On June, 24th, the
Times-News published an article on one of attorney Bowlin's court cases regarding
a wrongful arrest that took place last year during the Rainbow Family
Gathering in Cherokee National Forest.
Last June, our client, a 60-year-old West Virginia man was attempting to
attend the Rainbow Family Gathering in Cherokee National Forest. However,
his attempt to attend this peaceful gathering was interrupted when he
was stopped for an alleged seatbelt violation on Flatwoods Road. Our client
was erroneously arrested after police believed he was transporting $90,000
worth of methamphetamines and liquid THC.
After a Sullivan County grand jury cleared him of all charges last November,
we filed court documents Friday with the U.S. District Court in Greenville
seeking over $1.5 million in damages for the losses he incurred as a result
of his wrongful arrest. We filed a lawsuit against Sullivan County and
the companies that provided the field drug testing kits that were used
by law enforcement.
The field testing kits used by officers from the Sullivan County Sherriff's
Office allegedly revealed that our client was transporting meth and liquid
THC. He was later booked in jail while nine substances were seized from
his vehicle and sent to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation lab. Further
testing revealed that the substances seized from his vehicle were not
The arrest still left our client incarcerated for three weeks and since
he was perceived as a flight risk, he wasn't able to secure a bond
from a local agency. The materials that the police seized from him, a
self-described herbalist and naturalist, were merely a mixture of cornstarch
and aromatic oil he planned to serve as insect repellant.
Our client lives on an environmental co-op farm in West Virginia, he was
attempting to attend the Rainbow Family of Light's national gathering
for prayer and world peace. It is estimated that 7,000 attended this event
at its peak on July 4th.
Attorney Troy L. Bowlin is representing the West Virginia man in both lawsuits.
"What is happening is that law enforcement are utilizing a field
test drug kit which has been marketed and misrepresented as a valid test
for whether or not something may or may not be a controlled substance,"
said Mr. Bowlin. "In Mr. Sullivan's case, it incorrectly indicated
it was methamphetamine."
In one of the lawsuits filed against the county and other defendants we
are seeking in excess of $500,000 in compensation, punitive damages, fees
and interest. The other lawsuit is seeking in excess of $1 million and
it's been filed against the manufacturers and distributors of the
drug field testing kit that incorrectly identified the materials as narcotics.
Since these drug testing kits are advertised and marketed as "about
99% reliable," our lawsuit argues that's an intentional and reckless
misrepresentation without regard to the rights of the general public.
Attorney Bowlin told
Times-News that our client is not the only victim. "Hundreds of people have
If you have been wrongfully arrested for a crime, we urge you to contact
The Bowlin Law Firm to schedule a consultation with a Morristown
criminal defense attorney to discuss your criminal charges.