ASU police officers' lawsuit dismissed in federal court

Three of the officers and their attorney may be liable for paying ASU attorney's fees

A lawsuit brought by eight current and former ASU police officers against the University was dismissed Monday, ending a year-long court battle over claims of discrimination, retaliation and denial of access to records. 

District Court Judge Roslyn O. Silver dismissed the case with prejudice, and also sanctioned three of the plaintiffs, as well as their former attorney, David Dow, for providing “baseless” claims in their complaints.

As a result of those sanctions, they may be responsible for paying the University's attorney’s fees for the case. Both parties have until Aug. 11 to agree on how much those fees will be.

The University declined to provide interviews Wednesday, but released a statement.

“From the beginning, ASU has found nothing credible in the concerns of these individuals,” the statement read. “We appreciate the work of the court in getting to the bottom of these baseless claims.”

Read more: ASU police officers sue University

Plaintiff William O’Hayer said the officers wouldn’t be commenting on the dismissal; all of the other officers who were contacted either didn’t respond or declined speak on the record.

ASU law professor Bob Bartels, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney, said the sanctions levied against the three plaintiffs — which are applied under “Rule 11” of civil law — are fairly uncommon.

“They’re not applied very often, and there’s a lot of reasons for that,” he said. “But I don’t have a lot of doubt that ‘Rule 11’ sanctions and motions are pretty unusual.”

Silver also ruled that Dow was eligible for sanctions under code 28 U.S.C. for engaging “in a wide variety of inappropriate conduct.”

Dow was not immediately available for comment.

Patrick Murphy was one of the original officers who joined the complaint, but he withdrew in October 2016 because he said it was becoming too costly to continue.

He said the other plaintiffs had problems with how Dow was representing them and they eventually "fired" him late last year.

“Those guys all had problems with him at the time, I did not,” he said. “They had a problem with the way the complaint was written.”

Murphy said he believes the seven active plaintiffs are strongly considering appealing the decision to an appeals court.


Reach the reporter at reillykneedler@gmail.com  or follow @reillykneedler on Twitter.

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