City, county prevail on request to expedite lawsuit proceedings

By Ben Holbrook | Aug 02, 2017

A U.S. District Court judge granted a motion by the city of Belfast and Waldo County seeking an expedited resolution to an ongoing lawsuit filed by Bradley Williams.

On July 26, U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby granted a motion by the city and county for summary judgment. A summary judgment is a procedural tool that can be used in civil litigation that allows a case to be disposed of promptly without the need for a trial.

In his ruling, Hornby writes that Williams, who is suing the city and its police chief for allegedly violating his First, Fourth, Sixth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when he was arrested for mailing a court motion to Phish drummer Jon Fishman, had until July 20 to file a response to the motion for summary judgment. Williams failed to do so.

Based on statements submitted by the city and county, Hornby concluded that, despite Williams’ claims in his lawsuit, no arrest or seizure occurred on or near the date that Williams alleged. Therefore, without an arrest or seizure, “the plaintiff (Williams) cannot recover on his federal claims of false arrest and excessive force,” the judge wrote.

Hornby also took issue with William’s assertion that Belfast police and the Sheriff’s Office were responsible for protecting him and refused to provide police services. In fact, Hornby notes in his ruling there isn’t a constitutional duty to protect or provide police services.

The judge rejected two additional claims by Williams — that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to violate his civil rights and that he was a victim of malicious prosecution. On the issue of the civil rights violation, Hornby writes there is no evidence in the record to support a conspiracy. As to the malicious prosecution assertion, the judge states that since Williams was not arrested on the date outlined in the lawsuit, the claim has no basis.

Hornby concluded his ruling by granting the city’s motion for summary judgment on claims against the municipality. He also granted the county’s motion for summary judgment on all federal claims against them.

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