PLYMOUTH — Plymouth is one of about 50 municipalities recently named in a major lawsuit, according to City Attorney Sean Surrisi. Kevin D. Miller was searched by a Plymouth Police Department K9 unit in 2009 following a traffic stop by the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department. Miller has since claimed that Plymouth’s K9 — and all other dogs trained at Vohne-Liche Kennels in Peru — are unreliable. Miller claims that the dog falsely detected drugs in his vehicle and that the search was traumatizing to himself and his wife. Miller was not arrested or charged.
Surrisi said that the suit was filed in late January of this year, and Plymouth received notification of it in late February.
“We are defending (the lawsuit) vigorously,” said Surrisi in an interview Thursday. “It’s all in very early stages at this point. (Miller) is seeking a court order for the municipalities involved to stop utilizing their K9 units.”
Surrisi said that he could not comment on whether such a court order was likely to be issued. He also mentioned that some municipalities are contesting their involvement in the lawsuit, claiming that their K9 units did not come from Vohne-Liche Kennels. Surrisi confirmed that Plymouth’s K9 was trained at Vohne-Liche, but he has no reason to believe that there are any problems with the kennel. Vohne-Liche is also being sued by Miller.
“There are serious legal and factual deficiencies with Miller’s complaint,” said Surrisi. “The city of Plymouth respects the civil rights of all and stands behind its police officers.”
The city has until April 11 to file a response to the lawsuit.