AKRON, Ohio -- A Summit County court worker, once accused of assault for brushing past an assistant prosecutor standing in a hallway, has filed a lawsuit alleging she was libeled by the allegations.
Holly Trivett Fisher, and her husband, Michael, filed the lawsuit Wednesday in the very courthouse where the incident took place.
The lawsuit names the office of Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh and former assistant prosecutor Kassim Ahmed as defendants. Walsh's top assistant said they were surprised by the lawsuit.
"This incident occurred nine months ago," Chief Assistant Prosecutor Brad Gessner said in a written statement. "[Ahmed] ... resigned shortly after. We are surprised Ms. Fisher and her husband are now suing for monetary damages."
Video of the incident sparked intense social media debate: Was it, as prosecutors contended, an intentional act when Trivett Fisher made contact with Ahmed as he stood in a hallway? Or, as she contends, an inadvertent brush in a narrow courthouse hallway?
Ahmed believed the October incident it as an intentional act and filed an incident report with sheriff's deputies. He contended he was nearly knocked to the ground by the forceful thrust of the woman.
Prosecutors say Ahmed never intended to pursue criminal assault charges.
Many who saw the video believed Ahmed overreacted to what amounts to an everyday occurrence. Others felt Trivett Fisher did nothing to avoid the contact.
In a statement, Ahmed wrote that Trivett Fisher “forcefully drove her shoulder into me delivering a jarring shot that almost knocked me to the ground.”
Ahmed called the incident an “unprovoked physical assault” and said he awoke the next day with lower back pain.
An internal investigation by courthouse officials found discrepancies in Ahmed’s statements and the video.
“We are troubled and concerned about these inaccurate statements made by an officer of the court against another court employee,” courthouse assistant executive Susan Sweeney wrote.
Nonetheless, Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh, in an interview with the Akron Beacon Journal, defended her assistant, saying the video did not reflect the severity of the incident.
Ahmed has since resigned.
Fisher Trivett, a forensic mental health specialist for the common pleas court, is seeking unspecified damages from Ahmed and county prosecutors. Her suit alleges slander, libel, intentional infliction of emotional distress and loss of consortium.
The case was assigned to Judge Jill Flagg Lanzinger.