GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A Grayling area man who was unlawfully arrested, imprisoned for 97 days and charged with murder has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Cadillac, a Cadillac police detective, Wexford County and four forensic pathologists. The suit, brought by David Ferris II and his wife Jesse Ferris, requests unspecified money judgments for compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages, attorneys fees and costs and interest.
The 62-page complaint, filed here in U.S. District Court, alleges that law enforcement officials conspired with medical examiners to frame and wrongfully charge plaintiff David Ferris II with murder in the February 2013 death of 19 month-old Kalla Fisher, his then girlfriend's daughter.
Ferris was arrested and jailed in March 2014 in connection with Kalla's death. Cadillac police and the Wexford County prosecutor based their case on forensic evidence provided by forensic pathologists employed or contracted by the county. Following his arrest, Ferris was held for three months until being released on $50,000 bond.
In November 2014, Wexford County Prosecuting Attorney Anthony Badovinac announced that he had dropped charges against Ferris. Badovinac said his decision to dismiss the charges was based on opinions and new information provided by noted pathologist and Oakland County Medical Examiner Dr. Ljubisa Dragovic and Henry Ford Hospital pathologist Dr. Adrian Ormsby.
Dragovic wrote in his September 2014 report that he had identified numerous errors and omissions contained in the prosecution's forensic evidence and findings. His report concluded that Kalla's death was not a homicide, but that she "died of bronchopneumonia complicating her head trauma" from a previous fall and head injury.
Cadillac Police Detective Todd Golnick, Wexford County Medical Examiner Dr. Fred Wreford and former Sparrow Hospital forensic pathologist Dr. Joyce Dejong are among the defendants directly named in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants were responsible for multiple violations of Ferris' constitutional rights, including conspiracy regarding the defendants' fabrication of evidence, providing misleading information and obtaining an arrest warrant without probable cause.
The complaint states that as a result of the two-year ordeal the Ferris family was "torn apart by the illegal and improper investigation, arrest and incarceration" and that Ferris was caused to suffer "severe emotional distress; indignity; humiliation and embarrassment; loss of employment opportunities and loss of familial relationships."
"What happened to David Ferris is hardly an isolated instance," said Kevin Stoops, of Southfield law firm Sommers Schwartz, P.C. who is representing David and Jesse Ferris in the lawsuit.
"There have been dozens of similar incidents throughout the country where murder charges involving children have been dropped and convictions overturned because of medical and forensic evidence that has been shown to be flawed and non-conclusive in these kinds of cases," Stoops said.
According to Stoops, a similar wrongful prosecution case based on disputed scientific evidence was recently settled in Oakland County. Defendants in the Wendrow vs. Michigan Department of Human Resources, et. al. have paid in excess of $5 million to settle constitutional violations claims brought by the Wendrow family.
About Sommers Schwartz
Based in Southfield, Michigan, Sommers Schwartz represents businesses involved in complex litigation matters that jeopardize their existence. The law firm also represents individuals in Michigan and throughout the U.S. who have been harmed as a result of medical errors, defective products and other forms of negligence or intentional injury. More information at sommerspc.com.
SOURCE Sommers Schwartz