Push back: Mitchell hearing delayed indefinitely
A hearing scheduled for Friday, May 21, in Gerry Mitchell's $850,000 suit against the City of Charlottesville and two police officers has been indefinitely delayed after retired Augusta County Judge Thomas Wood, appointed to hear the case after Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Edward Hogshire recused himself, withdrew this week due to an undisclosed health issue.
In November 2006, Mitchell, who is confined to a wheelchair, was struck in a West Main Street crosswalk by an Albemarle County police cruiser, then ticketed in the UVA emergency room by Charlottesville police officer Steve Grissom. Mitchell filed suit against the City, Grissom, and the Albemarle County police officer who struck him, Gregory C. Davis, in June 2009, alleging negligence, malicious prosecution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Lawyers for the City and for Grissom had filed a motion to dismiss the case based on the legal concept of sovereign immunity, which protects government entities from liability.
City attorney John Zunka has not returned the Hook's repeated calls for comment. Mitchell's attorney, Richard Armstrong, notes that this delay could be lengthy since the Virginia Supreme Court must now appoint a replacement for Judge Wood, who received a commendation from the Virginia General Assembly earlier this year.
"It's unfortunate that this case keeps getting delayed," says Armstrong, "but we still look forward to having the people of Charlottesville decide whether these were appropriate actions on the part of the police department."