Man suing city acknowledges that his lawsuit lacks facts, asks court for permission to supply them

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Phillip Michael Eravi is pictured at a hearing on Dec. 11, 2023, in Douglas County District Court.

A man who is suing the City of Lawrence for allegedly violating his civil rights when he was trespassed from the city-supported homeless camp in North Lawrence has acknowledged that his lawsuit lacks facts to support his claims, and he has asked a federal judge for permission to amend his lawsuit.

Specifically, the plaintiff, Michael Eravi, a Lawrence resident known for regularly criticizing public officials at meetings and filming police officers at work, concedes that he has not alleged facts sufficient to support his claims against the city, and in a motion filed Feb. 20 he asked the U.S. District Court of Kansas for 10 days to correct the deficiencies in his complaint.

Eravi’s motion was filed by attorney Joseph Welsh in response to the city’s motion in January to dismiss his case, which, as the Journal-World has reported, argued that Eravi’s lawsuit should be thrown out because the city was well within its rights to restrict access to the homeless camp, which it calls a “nonpublic forum,” and that probable cause existed to trespass Eravi, who had been given multiple warnings not to enter the camp.

In his original lawsuit, Eravi claims that the city violated his First Amendment rights when he was trespassed from the camp in March 2023, and he also claims that the city was “retaliating” against him. Eravi had entered the camp, which had a no-visitors policy, following the death of a camp resident, which police were there investigating.

In his most recent motion, Eravi argues that he can supply facts to support his claims that he was deprived of federally protected rights. He further states that with regard to one of his claims — abuse of process — his lawsuit provided facts sufficient to support it, but he nevertheless asks the court for permission to reexamine that contention and to substitute a malicious prosecution claim instead, if he believes circumstances warrant that.

Eravi was convicted on Sept. 21, 2023, in Lawrence Municipal Court of criminal trespass for an incident in June at the camp. He was fined $173 including court costs and sentenced to 90 days in the county jail, which was suspended, according to court records. He has appealed that conviction in Douglas County District Court.

Eravi is also facing a felony interference with law enforcement charge after he allegedly forced officers from their protected positions during an armed stand-off in May, as the Journal-World reported. His retained attorney, Angela Keck, has filed motions to dismiss the case based on First and Fourth Amendment violations. In December, multiple officers testified about the dangers they and Eravi faced during the incident. The court is set to hear additional testimony and rule on those motions on March 8 along with a scheduled status conference for his municipal appeal, according to court records.


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