MAPPS member sues deputy for undue force

An Ellisville process server has sued a Lamar County Sheriff’s deputy for allegedly using undue force in denying him the right to serve legal process to a Lamar County woman, asking for at least $200,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

Robert David Keith alleges that he was wrongfully arrested, assaulted and searched, resulting in the illegal seizure of his property in a July 2011 incident.

Keith filed his lawsuit against Doug Boutwell in Lamar County Circuit Court on June 18. The lawsuit represents only one side of the story.

The suit, which alleges civil rights violations, assault and battery, false arrest and malicious prosecution among other claims, was removed to U.S. District Court last week.

Keith’s complaint states he traveled to an address in Hattiesburg to serve legal process on a Donna Morgan.

“At the same location, Boutwell criminally interfered with Keith’s duty and right to serve process on Morgan,” the complaint states. “… Keith tossed the process on Morgan’s front lawn, turned around and returned to his car … Immediately thereafter, Boutwell pointed his Taser weapon at Keith, and threatened to deploy Taser darts into Keith’s person.”

Keith claims the deputy handcuffed him, searched him unlawfully, seizing his concealed weapon and ammunition, and left a dent in the hood of Keith’s car.

He also claims Boutwell caused Keith to be held in the Lamar County Jail for an unreasonable amount of time without a telephone call or an attorney, and also asserts that Boutwell caused the county to refuse Keith’s right to make a criminal complaint.

“Boutwell refuses to return Keith’s personal property, including his personal handgun,” the lawsuit states.

Arguing that Boutwell acted recklessly, negligently and intentionally, Keith claims several of his rights were violated.

“Boutwell’s misconduct caused violations of Keith’s constitutional rights, including his right to liberty, freedom from wrongful detention and excessive force, freedom of speech, freedom from malicious prosecution, access to the Courts, and due process,” the complaint states.

The complaint also argues that Boutwell intentionally and maliciously “made harmful and offensive contact with Keith,” and “caused pursuit of criminal charges against Keith without probable cause.”

Keith also makes an interference-with-business claim, arguing his process service business was damaged as a result of the incident.

Attempts on Monday to reach both Keith’s attorney, Timothy J. Matusheski, and Boutwell’s attorney, William Robert Allen, were unsuccessful.


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