City Dodges Conspiracy Suit for Highway Death

     TAMPA, Fla. (CN) – A couple who claims their son was killed by a truck after being pushed into its path on the highway cannot sue Tampa for its role in the alleged conspiracy to conclude that the death was accidental, a federal judge ruled.

     Kevin McGinley died when he was hit by a truck on 1-275 in February 1998.
     The Florida Highway Patrol investigated the incident, concluding McGinley died from his own actions or forces beyond anyone’s control.
     His parents, Hugh and Gillian McGinley, say that the investigation was negligent in that the department suppressed evidence, refused to interview witnesses and ignored evidence, including a witness’ account that contradicted the official report.
     In March 2009 the patrol’s Office of Professional Compliance concluded that the patrol’s investigation contained incorrect information after conducting an internal probe of the officers.
     The McGinleys say they realized their rights had been violated after the investigation closed in 2009, and they Tampa and 20 city officials for conspiracy to deprive them of access to courts, due process and equal protection under the law.
     Tampa moved to dismiss the complaint, saying the action is time-barred and that the McGinleys failed to establish municipal liability or back up their conspiracy claim. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich granted the motion on June 29.
     “Having failed to establish a constitutionally repugnant official policy or custom by the City, Plaintiffs cannot show that such a policy caused the violation of their rights,” Kovachevich wrote.
     “These claims appear conclusory on their face as they do not indicate any specific, overt act by the City in furtherance of the conspiracy,” she added. “These allegations appear even more general and conclusory in light of the fact that many of the allegations of the City’s role in the conspiracy appear verbatim in allegations against each of the twenty separate defendants.”

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