Lebanon City Attorney Mark Yurick said the city is forwarding the lawsuit to Illinois-based Pekin, which declined comment.
Yurick said the Lebanon Fire Department official named in the suit, Anthony Terrace, conducted a fire investigation to assist Warren County.
“Obviously, we had no part in deciding whether to charge anyone for an offense,” Yurick added.
Hamilton Twp., where Hartwig was living at the time, also named in the lawsuit, did not respond to a request for comment.
Hartwig, who maintained his innocence from the beginning, was indicted in August 2018 and held in jail, before posting bond.
Hartwig, now living in the Cincinnati area, was accused of setting the fire on April 5, 2018, at his home on Honeysuckle Lane, according to a press release issued by Hamilton Twp. Police Chief Scott Hughes.
Hartwig’s first defense lawyer, Griff Nowicki, indicated Hartwig and his family were victims of social media attacks after the case became public.
In June 2019, Judge Robert Peeler dismissed the case in response to a motion by prosecutors indicating, “there is insufficient evidence to proceed with prosecution given the testing results of the evidence in this matter.”
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On Monday Fornshell, who is sued as an individual and on behalf of the county, added, “Generally speaking, I’m very pleased with how our office handled this case. We continued our investigation even after the grand jury indicted the defendant. It was through our office’s efforts that additional relevant evidence came to light. And when that happened, we dismissed the charges against the defendant. I believe we acted precisely how the public expects prosecutors to act under such circumstances.”
On Tuesday, the Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz law firm issued a press release, calling the lawsuit a ” bad-faith insurance complaint.”
“The incidence of insurance companies wrongfully denying insurance claims is all too commonplace. This lawsuit is an insurance bad-faith case based on the insurance company acting in its own self-interest without reasonable justification instead of providing coverage and benefits for a routine fire loss,” John Smalley, Hartwig’s lawyer, said in the press release.
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