Just when it seemed that the ordeal stemming from Commissioner Patrick Doolin and Doc Ryan’s owner Jim Shaw’s exchange of words at a village council meeting last July had finally come to a close, the issue was once again revived, this time in civil court.
Shaw filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County on Monday seeking both compensatory and punitive damages from Doolin for having Shaw arrested by Forest Park police following the confrontation.
“At the time the defendant signed the criminal complaints there was an absence of probable cause to believe that the [Shaw] had committed the criminal offenses charged by [Doolin],” alleges the lawsuit.
Shaw was arrested on misdemeanor charges of assault and disorderly conduct following the incident, and the charges were later “stricken on leave” by the Cook County State’s Attorney, meaning that they were essentially dropped with Doolin being given the option of re-filing charges at a later date.
When contacted Monday, Doolin said he had not yet been formally served with a lawsuit, but felt that Shaw’s suit was a “juvenile” publicity stunt.
“There’s no merit to this. Jim Shaw ought to be an adult”if he would like to apologize for acting like a juvenile I’ll gladly accept his public apology,” said Doolin.
“It’s not my job to determine probable cause, it’s the police department’s job. If any police officer felt there wasn’t probable cause they shouldn’t have affected an arrest,” he said.
Shaw’s attorney, Timothy Touhy of the Chicago based Touhy and Touhy, Ltd., disagreed. “If someone comes into the police station and says you hit me with a baseball bat and an officer goes out to arrest you it’s not his job to determine what’s true or what’s not,” he said. “We don’t know what it is that Doolin told police.”
The lawsuit alleges that Shaw’s conduct when he approached Doolin after the commissioner had voted against a zoning variance the bar owner had requested “did not provide a reasonable basis for [Doolin] to believe that [Shaw] had committed the criminal offense of assault.”
The same incident led to the hiring of a private investigator by the village to determine whether Lt. Steve Johnsen had committed any wrongdoing by allowing Shaw to be arrested. Johnsen, a former business partner of Doolin’s, was the watch commander working the night of the incident.
The investigator, Bob Johnson, found that Johnsen had, in fact, overstepped his authority and recommended suspension or termination, though the village reached an undisclosed settlement with Johnsen last week, returning him to work after three months on paid leave.
“He couldn’t take Johnsen’s job so now he’s trying to go after me civilly,” said Doolin.
Touhy said the timing of the suit was coincidental, noting that he was as surprised as anyone to learn that a settlement had been reached with Johnsen. He said that his services were first retained about two months ago, though Shaw has been hinting at a forthcoming lawsuit since the incident first occurred.
Shaw’s lawsuit alleges that as a result of the charges filed by Doolin, Shaw was falsely arrested and prosecuted and had his reputation impugned. The lawsuit seeks reimbursement for Shaw’s legal expenses as well as unspecified punitive damages.