Wayne A. Dreibelbis Jr. has sued the Grange Fair and 14 people who worked at the fairgrounds in 2015 for an incident that allegedly turned physical.
George Witherite, Jamie Brown, Lisa Stoner, Douglas Straus and Robert Rhodes are named as defendants. The additional defendants were listed as John and Jane Does 1 through 9.
Grange Fair general manager Darlene Confer and Witherite declined comment. Confer said she would comment on the lawsuit at a later date.
The lawsuit stems from an alleged incident Aug. 21, 2015, when Dreibelbis operated a drone at the fairgrounds. The act allegedly drew the ire of several employees who approached Dreibelbis in a “hurried and aggressive manner,” according to the lawsuit.
Witherite, the fair’s trailer camp secretary, allegedly plucked the drone from the air when Dreibelbis tried to land it, the lawsuit said, and caused damage to the machine. Witherite, Stoner and Rhodes were allegedly “menacing” toward Dreibelbis and told him he could not operate a drone at the fairgrounds
Dreibelbis said in the lawsuit he disagreed and claimed he was allowed to operate the drone, but nonetheless agreed to put the drone in his vehicle. As he put it away, Dreibelbis said the drone had been damaged, which allegedly caused the defendants to be “increasingly aggressive, boisterous and hostile.”
Dreibelbis tried to leave the fairgrounds after the argument continued, but Witherite, Stoner and Rhodes allegedly surrounded his vehicle, according to the affidavit. Dreibelbis said he then got out of the vehicle and was tackled to the ground by several of the defendants, who said state police had been summoned. Dreibelbis said he was unable to move or breathe freely. The lawsuit called the altercation an unprovoked case of assault and battery.
The lawsuit also alleges false imprisonment, trespass to personal property, intentional infliction of emotional distress, a violation of civil and first amendment rights against all defendants, civil conspiracy and concerted tortuous conduct against all defendants. It also alleges negligence against the Grange Fair, which the lawsuit said did not provide adequate training to provide security.
Dreibelbis is seeking an amount of monetary damages that would “exceed the jurisdictional limits for arbitration, together with punitive damages, the costs of the suit” and further relief. The jurisdictional limit is $50,000.