Appearance withdrawal hearing in false arrest case to take place this week

By Nicholas Malfitano | Jun 7, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – Subsequent to a continuance, a withdrawal hearing for a plaintiff attorney claiming irreconcilable differences connected with representation an alleged false arrest case will take place this week.

Anthony J. Voci Jr. filed a motion to withdraw appearance on March 11, seeking to withdraw as counsel for Broomall-based plaintiff Ali Rashidian – since fellow plaintiff, Nancy Muth of Philadelphia, is now represented by Voci’s former law firm. Further, Voci says “irreconcilable differences” arose between himself and Rashidian as to how to proceed with the case.

Voci says it was “not economically feasible or possible” to represent Rashidian, while not also representing Muth, and asked for Rashidian to receive 60 days to retain new counsel to represent him.

In being continued from May 6, a hearing in this matter has been slated for this Wednesday in Court chambers, at Philadelphia City Hall.

On Feb. 5, 2013, the plaintiffs were tenants at the Dobson Mills Apartments in Philadelphia. According to the litigation, defendant and Philadelphia police officer Rickman Williams wanted to conduct a narcotics investigation in the apartment building, but needed probable cause to do so.

Williams allegedly approached defendant Ernestine Johnson, the apartment building’s Community Manager, for assistance in helping him to secure that same cause – allegedly disregarding building policy to provide tenants with a seven-day notice before entering any apartment.

According to the lawsuit, Williams and Johnson conspired to conduct an unwarranted and unlawful “sprinkler leak investigation” of four apartments in the building, including that of the plaintiffs.

Williams allegedly entered the plaintiffs’ apartment unlawfully on Feb. 5, 2013, and falsely arrested the plaintiffs without probable cause and recommended they be held on felony drug charges. Muth and Rashidian were imprisoned for weeks as a result of their arrest, and Williams and Johnson allegedly provided false testimony, under oath, in support of the malicious prosecution against the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs say this conduct was exposed in a pre-trial motion from them, which suppressed all evidence. All charges with withdrawn and criminal charges were terminated in their favor on Feb. 28, 2014, and the plaintiffs say the defendants acted with “outrageous misconduct.”

The plaintiffs filed suit against defendants Williams, Johnson, Dobson Mills Apartments and Dobson Mills G.P., Inc. of Philadelphia, Dobson Mills Development Corp. of Malvern and Winther II, Inc. of Houston, Texas.

The suit contained 12 counts against the defendants, including the following charges: false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, civil conspiracy, separate counts of civil conspiracy to commit false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, fraud, civil conspiracy to commit fraud, breach of contract, negligent training, hiring and supervision, intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy.

The plaintiffs are seeking damages individually, jointly and severally, in excess of $50,000 and other relief in this case.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jeffrey M. Carbino of Carbino Law, in Philadelphia.

The defendants are represented by Patricia A. Fecile-Moreland, Cecil J. Jones and Marc Cytryn of Marks O’Neill O’Brien Doherty & Kelly, plus Matthew K. Hubbard of the City of Philadelphia, all based in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150103052

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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