A federal lawsuit alleging false arrest by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office over an attempt to repossess a vehicle has been settled for more than $42,000, the plaintiff’s attorney said Wednesday.
Patrick Boles, of the town of Amsterdam, filed suit against the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office alleging false arrest and excessive force in the May 6, 2010 incident.
The incident centered around a repo man trying to take Boles’ truck from his property. Boles, however, contended that he paid off the truck in full, according to his attorney E. Robert Keach. The dispute essentially centered around late fees.
Boles got into the truck and refused to let the repo man take it. The Sheriff’s Office was called. After reviewing the paperwork, Sgt. Thomas Flickinger ordered Boles out and then, when Boles refused, pulled him out of the truck, according to Keach.
Boles was then charged with resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, charges that were later dropped.
Keach argued that local police have no authority to intervene in disputes over personal property. They can only get involved if some other unlawful act happens.
A repo company also can’t take a vehicle from private property without a court order, Keach said. The company didn’t have one.
The county and repo company recently settled the case in U.S. District Court. Keach said the total settlement amount was $42,500.
Montgomery County Attorney Doug Landon confirmed that the case had been settled. He noted there were no judicial findings of liability. He referred further comment to the attorneys who directly handled the case. They could not be reached.
Keach said his client is happy with the outcome. The attorney said Boles sees the resolution as a complete vindication and shows he did nothing wrong.
Boles also has no hard feelings against the sergeant, but was acting as best he could without proper training, Keach said.
“Mr. Boles would not have been arrested and prosecuted if Sgt. Flickinger had been provided with appropriate training by his supervisors,” Keach said in a statement.
Keach has targeted the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Michael Amato in multiple previous lawsuits alleging violations of inmate rights at the jail and other violations.
One of Keach’s more prominent lawsuits related to the jail was filed in 2003 over the facility’s strip search policy. That class-action suit resulted in a $2 million settlement in 2006.
The attorney also filed two lawsuits against the jail last month, one alleging a wheelchair-bound inmate fell and broke his hip due to inadequate shower facilities. The other suit alleged the jail was violating state standards by not feeding inmates enough.