A Key West man's civil lawsuit against the city and two policemen has been dismissed on a technicality.
Shahdaroba Rodd, who is representing himself in his claim that the officers falsely arrested him on his bicycle and incorrectly cited him with boating while intoxicated, did not file the required paperwork by the federal judge's deadline, according to court records.
Rodd apparently had not served the defendants, held a joint scheduling conference or filed a report about all four parties' schedules. An earlier order had cautioned that "failure of counsel (Rodd) to file a joint scheduling report within the deadlines set forth above may result in dismissal, default and the imposition of other sanctions, including attorneys' fees and costs," U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore ruled Tuesday.
Rodd can reopen his case if he meets all the judge's requirements.
"I was unaware of the missed deadline and I'll try to set things right, ASAP," Rodd wrote to The Citizen when asked about the dismissal Wednesday.
City Attorney Shawn Smith declined to comment on the litigation when it was filed, and did not return The Citizen's phone messages left at his office and cellphone Wednesday and Thursday.
Rodd filed the lawsuit in March, claiming that Officers Brian Leahy and Luis Sanchez violated multiple laws, including falsifying reports and illegally imprisoning him on April 25, 2009, when Leahy, in his patrol car, hit Rodd, on his bicycle, near Duval and Petronia streets.
Leahy told other officers Rodd didn't have a white light on his bicycle, which was adorned with Christmas tree lights, according to police reports. Sanchez, a department DUI expert, incorrectly cited the statute that covers boating under the influence instead of biking under the influence, according to the Citizen Review Board (CRB), a volunteer citizens board that investigates complaints against Key West police officers.
Rodd claims Leahy lied about the incident.
Leahy told another officer at the scene that he was "distracted with the crowd and did not see" Rodd's bicycle, according to a police report. Leahy wrote in another report, however, that he had stopped Rodd because he didn't have a white light on his bicycle, failed to stay in one lane of travel and blocked traffic.
Rodd also claims that as a DUI expert, Sanchez knew or should have known that to be charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence, a person must be driving a motor vehicle. According to Florida law, a bicycle is not a motor vehicle, the lawsuit says.
State prosecutors dismissed the BUI and disorderly conduct charge police filed against him, records show.
The CRB subsequently ruled in Robb's favor and criticized the Police Department for its lack of training on the law and attention to paperwork.