Update (May 30, 2018): We learn this week that the defendant City of Gilbert in the lawn mower clipping/alleged police misconduct case, described below, has apparently satisfied its cost judgment of $7,301.87 against the unsuccessful plaintiff in this small-town dust-up of alleged police officer/citizen (mis)conduct.
This post should serve as a seasonally appropriate reminder about the perils of grass clippings. It is also a reminder to plaintiff’s lawyers, who must always warn their clients, even “pure contingent fee” clients, that their worst case scenario can be worse than a recovery of zero dollars.
Update (February 6, 2015): The decision is in: total defense win in the Eveleth grass clipping case, described below. Congratulations to defense lawyers, Pam Vanderweil and Anna Yunker of Everett & Vandwerweil.
Update (January 27, 2015): Consider these facts: (1) There was a relatively innocuous complaint called into 911 of a rural police force about grass clippings being piled on a public roadway on a hot summer day outside of Duluth, Minnesota, (2) the investigating police officer ordered a citizen to stand by the police car while the issue was being investigated, (3) the citizen, allegedly afraid of the officer, defied the officer and walked toward her house, and (4) the police officer, whose order has been ignored, grabbed the citizen, pulled her toward the police car, hand-cuffed her and arrested her.
The parties dueling proposed “findings of fact and conclusions of law” (“FOFCOL”) (here and here) are roughly in agreement as to these facts. The respective parties’ FOFCOLs diverge violently as to many other details of that hot July 2012 afternoon skirmish.
Chief U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. Davis (D. Minn.) had to sit through this trial. Now he must immerse himself in the weeds of this turf battle and decide whether Officer Engelstad or Lanette Heitzman was out of line…