Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lawyer-Councilman Clash Still Court-Bound; Lobbyist Friend Unable to Resolve Differences over a Dog and a Punch

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Lawyer-Councilman Clash Still Court-Bound; Lobbyist Friend Unable to Resolve Differences over a Dog and a Punch

Article excerpt

Byline: TIA MITCHELL

A confrontation between a Jacksonville city councilman and a local lawyer will likely end up in court despite efforts by a high-profile lobbyist to intervene.

Paul Harden, a well-known fixture in City Hall, acknowledges he tried to smooth things over between Councilman Art Shad and Tim Kelly. He said he stepped aside when it became apparent that the two would not be able to settle their differences.

The civil case between Shad and Kelly is ongoing. It began in January when both men called police to report the actions of the other. Kelly accused Shad of punching him in the face; Shad said he was acting in self-defense after being attacked by Kelly's black Labrador, which wasn't leashed.

Neither man was charged.

Kelly filed a lawsuit in March accusing Shad of battery and seeking damages in excess of $15,000. He told police the day of the incident he had a swollen and bleeding lip. A month later, Shad filed a counterclaim that accuses Kelly of violating city ordinance that requires dogs to be leashed. That violation, Shad's lawsuit contends, led to Kelly's dog charging at Shad.

Harden, a lawyer, said he tried to "calm over the waters" after receiving a call from a third party that was trying to resolve the matter and knew Harden was friends with both men.

"I thought it was a minor issue that could be resolved between people that I knew," Harden said.

Shad said it is his understanding that Circuit Judge W. Gregg McCaulie told Harden about the incident after Kelly told the judge. Shad declined to elaborate further.

Harden wouldn't tell the Times-Union who told him about the incident. Both Kelly and McCaulie declined to comment.

If it was a judge who brought Harden into the equation, then the judge's actions could raise questions, said a judicial ethics expert the Times-Union consulted. …

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