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Cops and Courts

Defamation suit filed against Elyria law director

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    Matt Mishak



ELYRIA — Former Elyria City Prosecutor Matt Mishak has filed a defamation lawsuit against his former boss, Elyria Law Director Scott Serazin, weeks after a federal court dismissed a similar lawsuit filed by Mishak against both Serazin and the city.

The new lawsuit was filed Friday morning in Lorain County Common Pleas Court. On Oct. 30, a federal magistrate dismissed Mishak’s complaint, which was filed in July 2017 and accused Serazin of malicious prosecution, creating a hostile work environment and failing to provide reasonable accommodation for Mishak’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Mishak’s attorney, Shawn Romer, said the federal court dismissed the case after ruling that some of the claims in the original suit would better handled at the state level.

“The judge ruled only on the federal claims,” Romer said. “Our strongest claims were state claims, so we are filing the state claims in state court. The federal claims were dismissed, but the crux of our complaint were the state claims. We’re looking forward to litigating it in state court.”

Romer said the judge did rule on what were considered to be the federal claims, such as federal employment claims and federal malicious prosecution claims. The judge dismissed all of them, Romer said.

Mishak was suspended in July 2017 and fired soon after by Serazin over allegations that he misused city time by working for Grafton while working in Elyria. Mishak had served as the part-time prosecutor for the village while he was working for the city.

Mishak, who has worked with The Chronicle-Telegram on photos taken with aerial drones, has denied wrongdoing. Last December, the Ohio Supreme Court closed its investigation, declined to proceed any further into allegations of theft in office and dismissed the case against Mishak.

Romer said the claims in the lawsuit against Serazin are similar to the defamation claims in the lawsuit filed in federal court last year, which he reiterated he feels are the strongest claims Mishak has against Serazin.

“We feel very strongly about this defamation claim, and we’re going to pursue it to the fullest extent possible,” Romer said.

Serazin said he had been unaware a lawsuit had been filed in Common Pleas Court and declined to comment it. He did say he was pleased with the federal court’s decision to dismiss the original complaint.

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.

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