North Hudson Board denies attorney's claim against village
At a special board meeting Thursday night, the North Hudson Village Board denied the $50,000 claim submitted by local attorney Bill Radosevich.
Radosevich had filed a notice of claim against the village of North Hudson in November for what he called an illegal arrest and false imprisonment. He asked for $50,000 in damages.
Radosevich was arrested briefly on the evening of July 8, 2011, by the North Hudson Police Department after a report was filed by another driver who said Radosevich, 67, was driving "erratically" on Hwy. 35 as the two vehicles approached the village. The traffic stop occurred in front of the Village Inn in North Hudson.
At Thursday night's meeting, the board went into closed session for about a half hour. When the board went back into open session, it voted 6-0 to disallow the claim. Voting for the denial were Trustees Stan Wekkin, Marc Zappa, Jim Thomas, Dan Ortner, Colleen O'Brien-Berglund and President George Klein. Absent from the meeting was Trustee Daryl Standafer.
Radosevich now has six months to file a suit in either Wisconsin Circuit Court or in the U.S. District Court. When asked, Radosevich said he plans to go forward with a lawsuit.
"I have not decided to whether to proceed in circuit court or federal court," Radosevich said. He said part of his motivation is for the village to take a look at itself.
"I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have supported my effort," Radosevich said. "I have received hundreds of cards and emails; many others have stopped by. The sad part is that everyone has his/her own horror story.
"I'm not anti-police, but the village has to take a look at itself."
Radosevich said he will not represent himself in the case and that he would be hiring an attorney in the near future.
"I go by the old adage, a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client," Radosevich quipped.
North Hudson village Clerk Becky Milbrandt said Radosevich will be formally notified of the village board's decision by certified mail in the near future.
North Hudson Village President George Klein said the municipality has a strong case.
"We have reviewed the tapes and Officer Moody's report and believe he did everything by the book," Klein said.
The village's insurance company, through the League of Municipalities, denied the claim. Klein said the village's action basically followed the recommendation of the insurer.
"They (insurer) have examined all the evidence," Klein said. "They think the evidence supports the police.
"Remember, this call was initiated by a witness who followed Bill all the way from Somerset. I'm saddened by the whole thing, but I feel we have a strong case and hope Bill - in the future - will say 'thank you.'"
After the traffic stop in July, Radosevich took a breath test and no alcohol was present in his system. North Hudson Police Officer Robert Moody, however, handcuffed and arrested Radosevich. According to the incident report, Moody suspected some other drug may have been present in Radosevich's system. Moody indicated that he did not believe Radosevich performed adequately on a couple of phases of the field sobriety test. Radosevich later volunteered to have a blood draw at the hospital, but was then told it was not necessary.
Radosevich defended his inability to complete a couple of the field tests because of his physical condition after being in his vehicle for nearly eight hours that day.
In his Notice of Claim, Radosevich notes that he was returning to his home in North Hudson after attending a funeral in Ashland. He also noted that despite the alcohol reading of 0.00, he was immediately arrested, handcuffed and placed in the back of the village squad car, unattended for 30 minutes with the "interior temperature of the squad car believed to be in excess of 100 degrees."
Eventually Moody telephoned North Hudson Police Chief Mark Richert who advised Moody to "un-arrest" Radosevich (about 7:10 p.m.) and give him a ride home. In the report, Richert is quoted as saying Moody's "findings may have been relevant, but were likely to be insufficient to prove impairment."
In the Notice of Claim, Radosevich said: As a result of the acts of North Hudson Officer Moody, he has suffered harm to his professional reputation and embarrassment, pain to his wrists, humiliation and emotional distress, all to his damage in the sum of $50,000.