito. The case was managed thru discovery and until summary
Judgment briefs by Mr. Olivito until his license went under Ohio Supreme Court
Review in late 2006. The case was tried on one claim only, w/three other claims withheld
from the jury late last year. The verdict was a defense favorable verdict on the excessive
force claim but there were a number of remaining issues and various serious deficiencies
which produced a timely filed notice of appeal of both the verdict and the outstanding
claims that were not litigated at trial.

The defense lawyers then filed a motion to dismiss the appeal this past Spring as one not proper and incomplete and as not granting jurisdiction to the remaining claims of the

The underlying procedural history of the district court level case had a series of very odd occurances and in court related decisions that do not appear to meet the demands of basic due process and fairness as well as incorporating the sense of broad liberal interpretation that is supposed to follow such Section 1983 litigation claims.

Thus, after these several unique decisions by the district court in Columbus and after his subsitute counsel filed a responsive summary judgment brief but also made a mistake in terms of the false arrest claim, incorrectly misfiling a pre trial motion that stated that there was no false arrest claim despite the fact the responsive brief contained an argument in favor of one and also the complaint mentions four separate times the nature of one of the claims being based on the Fourth Amendment
improper search and seizure, the plaintiff based his notice of appeal as one inclusive of all the remaining claims, not just the one excessive force claim that was tried to a jury last November, including a very strong false arrest related claim that the lower court had months prior to the trial, taken away from the jury, on procedural related grounds.

The district court had held upon the original responsive brief filing of the plaintiffs, that there was a sufficient evidence to overcome summary judgment on the false arrest claim. Then, two weeks later, in a very odd reversal, the court after the misnomer was pointed out to the court by the defendant's reply brief, it changed its mind and issued an order recinding its earlier decision stating that the case contained no false arrest claim.

This irony was very obvious and it led to more irregularities in the case
Now, the sixth circuit has granted now the plaintiffs the right to appeal over the objection of the defense lawyer procedural motion to dismiss the plaintiff's appeal, the right to appeal the false arrest claim, as well as several critical claims that were also dismissed by the district court against the manifest weight of the evidence.

The decision represents a victory on procedural grounds for Scipio at this time and represents a critical allowance for the three year old litigation effort to continue and for the plaintiffs to have a true independent chance to present their substantive varied claims before a truly independent judicial review perhaps for the first time since the case was actually filed in 2005 by Attorney
Richard Olivito.

It also produces a great deal of torque on the local system from the City of
Steubenville who has had the longest consecutive police misconduct Federal
DOJ consent decree in the United States history which was at the time of the incident
complained of in this and related cases still operative and supposedly being enforced
at the time of the alleged Scipio constitutional violations and events.

The fact that the Sixth Circuit will be hearing various claims including the critical
pattern and practice Section 1983 'policy' claim from inside the City of Steubenville represents a major milestone in these various related civil rights police cases and present circumstances facing the plaintiffs in this very timely high federal court decision.

The plaintiff and Midwest Center Director Richard Olivito will anxiously await the final briefing schedule and outcomes on this closely watched interested legal theory case containing several novel approaches to police misconduct and citizen police encounters including a claim which
raises the issue of whether or not the American w/Disabilities Act applies to police
citizen arrest encounters, an issue which several Circuits have spoken to in the past
but one that needs further clarification from the Sixth Circuit going forward.