published Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Judge dismisses $1.5 million lawsuit against Red Bank

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    John Anthony Murray sued Red Bank for $1.5 million, claiming he was arrested illegally on a DUI charge. Murray failed to appear in court and the lawsuit was dismissed.

A judge dismissed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Red Bank after a man who claimed he was arrested illegally on a DUI charge failed to appear in court Tuesday.

John Anthony Murray filed the lawsuit on Aug. 16, 2010, against Red Bank, Hamilton County, former Chief of Red Bank Police Larry Sneed, Red Bank police Officer Tammie Delashmitt and Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Deputy Jim Delashmitt.

"We're pleased with the outcome," Nathan Rowell, an attorney representing Red Bank, said following the hearing in front of Chief U.S. District Judge Curtis Collier.

Rowell and attorneys Keith Grant, who represents Sneed, and Jerry Tidwell, who represents Tammie Delashmitt, declined to comment further on the lawsuit.

Murray did not attend the hearing.

Collier had allowed Murray's former attorney, Robin Flores, to remove himself from the case in August. The judge advised Murray to stay on schedule with filings in the lawsuit. He did not.

Collier said Murray did not respond to the defendants' requests for discovery materials and had not communicated with the court between hearings.

Rowell, Grant and Tidwell said they could not reach Murray when they tried to contact him.

Red Bank Officer Delashmitt pulled Murray over near Soddy-Daisy, miles outside Red Bank jurisdiction, after noticing erratic driving. She then called her husband, Jim Delashmitt, for assistance, according to Times Free Press archives.

In his initial complaint, Murray claimed that officials had not provided him food, water, toilet breaks or telephone calls during his eight-hour stay in the Red Bank holding cell before he was taken to Hamilton County Jail.

The complaint also states that the Delashmitts "deleted [and] altered" county and city police records to justify the arrest and prosecution.

Murray's lawsuit was one of four filed against Red Bank in the summer of 2010. Together, the filings totaled more than $6 million.

Red Bank police Cpl. Rebecca Chauncey sued the city on Aug. 23, 2010, for suspension without pay, a move her attorney called "retaliatory" after she tried to stop Murray's arrest.

Sneed filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Red Bank for "retaliatory discharge" and "political conspiracy" on July 2, 2010.

On Aug. 4, 2010, Officer Bradley Hanon sued the city for "defamation, humiliation and mental anguish" after he said he exposed incidents of alleged improper police work.

All three cases are ongoing. Hanon and Chauncey's cases had been stayed by Collier, pending a new trial date.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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UjokinRIGHTQ said...

He didn't show up? Or was he PREVENTED from showing up? There's a very big difference, and wouldn't be the first time someone was harassed and threaten into not showing up.

September 28, 2011 at 11:31 a.m.
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