December 18, 2014

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Man suing Avon Lake over skate park has litigious past

Jake Lyman, 15, of Avon Lake practices his skateboarding skills at Weiss Park Skatepark on Wednesday. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

Jake Lyman, 15, of Avon Lake practices his skateboarding skills at Weiss Park Skatepark on Wednesday. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

AVON LAKE — For attorney James Pietrangelo II, the decision to file a lawsuit calling to close down a skate park was one of many attempts throughout his life to make his voice heard.

“I’ve always dedicated myself to being the person who stands up,” Pietrangelo said.

On Wednesday, Pietrangelo filed a lawsuit against Avon Lake to close down a skate park across the street from his house, claiming that the noise had become unbearable.

This is not the first time that Pietrangelo has brought a case of this nature to court. In 2009, he filed a lawsuit against the Sandusky library for throwing him out when he protested the noise that some library patrons were making.

According to Pietrangelo in the 2009 complaint, the library was “lax and arbitrary” in enforcing the rule that library noise should be kept to a minimum. After repeatedly coming to the library staff with the issue, Pietrangelo was ordered by police officers to leave. He sued the library in November 2009, claiming that being ordered to leave the library was unlawful and said he suffered emotional distress following the incident.

The case was later overruled in federal court.

Pietrangelo also filed a lawsuit against the Alvas Corporation in Vermont in 2008 following an incident at Pine Street Deli in Burlington, Vt. Pietrangelo said that when he tried to buy a hot dog at the deli, an employee handled the food in an unsanitary way. As a result, Pietrangelo picketed outside the deli and said he was accosted by a person outside, who yelled at him.

Pietrangelo and gay rights activist Dan Choi worked together in 2010 to protest the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” policy in the military.

For Pietrangelo, the lawsuits as well as the activism are indicative of his work to stand up for himself and others.

“I have two criteria for suing,” Pietrangelo said, explaining that he would only file a lawsuit if he has been seriously harmed and if that harm is being done to others as well.

Pietrangelo sees the skate park as one of these cases where both he and his neighbors are being harmed by the noise in the area.

“It hurts when you do nothing but good and you get a slap in the face,” he said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com.