Wilton police officer subpoenaed to testify in civil court case
Wilton police officer Douglas Parsons is one of two people who have been subpoenaed to testify in civil court case Sommers, Jeffrey v. [Kluk], Robert et al, at Stamford Superior Court on Wednesday, Aug. 23.
Jeffrey G. Sommers, of Lewisboro, N.Y., filed a lawsuit against the town of Wilton, the Wilton Police Department and Lt. Robert Kluk in 2016 following a road rage incident involving a Wilton bicycle rider at Wolfpit Road and Route 7 on Aug. 9, 2015. The filing by Sommers misspells Kluk’s name as “Klug.”
In his initial complaint, filed June 30, 2016, Sommers alleged that the cyclist operated his bike “in an illegal manner,” made “threatening and abusive remarks,” “intentionally intruded into the flow of traffic to threaten and intimidate,” and “placed himself in the position of being the proximate cause of a possible accident.”
According to Sommers’s initial complaint, the rider “drove his bike northbound into the southbound lane of traffic on Route 7 in order to confront [him] and issue his abuse,” and that the Wilton Police Department has “photographic evidence to support this allegation.”
According to substitute pleadings filed April 28, 2017, Sommers alleged that the cyclist “made a complaint with the Wilton Police Department charging [Sommers] with a traffic violation following the incident.” Later court documents filed by Sommers state that this occurred the around 5 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2015.
After interviewing Sommers over the phone, according to the substitute pleadings, Officer Parsons issued him a traffic ticket.
Eight days after the incident, according to the initial complaint, Sommers hand-delivered a letter to the police department in which he demanded the police “invoke the legal process against the bike rider.”
In his initial complaint, Sommers also alleged that Kluk did not conduct an investigation “to determine the foregoing facts” and “capriciously” dismissed Sommers’s allegations. With that, Sommers brought forth three counts:
- Violation of equal protection.
- Violation of due process.
- Violation of rights.
In addition to “court costs and reasonable attorney fees recognizing his efforts on his own behalf,” Sommers also sought compensation “personally against” Kluk and “collectively against” the town of Wilton, the Wilton Police Department and Kluk to $5,000 or the maximum jurisdiction of the small claims court.
Sommers filed substitute pleadings later that month, in which he alleged that the Wilton police gave him a traffic violation “out of malice” and that the defendants “failed to afford [him] his rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.”
With that, Sommers requested “a hearing on the merits,” as well as $25,000 in damages or “any higher amount set by the court based on the [its] assessment of the value of his Equal Protection Rights.”
On Aug. 4, Kluk and the Wilton Police Department filed a motion to dismiss Sommers’s substitute complaint, claiming “the court lacks jurisdiction over the matter … and the claim is barred by collateral estoppel.”
Collateral estoppel is a doctrine that protects defendants from being tried for the same issue in more than one trial.
On Aug. 10, Sommers filed an objection to the motion to dismiss, stating that “in order to preclude an issue from judicial review via collateral estoppel … the court must review the previous proceeding for fairness.”
Sommers argued that he was not given “a full and fair hearing sufficient to satisfy the granting of the estoppel,” and asked the court to deny the motion to dismiss “in its entirety.”
According to Sommers’s application for issuance of subpoena, which was granted by Judge Douglas C. Mintz on Aug. 3, Parsons was subpoenaed to testify because “he was the author of the police report” that will be used as evidence in trial and he “interviewed [Sommers] on a recorded line.”
According to the application, Sommers believes Parsons will testify that “he lied on his police [report].”
Stratford resident Casey Francis was also subpoenaed because “she gave a sworn statement [supporting a] traffic infraction against [Sommers],” according to the application.
According to Sommers’s Aug. 10 objection to dismiss, Francis was with the cyclist when he made a complaint at police headquarters the evening of Aug. 9, 2015.
Sommers believes Francis will testify that “she was not in a position to have observed what she claimed on her sworn statement,” according to the application, and he wants her to bring “certain photos she showed to [Officer] Parsons that he noted in a recorded conversation.”
Sommers is self-represented, while Kluk, the Wilton Police Department and Town of Wilton are represented by attorney Melinda A. Powell from the FordHarrison law firm in Hartford.
Trial is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 23, at 10 a.m.