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Cincinnati, June 26, 2014. The family of Corey McGinnis has resolved its civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit against the City of North College Hill, Ohio.  Corey died after he was tased in the chest on June 26, 2012. The family has resolved the case for $650,000.00 plus a number of changes in taser policy and training.  The settlement, which must be approved by the probate court, provides that North College Hill will:

  • amend its taser policy to reflect the manufacturer’s preferred target zone;
  • grade officer examinations taken during taser training;
  • conduct competent use of force investigations following taser deployments;
  • take reasonable efforts to participate in a national registry regarding taser impact if one is established; and
  • implement the reforms through a neutral expert with input from plaintiff counsel Al Gerhardstein.

The family was represented by attorneys Al Gerhardstein, Konrad Kircher, and Clyde Bennett III.  Konrad Kircher said, “The funds will be used to support the education and other needs of Corey’s children.  His sister Yolanda McGinnis has been a great advocate for her nieces and nephews and has honored her brother the best way possible through this settlement.”

Counsel Al Gerhardstein, adds, “North College Hill should be commended for including reforms in this settlement.  The McGinnis family wanted the case to help improve taser policies and training.  The settlement sends a message to all local law enforcement agencies that they should honor the preferred target zone, make sure officers are competent with the weapon, and do thorough investigations.”  Gerhardstein issued a white paper in 2011 identifying deficiencies in local taser policies and making recommendations. The Hamilton County Chiefs Association responded earlier this year, agreeing with many of the recommendations.

The lawsuit was pending in the United States District Court in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Al Gerhardstein:  (o) 513.621.9100, (c) 513.659.4765

Konrad Kircher: (o) 513.229.7996, (c ) 513.218.1252

Saturday, May 31, 2014.  For the first year ever, Gerhardstein & Branch Co. LPA marched in the Cincinnati Pride Parade.  The firm was joined by Newman & Meeks Co., LPA and many of the plaintiffs in the three pending cases attacking Ohio’s bans on marriage for same-sex couples.  Over 40 people marched under the banner of “Partners in LitiGAYtion.”  It was joyous celebration of love and family.  Al Gerhardstein said:

This is special.  The successes we have had in the courtroom belong to so many more people than the few lawyers who have argued the cases and the plaintiffs who have shared their stories with the court.  This success belongs more than anything to Ohio’s brave gay, lesbian, and bisexual community who for years has changed hearts and minds by speaking their truth to family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.  We marched for them.

For more photos: Read the rest of this entry »

Cincinnati, Ohio: April 30, 2014: Six same-sex couples filed a lawsuit in federal court today seeking the right to marry in Ohio.  Earlier this month, federal judge Timothy Black ordered Ohio to recognize marriages between same-sex couples performed in other states. His ruling however, stated a broader principle: “This Court finds no reasonable basis on which to exclude gay men, lesbians, and others who wish to enter into same-sex marriages from this culturally foundational institution.”  This lawsuit seeks to end Ohio’s unconstitutional discrimination against same-sex couples.  Lead counsel, Jennifer Branch, said:

“The couples in this case are in love and deeply committed.  They want to get married.  Some have been engaged for years but cannot marry here, at home, surrounded by family and friends, because Ohio forbids it.  Ohio’s unequal treatment of these couples is unconstitutional and cannot continue.  Nobody’s constitutional rights can be voted away.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Cincinnati, Ohio April 20, 2014. Al Gerhardstein appeared on WKRC Channel 12 Newsmakers program to discuss Gerhardstein & Branch’s litigation to end Ohio’s ban on marriages between same-sex couples.

Cleveland, Ohio.  March 7, 2014. A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed today against Richland County jail officials who failed to treat Corey Tolar’s heroin withdrawal which resulted in his death on September 29, 2012.  The lawsuit alleges that Tolar suffered excruciating, painful, and wrenching withdrawal symptoms in full view of jail medical staff.  No meaningful treatment was provided before his death.  By coincidence the case was filed on the same day that state officials are holding a public hearing to consider relaxing regulations regarding Ohio jail standards.  Co-Counsel Al Gerhardstein stated, “These tragic deaths can be avoided.  All Sheriffs need to stay vigilant and provide to their inmates the basic treatment needed to avoid death through withdrawal.”  Drug addiction is a common problem in Richland County and the family hopes through this case to ensure that citizens get the help they need when they experience withdrawal.  Attorneys Gerald Leeseberg and Craig Tuttle of Columbus are co-counsel on the case.  A copy of the lawsuit is available here.  A copy of Mr. Gerhardstein’s objections to the relaxation of standards governing Ohio’s jails is available here.

The case is pending in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio and assigned to Judge Donald C Nugent.

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