COLUMBUS – A lawsuit between city of Logan officials and local resident Marshall Lucas, also known as Great Elk Dancer for his Elk Nation, is moving forward after a scheduling hearing Thursday morning at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
Magistrate Judge Mark R. Abel, who previously called the case “frivolous and malicious,” set Oct. 1 as the due date for discovery. During discovery, both parties collect facts, witness statements and gather any pertinent information to present their cases. Lucas’ lawsuit is against Logan City Mayor Martin Irvine, Logan Fire Chief Brian Robertson, Logan Police Patrolman Josh Mowery and Logan City Service Director Steve Shaw.
The $20 million lawsuit has been steeped in paperwork since it was initially filed in the district court in June 2013, on a total of 19 complaints stemming from his business, Red Door Internet Café.
Lucas, who attended Thursday’s hearing with five people from his tribe, is asking the court for “injunctive relief and declaratory judgment as well as compensatory damages for the value of the business opportunity or expectancy that was lost as a result of the defendants’ tortuous and improper interference of his business.”
In late March, agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation raided the Red Door and seized gaming machines as well as personal computers, laptops, monitors and other equipment. All of Lucas’ documentation was stored on these computers, he told Abel. Abel said that Lucas can file this in the discovery report.
Both parties also have the opportunity to use expert witnesses to argue their cases. During the proceedings, Abel said he set the Oct. 1 date so that Lucas would have a fair amount of time to find an expert on tribal law that can testify in the case.
“I am not an attorney,” Lucas told Abel. “I am acting in the best interests of my people and our nation.”
Lucas believes he has been harassed since he first opened his business in Logan, the Mingo Trading Company. He describes the Mingo Trading Company and the Red Door Internet Café as “tribal” businesses.