A northern Kentucky man says a case of mistaken identity cost him thousands in pay and the respect of family and friends. Dana J. Davis said he found out his photo was distributed in an online newsletter put together by the county prosecutor’s office. Next to his picture was a description that said he pleaded guilty to heroin possession and had been sentenced to a year in prison.
He learned of his appearance in the online newsletter when his mother approached him about his “heroin conviction,” The Kentucky Enquirer reported. “I told her, ‘That is madness, I never fooled with heroin in my life,”’ Davis said. The 50-year-old handyman had been doing maintenance and janitorial work at a Covington property for a few years, but after the web posting, the owner wouldn’t return his calls.
The newsletter was created and distributed by the Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office. But the drug offender in the posting ended up being another Dana Davis.
The mix-up happened about a year ago, but Davis continues to seek reimbursement for 11 weeks of lost wages. He filed a complaint with the Kentucky Board of Claims in February for $15,900, which Kenton County Prosecutor Rob Sanders is fighting. Sanders filed an unsuccessful appeal over the summer to get the claim thrown out. The board of claims was set up to give Kentuckians an impartial and fair review of claims against a state office or employee. The board agreed in May to hear Davis’ case.
Davis had tried telling people that the information in Sanders’ newsletter was wrong, but his employers and some family members didn’t believe him. “It had them convinced because of who it came from,” Davis said. The error occurred because Dana C. Davis had pleaded guilty to the heroin charge, but someone in the prosecutor’s office mistakenly put Dana J. Davis’ photo in the newsletter. Dana J. Davis had a photo in the system because he had been found guilty of wanton endangerment in 2011.
Upon confirming the error, Sanders penned a retraction, correction and apology in the newsletter.
Sanders has argued that he and his office qualify for sovereign and qualified immunity, which protect government leaders in some capacities from lawsuits. He entered a motion to dismiss the complaint, but the board of claims overruled the motion.
AP via The Insurance Journal/Oct, 26, 2014