A Dearborn resident is suing the city and in U.S. Federal District Court over what she claims was a wrongful arrest in 2008.
According to legal documents released Friday by Dearborn lawyer Scott Murdoch, his client Christine Schmidt is asking for $250,000 in physical and property damages for an incident she said led to stress and anguish so bad they required hospitalization, as well as the loss of her residence.
The lawsuit filed Feb. 8 explains that Schmidt was arrested at 1:30 a.m. on March 15, 2008, for trespassing at her rented home on Mead Street. The call to police was made by her landlord, Nabil Hawily, who was denied entry into the home when he came there asking Schmidt to pay her rent.
Schmidt was taken to jail and released after posting a $500 bond.
Murdoch alleges that he then provided proof to the city that Schmidt legally resided at the home for more than five months, including copies of rent payment, paid utility bills, and a copy of her driver's license showing her address as the home at 5287 Mead.
"The city continued to prosecute her for trespass,” Murdoch said in a statement. “Due to the stress of the prosecution and threat of going to jail, my client was hospitalized.”
The case was taken to the and dismissed in April of 2009 by Judge Richard Wygonik.
“I think that the owner of the residence used the Police to help collect rent for him," Judge Wygonik said at the hearing, according to documents provided by Murdoch. ”How can there be an illegal entry if the person has the right to be there? It appears that the evidence says she had a right to be there.”
Though the case was thrown out, Murdoch explains that the lawsuit centers on a civil rights complaint that the city of Dearborn, police department, city prosecutor, individual officers and the landlord should be held liable for civil rights violations to include wrongful arrest and imprisonment, malicious prosecution, gross negligence, and abuse of process, amongst other claims.