Now, here is a case showing the need to get one’s captioning right on civil complaints in Warren, Michigan. Inez M. Starks, 55, was given a fine for suing the police department over an alleged dog attack. Judge David Viviano (left) fined her $500 for actually naming the dog, Liberty, in the lawsuit. She was also given a $500 fine for failing to appear in court.
Starks sued the city of Warren and several police officers after a April 7, 2007 incident outside of her daughter’s home when she was allegedly bitten on the right buttock by Liberty. She claims the bite injured her sacroiliac nerve, impairing her ability to walk. The police insist that there is no proof of a bite.
Judge David Viviano ordered Starks to pay the $1,000 fine by April 13. I have the fine for failure to appear a bit more understandable than the fine for naming the dog if this is a pro se litigant. Usually, a court will cut a pro se litigant a bit of slack in such mistakes. This seems a bit harsh.
Besides, as John Adams said about liberty: “The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.” Ok, it might have been a different Liberty.
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