Widow says attorneys dropped lawsuit over husband's death without her consent
MOORE — A lawsuit over the death of a man who died in front of the Moore Warren Theatre after being pinned to the ground by police has been dismissed.
The widow of Luis Rodriguez claims her attorneys dropped the lawsuit without her consent.
Nair Rodriguez said she was unaware her lawsuit against the City of Moore and several other parties had been dismissed until contacted by a reporter from The Oklahoman on Thursday.
"At no time did I say I will drop the case," Nair Rodriguez said when reached by phone in Puerto Rico, where she recently relocated.
Luis Rodriguez, 47, died after police restrained him in the parking lot of the Moore theater on Valentine's Day in 2014 after a family disagreement.
A U.S. district judge dismissed the lawsuit Wednesday at the request of attorneys from the Oklahoma City firm Holloway, Bethea & Osenbaugh, PLLC.
Nair Rodriguez sued several parties in 2016 — including the City of Moore and Warren Theatres — claiming police and theater security guards used excessive force against her husband, causing his death.
While her attorneys claim in court documents that Nair Rodriguez recently moved back to her native Puerto Rico because of a death in her family, she said that she moved to find work. She claims her attorneys told her that going to Puerto Rico would have no effect on the lawsuit.
Holloway, Bethea & Osenbaugh did not respond to a phone message or an email on Thursday.
In court documents, defendant Warren Theatres claimed Nair Rodriguez's attorneys sought the dismissal because they had been unable to find any expert witnesses to testify that the police officers used excessive force the night Luis Rodriguez died.
"Despite Plaintiff Nair Rodriguez's multiple appearances in local press and her offensive and threatening behavior at discovery depositions, she and her lawyers have no expert witness to testify that anything ... the Moore officers ... or any of the Warren security officers ... did was wrong," Warren Theatres claimed.
Nair Rodriguez can still decide to refile the lawsuit at a later date, but only if she pays some of the defendants' legal expenses, including filing fees, service fees, and copying costs.
"Due to another death in her family, Plaintiff has had to temporarily relocate to Puerto Rico for an undetermined amount of time," Nair Rodriguez's attorneys said in a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. "Obviously, this will result in significant travel expense for the Plaintiff and as she is unemployed, she does not have the means to travel back and forth to Oklahoma from Puerto Rico in order to continue pursuing justice for her husband at this time."
Moore police and private security guards working for the movie theater detained Luis Rodriguez after a family argument in the parking lot in which Nair Rodriguez slapped her teenage daughter.
Police claim Luis Rodriguez became combative when they tried to question him and refused to provide photo identification.
In a cellphone video Nair Rodriguez recorded the night her husband died, Luis Rodriguez can be heard saying "I can't breathe" while police held him down.
Nair Rodriguez said she plans to refile the lawsuit.
"I will not stop, I will not ever give up, because he did not commit a crime," she said.
Brianna Bailey joined The Oklahoman in January 2013 as a business writer. During her time at The Oklahoman, she has walked across Oklahoma City twice, once north-to-south down Western Avenue, and once east-to-west, tracing the old U.S. Route 66.... Read more ›