Once again, WMD was right again....Eric "The Chihuahua" Deters and his loudmouthed bantering and foaming at the mouth tactics have been defeated again. Late breaking news that should (but won't) shut up the conspiracy theorists and nutjobs like Dennis Varnau and maybe it will (but probably won't) put Tina Meranda in her place. The judge sided with logic and solid legal arguments over hyperbole and muckraking and paranoid tactics. From Wayne Gates and the Brown County Press:
The case filed by Brown County Clerk of Courts Tina Meranda against Common Pleas Judge Scott Gusweiler is over. Retired Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Nurre upheld a motion by Gusweilers attorneys to dismiss the case on June 17. Nurre agreed with the defense motion that Gusweiler had the authority to order Meranda to give him a set of keys to her office last February and also had the authority to threaten her with jail on contempt charges if she did not comply. Nurre also agreed that Gusweiler had absolute immunity from lawsuits or prosecution while discharging his duties as judge.
However, Judge Nurre did have this to say to BOTH parties:
Nurre also has some parting words for both parties. In the final paragraph of the ruling, Nurre wrote "It has come to the Court's attention that since this law suit has been filed there has been a bit more congeniality between the parties...It is the courts hope that the actions of the parties will reflect greater consideration of one another in an effort to afford the citizens of their community the best possible service."
All along, I have said this should have been handled congenially and negotiated between the parties or taken to the 12th district court of appeals for guidance. Gusweiler should have used better manners, but Meranda was seeking to throw her weight around. Here are her lame attempts to get a victory from the jaws of the smackdown:
Meranda herself noted that, in her opinion, the atmosphere of the courthouse has changed. "It's remarkable how I've been treated with respect lately", she said. "My girls and I have not had any problems at all since the suit was filed." Meranda added that it is apparent that Gusweiler "has the right to order arrests and has immunity whether it's right or wrong."
Nice try, Tina, but no dice. Of course things are going to be different while the suit was going on, you dope. Everyone was walking on eggshells for fear you would sue them! Geez!
And What did the Chihuahua Deters say? Here it is:
Eric Deters, Meranda's attorney, said that his client will not appeal the ruling. "We disagree with the decision, but we accept it", Deters said.
Here is the gist of what the dismissal hinged on:
Nurre's order states "Since Plaintiff (Meranda) is seeking damages against Defendant (Gusweiler) for actions he took in his capacity as a Judge, he is absolutely immune from monetary damages". The opinion continues that as Administrative Judge, Gusweiler "is qualifiedly immune from legal action for making a discretionary decision as Administrative Judge as it relates to his access to the Clerk's office. A Judge's access to the Clerk's office and the Court's files is absolute."
Regarding Meranda's claim of intimidation by Gusweiler, Nurre writes "She must allege that defendant threatened her in an unlawful way-she' didn't; she must demonstrate that she was injured; she wasn't." Finally, regarding Meranda's complaint of Gusweilers "pattern and practice of abusive, overbearing and inappropriate behavior", Nurre writes "the plaintiff fails to allege how he (Gusweiler) exceeded his duties or interfered with her duties".
Game, set, match.
Tina had to pay her own (I am sure exorbitant) attorney's fees. Gusweiler's fees were paid for by a judge's fund.
But, the problem is the damage to the offices involved that have been caused by the animus and vengeful attitude of Tina Meranda. She has damaged and cast aspersions and doubts by the public on the Clerk's office, the Judge's office, and even the Prosecutor's office. And, what about the lost man hours and time wasted on interviews and depositions involved?
While both people had culpability in the whole situations leading to the lawsuit, the blame for the embarrassment on the county and on officeholders therein should be laid squarely at the feet of Tina Meranda.
However, once again, truth, justice, and the American Way are victorious, and I was right again.....
You know, I understand this is Matt's shtick, but I think it's time to bring out, the ole....