Lawyer sued for ‘weekend raid’ of clients claims defamation

Published: Monday, July 17, 2017 @ 6:36 PM


            Jack R. Hilgeman
Jack R. Hilgeman

The local attorney who allegedly conducted a “weekend raid” of clients from his former law firm has denied those allegations and made a counterclaim of defamation.

Jack R. Hilgeman said in his answer to a Montgomery County Common Pleas Court lawsuit that Horenstein, Nicholson & Blumenthal (HN&B) made false statements that were published across various print and social media, including publication in the Dayton Daily News, Facebook, WHIO and other social media accounts.

“Plaintiff’s false statements about Defendants were defamatory and intended to injure Defendants in their trade or occupation and cause them special harm,” wrote Hilgeman’s attorney, Richard Boucher. “As a result of Plaintiff’s false statements, damages and malice are presumed.”

RELATED: Attorney sued for alleged ‘weekend raid’ of clients, joining new firm

Hilgeman also alleged that a third party, Fred Sommer III, a partner at HN&B, made false statements of fact in an affidavit about Hilgeman and defendants Christopher Cowan, John P. Hilgeman and the firm of Cowan & Hilgeman and promoted those statements before the public in a false light.

Boucher’s counterclaim seeks from visiting Judge Timothy Hogan a judgment in excess of $25,000 plus interest, costs, attorney fees, punitive damages and any other relief the court determines to be fair and equitable.

“We have adequately addressed the claims made by the plaintiff and Mr. Fred Sommer in our answers, counterclaim, third-party complaint and motions to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint,” Boucher said Monday.

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In the original complaint filed by plaintiff’s attorney Craig Matthews, HN&B charged that Jack Hilgeman sent an email of resignation at 9:45 p.m. on Friday, May 5.

“During the ensuing hours, Hilgeman secretly conducted a ‘weekend raid’ of information contained in the firm’s confidential files, copying the firm’s confidential data onto his own devices,” according to the complaint. “Hilgeman then hurriedly and without notice to or consent of the firm, used the firm’s confidential information to contact the firm’s clients for the purpose of inducing them to leave the firm and retain Hilgeman.”

The filing also included a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Hilgeman, who started at HN&B in May 2012.

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Boucher has sought a stay to all proceedings pending an arbitration process, writing in one motion that “the claims are thinly disguised efforts to avoid mandatory administrative procedures for fee disputes between attorneys and are subject to arbitration.”

Matthews said Monday that the defendants broadly denied nearly all the allegations of the original complaint, even that Hilgeman was an associate attorney pursuant to the terms of an employment agreement, “although his signature appears on the employment agreement attached to the complaint.

“In this context they go on to claim the allegations of the complaint and the article published by this newspaper were ‘defamatory.’ Suffice it to say my clients trust the legal system and remain confident justice will prevail.”

High Court: Sentencing for youthful offenders guilty in adult court stays in adult court

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 6:07 PM

Kylen Gregory, 16,  will be tried as an adult in the fatal shooting of Fairmont High School junior Ronnie Bowers last summer in Kettering.
Kylen Gregory, 16, will be tried as an adult in the fatal shooting of Fairmont High School junior Ronnie Bowers last summer in Kettering.

Youthful offenders found guilty in adult court for certain offenses now will have all convictions sentenced in adult court, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today.

Today’s ruling reverses a 2014 decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeals. The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office appealed that ruling, and the High Court sided with the county, according to a news release from the prosecutor’s office.

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“This ruling makes sense in that the adult court judge is in the best position to sentence the defendant,” Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. stated. "Today’s ruling will help to streamline the administration of justice and provide finality for crime victims.”

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The ruling applies to juveniles convicted whose crimes were subject to a mandatory transfer to adult court. The appeals court ruling that was overturned ordered all other charges that were not subject to a mandatory transfer had to go back to juvenile court.

Teen girl pleads for help in first 911 text call in Miami County

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 9:11 PM

Matthew Weigel
Matthew Weigel

When a teenage girl texted 911 last week to say she was in the car with a 20-year-old man headed down Interstate 75 to buy heroin, it was Miami County Communications Center’s first such call.

It also was exactly the type of situation the text to 911 technology was intended to address, center Director Jeff Busch said Tuesday. The county announced earlier this month it was able to handle texts to 911.

READ: Tipp City drug ring suspect reports theft in Florida, is arrested

A transcript of the communication on July 22 between the girl, who was a passenger in the car, outlined the back and forth communication as the 16-year-old pleaded for help.

She described the situation and provided information as she traveled in the vehicle driven by Matthew Weigel from Miami County into Harrison Twp.a drug buy and their return up the interstate before being stopped near Tipp City.

"He's on a house arrest bracelet and he's trying to take me to Dayton with him to get heroin … cannot call on the phone," the girl texted. She also reported Weigel said he would lead police on a high-speed chase and wreck the vehicle, if necessary. 

READ: Former high school referee pleads not guilty to rape involving minor

The teen said the man thought she was texting his mother, though later in the transcript she texted he called her a "snitch." 

The interaction lasted around 30 minutes. The vehicle was stopped by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Tipp City police. Weigel was apprehended without incident. He is in the Miami County Jail on suspicion of a probation violation. 

Miami County commissioners mentioned the successful resolution of the incident during their Tuesday morning meeting. 

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Busch earlier told commissioners the technology would be beneficial in certain circumstances, such as when someone was in a house or another situation in which a phone call could endanger the caller. Voice calls are preferred when possible, he said. 

"Obtaining and verifying information can be done more quickly through a voice call. Furthermore, telecommunicators can gain valuable insight into situations by hearing the tone of the caller's voice and listening to background noises through voice calls," Busch said on July 23 when he announced the new technology.

Former high school referee pleads not guilty to rape; judge reduces bond

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 5:21 PM

Henry Lucas (Courtesy/Miami County Sheriff's Office)
Henry Lucas (Courtesy/Miami County Sheriff's Office)

TROY – A Troy man and former Ohio High School Athletic Association referee pleaded not guilty today to felony rape in Miami County Common Pleas Court.

Henry A. Lucas, 52, also saw his bail reduced, as requested, following a review by Judge Christopher Gee of a bond check report ordered during the morning arraignment hearing. 

Lucas is accused of sexual conduct involving a teenage girl in Troy in March and attempting to alter evidence against him. He pleaded not guilty to rape and tamping with evidence during arraignment via video from the county jail. 

More than 20 supporters of Lucas were in the courtroom for the hearing. 

Defense lawyer Andy Pratt asked Gee to consider a request for the recognizance bond or to “substantially reduce” Lucas’ bail of $400,000. Pratt said Lucas was a lifelong local resident and would live with his mother, if released. 

“He has tremendous support within the community,” Pratt said, pointing to those attending the hearing. 

Janna Parker, assistant county prosecutor, said prosecutors would request a cash bond for Lucas. She pointed out Lucas has a felony record and spent time in prison. He was convicted of a drug-related offense in 2010. 

Gee signed a bond order Thursday afternoon reducing the bail to $100,000, which can be posted at 10 percent cash or surety. 

Among conditions of the bail, if posted, were that Lucas have no contact with the minor victim, the minor victim's mother and have no unsupervised conduct with minors. 

The bond check was conducted by the adult probation office. 

Lucas was a long-time official for the OHSAA. His license was suspended following his arrest.

1,100 ecstasy tablets seized, 1 jailed in Kettering drug raid

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 2:06 PM
Updated: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

UPDATE @ 7 p.m.

Detectives seized around 1,100 ecstasy tablets and several ounces of powder of the psychoactive drug during a raid this morning at a Kettering apartment complex.

Kameron Curran, 21, was arrested at the apartments in the 2000 block of Lakewood Drive on suspicion of drug possession, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. He was booked into the Montgomery County Jail, where he awaits formal charges.

Kameron Curran(MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL)

The raid ended a drug trafficking investigation conducted by the Regional Agencies Narcotics & Gun Enforcement Task Force along with agents from Homeland Security Investigations, according to the sheriff’s office.

The incident remains under investigation.

The task force urges anyone with information on drug activity to make a confidential call to the narcotics hotline at 937-225-6272.

FIRST REPORT

A man was escorted out of an apartment complex in handcuffs this morning on Lakewood Drive in Kettering during an apparent raid.

The circumstances surrounding the raid were not immediately known, however heavily armed undercover sheriff’s deputies were seen with the man, whose name has not been released.

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Deputies were on the scene around noon Thursday.

We’re working to learn additional details on this incident.