Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Court Upholds Dismissal of Angiolillo Lawsuit; CCSO To Seek Legal Fees

A federal appeals court has upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a former political opponent against Collier County Sheriff Kevin J. Rambosk, agreeing that the suit was frivolous and without foundation.

Vincent Angiolillo, who ran unsuccessfully for sheriff in 2008, alleged in the lawsuit that he was illegally arrested by CCSO deputies in October 2007 and that the arrest discredited him as a candidate. The suit also named former Sheriff Don Hunter and the deputies who arrested Angiolillo on two counts of violating an injunction for protection.

Sheriff Rambosk said he was not surprised at the 11th District Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

“I knew from the beginning that our deputies acted appropriately,” he said. “This was nothing more than one of many malicious actions by political opponents.”

The 15-page ruling found that Angiolillo failed to provide evidence supporting his claims.

“Rather than offering substantive evidence in support of his claims, Angiolillo’s submissions to the district court are replete with exclamatory statements and hyperbolic accusations, in many cases wholly unsupported by substantive legal argument,” the ruling says in part.

The ruling means that Angiolillo’s case has now been heard twice, and both times has been deemed to be without merit.

“In sum, we conclude that the district court did not clearly err in finding Angiolillo’s claims ‘frivolous, unreasonable or without foundation,’” it says.

The ruling means that CCSO is entitled to be reimbursed by Angiolillo for its attorney fees. The agency estimates that those fees total $59,000.

“Mr. Angiolillo may have thought this was a game during the campaign, but I will not allow the taxpayers of Collier County to fund his frivolity,” Sheriff Rambosk said. “We will be seeking reimbursement of the attorney fees.”

Click here to read the appellate court ruling.