Wrongful death case postponed

Published 11:58 pm Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jury trial reset for Feb. 18

A jury trial has been postponed in a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Ironton and its police department.

The family of Aaron Roe filed the lawsuit May 30, 2008. Roe drowned in the Ohio River in 2007 after jumping in to avoid police.

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Roe’s parents, Lois Porter and James Roe, named the city, the Ironton Police Department, as well as officers Stephen Wilson, Brian Pauley and Mitchell Crum.

The jury trial had been scheduled for Oct. 18 in the Southern District of Ohio Western Division. The new date for the jury trial is Feb. 28 at 9:30 a.m.

Cincinnati-based attorney Bill Gustavson, who represents Roe’s estate, said he has filed a motion asking the court to impose liability in the case based on the admitted facts and to have the jury decide only the amount of money to be awarded.

The defense, on the other hand, is trying to get the matter dismissed.

“We’d love to have that happen,” said Attorney Ken Harris, of Columbus, who represents the city and the police department. “And the plaintiff side is trying to do the flipside, and find some liability on the part of the defendants.

“This is a pretty routine sort of thing.”

The lawsuit, which seeks $2 million for the loss of Roe and emotional distress, claims that on June 2, 2007, Roe was at the Fuzzy Duck Bar with his brother, Allen Roe, when Roe bumped into a ceiling fan. Another bar patron then attempted to start a fight with Roe and officers were called to the scene. Roe fled officers Pauley, Wilson and Crum, who had pointed their Tasers at him, according to the lawsuit.

Roe got into the Ohio River to avoid police. The lawsuit also alleges that while Roe was in the water, one of the officers fired his Taser at him, striking him.

The suit alleges further that police officers refused to help Roe or let his brother help him.

Roe’s body was found in the water the next day.