Man alleges false DWI arrest in suit against state

Michelle Massey Nov. 15, 2010, 7:38am


A Jefferson Parish man has filed a lawsuit alleging his civil rights were violated by being wrongfully arrested for driving while intoxicated when he was actually suffering from a stroke.

Michael J. Baye and Belver Baye filed suit against Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Michael D. Edmonson, trooper Scott Davis, St. Charles Sheriff Greg Champagne, Nelson Coleman Correctional Center and its warden John Nowak, "Jane Doe" and "John Doe" on Nov. 4 in federal court in New Orleans.

According to the lawsuit, Michael Baye was driving to work on Nov. 6, 2009 at approximately 7 a.m. when he became sleepy and disoriented and missed his exit. He states he hit a curb causing his tire to blow out. He claims he pulled over to the side of the road to change his tire but became too disoriented.

Approximately an hour later, Davis arrived on the scene and informed Baye that his license indicated he had two previous DWI offenses.

The lawsuit claims Davis was supplied with the criminal record and license information of a person with a similar name to Baye's. The trooper administered field sobriety tests on Baye but did not perform any testing to determine if Baye was impaired due to a medical condition.

Baye was taken to the Nelson Coleman Correctional Center and agreed to testing on the Intoxilyzer 5000, results of which showed no alcohol consumption on his part.

Later that day, Belver Baye reported her husband missing and discovered he was in St. Charles Parish jail booked with DWI. After obtaining her husband's release, Belver Baye immediately drove her husband to the hospital, where it was discovered that Michael Baye had suffered a hemorrhagic stroke with bleeding in the brain.

"As a result of the injuries caused by his wrongful arrest and imprisonment and his treatment during that arrest, particularly the fifteen-hour delay in receiving treatment, Mr. Baye was required to seek medical treatment related to the stroke he suffered, complications therefrom and the disabilities resulting from his injuries," the lawsuit states.

The defendants are accused of denying Baye equal protection, privileges and immunities, false arrest, false imprisonment, denying Baye medical treatment and harassing Baye.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages for anxiety and stress, loss of consortium, economic loss, medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, psychological damages, humiliation, embarrassment, fear, depression, post-traumatic stress, loss of earning capacity, punitive damages, attorney's fees and court costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by Chris M. Trepagnier and Kenneth V. Ward, Jr. in The Trepagnier Law Firm in Mandeville.

U.S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon is assigned to the case.
Case No. 2:10-cv-04197

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