03/04/13 On Wednesday, Federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt entered an order sanctioning Kevin D. Miller, the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed last year against the City of Plymouth’s K-9 Unit. The Court ordered Mr. Miller to pay the City $810.43 in attorney’s fees and expenses and prohibited him from making any further filings against the City.
In January 2012, Miller named Plymouth as a defendant among approximately 50 other municipalities, all of whom had K-9 Units trained by Vohne-Liche Kennels. Miller alleged that the dogs trained by Vohne-Liche were unreliable and he requested an injunction preventing the named municipalities from using their dogs until each dog could be tested. The City responded to the lawsuit with a motion addressing the procedural deficiencies in Miller’s complaint, contending the lawsuit was filed frivolously and in bad faith, and seeking an award of attorney’s fees and sanctions. The City was dismissed from the lawsuit in June of 2012, but, at that time, the court advised that it would still consider the City’s motion for sanctions.
In 2009, Miller had filed a separate lawsuit against the City’s K-9 Unit, in a different federal court, seeking monetary damages for alleged federal civil rights and state law claims arising from a 2008 traffic stop in which the City’s K-9 Unit performed a vehicle search. That case was decided in December with a jury returning a verdict in favor of the City on all of Miller’s claims. When granting the City’s motion for sanctions, Judge Walton Pratt took Miller’s prior filing against the City into account stating, “it was inappropriate and frivolous of Mr. Miller to file a second lawsuit against the City of Plymouth in this Court while simultaneously litigating a suit in the Northern District.”
City Attorney Sean Surrisi stated, “The City is currently reviewing the court’s order and will begin efforts to collect the fee award from Miller in the near future.”