Ohio City Sued Over Handling of Outdoor Cooking Incident

The City of Lyndhurst, Ohio is being sued over a 2018 incident in which police and firefighters ordered a couple to stop cooking outside because the smoke was bothering their neighbors. Emad Alabasi and Yana Alabasi filed suit last week in US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio claiming the city is discriminating against them because of their national origin.

According to the complaint, Emad is an immigrant from Iraq and Yana is an immigrant from Russia. Both are now US citizens. They allege that on January 4, 2018 police and firefighters responded to their home due to a complaint from a neighbor. Quoting from the complaint:

  • A police officer at the scene told Plaintiffs that their food looked to be finished cooking.
  • The Defendant Lyndhurst Fire Department then extinguished Plaintiffs’ outdoor grill.
  • Plaintiffs recorded the audio and video of the incident.
  • Plaintiffs were threatened by the Defendants that if they cooked outdoors again they would be charged with a violation of City of Lyndhurst Municipal Code Section 642.12 Criminal Trespass.

The suit contains three counts: intentional infliction of emotional distress, a violation of the Alabasis’ due process rights, and discrimination based upon their national origin. Here is a copy of the complaint:

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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