In the case of Thomas v. City of Circleville, S.D.Ohio No. 2:23-cv-1474 (May 31, 2023), a federal district magistrate held that police officers may be held liable for a First Amendment retaliation claim and a claim made under R.C. 2307.60 when the officers made a false report to Children Services in retaliation against the father for criticizing the police and calling them corrupt.
In this case, the father argued that (1) the police officers engaged in retaliatory conduct when the officers filed a false report of child abuse or neglect because the father criticized the police department and called the officers corrupt and (2) the police department and city engaged in a widespread conspiracy to deny the father of the father’s rights. In response, the police officers argued that the report was not in retaliation for the father’s criticisms and the city argued that the father did not allege enough facts to prove that the city was aware of the police officer’s conduct. The federal district magistrate agreed with the father on the retaliation claim and with the city on the widespread conspiracy claim.
In support of its decision in favor of the father on the retaliation claim, the federal district magistrate explained that the false child abuse report could have been made in retaliation for the father’s criticism and therefore the case could proceed.
In support of its decision in favor of the city on the widespread conspiracy claim, the federal district magistrate explained that the father did not allege any facts that indicated the city used the county job and family services in a common and widespread conspiracy to deny the father of the father’s rights.
NOTE: This recommendation from the federal magistrate was to determine whether the father could proceed with each of his claims. The final outcome may be entirely different.
To read this case, click here.
Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.
Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.