KOSCIUSKO — The appointment of a special judge and a motion for a change of venue have been filed in the case of Clifford Clevenger, Pierceton, against North Webster Police Department, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department and Wawasee Community School Corporation and specified employees of those agencies.
Kosciusko Superior Court I Judge David Cates noted a conflict in the matter and recused himself from the case. He also transferred the case to Michael Reed, judge of Kosciusko Circuit Court for his acceptance. Reed accepted the appointment and jurisdiction as special judge on Sept. 25.
Arguments regarding the motion to change the venue of the case will be heard at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, through a telephonic hearing. The motion states the plaintiff will be biased, prejudiced and harmed if the case is not changed, in that he has had his divorce case and protective order case before the courts in the county. Further the motion states the plaintiff is unlikely to receive a fair trial on account “of local prejudice or bias in that this involves two police departments and three officers and one school corporation.”
Wawasee Community School Corp., North Webster Elementary and North Webster School Employee Christine Holst filed an answer to the complaint for damages, affirmative defense; and a request for trial by jury.
A request for a trial by jury was also filed by the town of North Webster Police Department and North Webster Police Officer Greg Church. Counsel for these entities were also given an extension to file a response to the complaint. The deadline for a response is Oct. 27.
Clevenger had filed a federal lawsuit against the various defendants, which was dismissed in mid-August. According to a judge in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, the wrong words- provisional order instead of protective order – typed on a court order caused this suit to be dismissed. A local suit for damages was then filed Sept. 12, in Kosciusko County, claiming similar issues.
Clevenger was arrested at North Webster Elementary School Nov. 14, 2013, for violating a protective order, after arriving at the school to have lunch with his son. A school official denied him access and notified police. He alleges he had documentation the protective order was no longer in effect, however, officers believed the order was still in effect and placed him under arrest. He was later released and no formal charges for the protective order violation were filed.He is seeking compensatory damages for being deprived of his right to be free from assault, battery, false imprisonment, false arrest and negligent/intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court is being asked to set the damage amount. Court documents state “this is an action to redress violation of plaintiff’s rights under the state tort laws.”
Clevenger additionally states he was not advised of his Miranda rights.
The claim also states Clevenger was terminated from his employment where he had worked for seven years, was falsely imprisoned, assaulted, battered and subjected to “intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress.” It also notes Clevenger was caused “pain for the assault and battery and false imprisonment, as well as, great embarrassment, stress, humiliation, mental anguish, loss of job and job related benefits, financial hardships and damages yet to be determined.”
It also caused him to suffer a “deprivation of his liberty, fright, shock, false arrest, negligent/intentional infliction of emotional distress.”