Federal civil rights case against Marana dismissed - Tucson Local Media: Marana

Federal civil rights case against Marana dismissed

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Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 6:00 am

U.S. District Court Judge David C. Bury has granted the town of Marana’s motion for summary judgment in a federal civil rights case brought against the town and some of its employees and police officers by Steven J. Blomquist and Sharyl V. Cummings.

Judge Bury, in granting the motion that effectively closes the case, wrote that, “There are no undisputed facts precluding a resolution that Plaintiff’s constitutional rights were not violated and that there was no conspiracy to violate their constitutional rights. The actions of the Marana police officers were cloaked with qualified immunity … the burden is on the plaintiff to prove that the right allegedly violated was clearly established at the time of the violation … and Plaintiffs do not meet this burden.”

Blomquist and Cummings, husband and wife, had sued the town of Marana, its town attorney, the police chief, seven police officers and others, alleging their civil rights had been infringed stemming from Blomquist’s Nov. 13, 2010, arrest for trespassing and disorderly conduct at McClintock’s restaurant in Saguaro Ranch and his subsequent incarceration in Pima County Jail.

Attorney Stephen M. Weeks of Weeks & Laird, who represents the plaintiffs, said he had not had an opportunity to discuss with his clients what they intend to do next. Weeks said options include making motions to the decision that deal with either technical issues of the judgment or misunderstanding of basic facts. He noted that his clients also could appeal the judgment to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Frank Cassidy, Marana town attorney, said he “certainly agrees with the judge’s decision,” but acknowledged that the ruling could be appealed by the plaintiffs.

The incident triggering Blomquist’s arrest and the subsequent lawsuit occurred when Blomquist walked the route of an easement abandoned by Marana and later mounted the steps to the patio of McClintock’s restaurant, where he sat down at a table.

Blomquist contends that McClintock’s is built partially on the abandoned public easement, and that Marana had no rights to abandon it in the first place.

Blomquist first was greeted cordially by McClintock’s staff, who later called 9-1-1.

Arriving police officers spoke with Blomquist and McClintock’s staff, then arrested Blomquist, handcuffed him and sent him to jail.

The lawsuit had alleged that several police officials and officers also played a role in improperly ordering Blomquist’s arrest.

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