Thompson Hine Secures Rare Pre-Trial Dismissal of Federal Criminal Indictment

Date: June 09, 2017

Publication: Thompson Hine LLP

Thompson Hine LLP is pleased to announce it has secured a pre-trial dismissal of federal criminal charges against client Jeffrey W. Patrick. Charges were also dismissed for Patrick’s co-defendant, William J. Harrigan.

“Justice was served when the government dropped all charges against our client,” said John R. Mitchell, Patrick’s lawyer. “The government’s evidence did not support the charges.”

In May 2016, Patrick and Harrigan, who were employed by Grand River Navigation as engineers, were charged with allegedly violating the U.S. Clean Water Act during their time working on the James L. Kuber and tug UTV Victory while operating on Lake Huron. The government alleged that Patrick and Harrigan conspired to pollute Lake Huron with oil from the UTV Victory’s engine room operations.

All charges were officially dropped on June 6, 2017, one week before trial was to commence. Securing a pre-trial dismissal in a federal criminal case is rare, and in the past 12 months only nine out of 107 criminal maritime cases were dismissed pre-trial. Robert W. Burger’s experience in maritime matters, vessel operations and engineering enabled Thompson Hine to recognize the weaknesses in the government’s case, which was technical in nature, and seek out the appropriate experts to expose those weaknesses.

“We knew from the onset that these two gentlemen were innocent and would be exonerated from all perceived wrongdoing,” said Ed Levy, President and CEO of Rand Logistics, Inc., the parent company of Grand River Navigation, which owns and operates the James L. Kuber and UTV Victory. “We will continue to always make safety and the protection of the environment priorities.”

Patrick was represented by partners John R. Mitchell and Robert W. Burger of Thompson Hine in Cleveland and Alan A. Crawford of Saginaw, Michigan. George T. (Toby) Dilworth, attorney at Drummond Woodsum in Portland, Maine, represented Harrigan.