Incident involving meter reader, vicious dogs leads to jail time, lawsuit
A Beaumont resident says he was falsely accused and arrested for sicing his dogs on a CenterPoint Energy employee who hopped his fence to retrieve a gas meter.
Eligah Jason Jr. claims his arrest and the ordeal of having to be "booked into jail" caused him to suffer a great deal of "mental anguish." He is suing CenterPoint and its employee Kevin Calhoun for "loss of liberty."
Through Reaud, Morgan & Quinn attorney Trent Bond, Jason filed his lawsuit with the Jefferson County District Court on Aug. 8.
According to the plaintiff's original petition, on Aug. 8, 2006, Jason was asleep at home when he was awakened by Calhoun pounding at his door. The CenterPoint employee said he had come by to retrieve the Jason's gas meter. Jason responded by telling Calhoun to come back later.
"Rather than come back later, Calhoun trespassed on Jason's property by jumping over the fence," the suit said. "Jason had two dogs that were viciously beaten by Calhoun with a metal tool."
Calhoun "falsely" reported to police officers that the Jason intentionally let the dogs loose to attack him, the suit said. "This was false as the dogs were already in the back yard. The false report by the defendant caused law enforcement to attempt to prosecute Jason, resulting in him being arrested and booked into jail.
"Jason incurred the expense of hiring a lawyer as well as the mental anguish of enduring the booking procedure. Plaintiff additionally had to endure the anguish of waiting for the trial of the criminal case to be dismissed."
The suit goes on to say that the defendants "willfully" acted in "concert" with one another to detain Jason against his consent and without authority of law, "causing and producing damage" to him.
"The defendants are liable to the plaintiff for false arrest, detention and imprisonment," the suit said. "The defendants acted intentionally and recklessly… causing the plaintiff severe emotional distress."
The suit accuses the defendants of acting with malice and negligence, which entitles Jason to sue for punitive damages.
He is also suing for loss of liberty, loss of income as a result of being arrested and incarcerated, vexation, humiliation, embarrassment, mental anguish, emotional distress and attorney's fees.
Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District, will preside over the case.
Case No. A179-774