The city of Evansville, Indiana has finally settled an ongoing lawsuit stemming from the wrongful ejection of a man from the city’s zoo for openly carrying a firearm. The initial incident occurred on September 10, 2011.
From a 2011 press release from the Law Offices of Guy A. Relford announcing the lawsuit captured at opencarry.org:
On September 10, 2011, Mr. Magenheimer, his wife and four-month old child were enjoying an afternoon in the petting zoo ot the Mesker Park Zoo & Botanical Garden, owned and operated by the Evansville Department of Parks & Recreation. Mr. Magenheimer was lawfully carrying a handgun at the time, with his Indiana License to Carry Handgun in his possession. After a zoo employee apparently called police, Mr. Magenheimer was approached by four members of the Evansville Police Department, who first ordered him to conceal his firearm (which he had no legal obligation to do), then ordered him to leave the zoo property. When Mr. Magenheimer attempted to explain to the officers that their actions were illegal, the officers forcibly removed him from the property.
The actions of the EPD and zoo personnel clearly violate Indiana law, by enforcing an illegal policy regulating “firearms” and/or the “carrying . . . of firearms” by a unit of local government. As such, both the City and the DP&R are liable to Mr. Magenheimer for damages, attorney’s fees, declaratory relief and injunctive relief.
The suit was filed with the Clerk of the Circuit and Superior Courts of Vanderburgh County in Evansville, Indiana.
The city has been fighting, delaying and losing ever since. In June of 2015, the City of Evansville lost at the appeals court level. They then appealed the case to the Indiana Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruled against them in December of 2015.
They tried yet again, arguing on a technicality, and lost at the appeals court level in June of 2017. They lost one more time (the case was denied) at the Supreme Court in December of 2017.
On December 5th, 2017, an Evansville Courier & Press columnist wrote about the city’s delay tactics. Every move cost the city more, because Indiana law requires the city to pay the legal fees of the open carrier.
Yet here the city is, after more than half-a-decade, offering the same legal arguments multiple courts have already hurled aside. Lawyers have tried several times to win on a technicality. They say Magenheimer should have filed his suit as a tort claim – the way citizens usually sue governments. And since he didn’t, it should be thrown out.
No one’s buying that. The Indiana Court of Appeals denied Evansville’s motion to dismiss the case over the summer. And after a ruling last week, the state Supreme Court has now twice refused to hear it.
With all other options exhausted, the case will either go to trial or mediation, Guy Relford, Magenheimer’s attorney, told the Courier & Press Monday.
And it’s about time. This thing is older than both of my children. It’s been going on so long I forgot I’ve already written about it.
In February of 2018, there was a hearing journal entry as stated in opencarry.com:
“Parties appear telephonically and advise the court that mediation is scheduled to commence on 2/19/18 with Timothy Born. Once the court is notified of the mediation results, appropriate proceedings will be scheduled.”
I contacted Magenheimer’s attorney, Guy A. Relford. He confirmed that the case has been settled, but couldn’t tell me anything more about the details. His unwillingness to provide more information shows there’s a non-disclosure agreement in place. It has been reported plantiff Magenheimer has a new truck.
We may never know how exactly how much the city or its insurance carrier paid Mr. Magenheimer. And Evansville’s taxpayers will foot the bill — either in the settlement amount or higher insurance premiums or both — for the city’s anti-Second Amendment ideology and stubbornness.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.