Scott Phillip Lewis, independent seeking NY-21 seat, sues over his 2019 televised arrest

Apr. 22—A man seeking to run as an independent candidate for New York's 21st Congressional District has filed a lawsuit against a host of media companies, local governments in Texas and a former employer regarding his televised arrest in 2019.

On Sunday, Scott Phillip Lewis, a resident of Lake Placid, shared a complaint with the Watertown Daily Times that he has filed in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, suing the city of Austin and Williamson County in Texas, as well as the media companies involved with the "Live PD" television show and a former school lacrosse club where he was a coach.

In the complaint, Lewis lays out an argument that a history of physical pain, an alleged police cover-up of a hit-and-run he claims to have been involved in, drove him to a situation where he was vulnerable to abuse when police and "Live PD" cameras filmed his arrest in Texas in 2019, on allegations of driving while intoxicated.

Lewis is representing himself in the case, although he is not a trained lawyer. Lewis told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise when he declared his campaign that he sees himself as a "quasi-lawyer," having represented himself in a number of lawsuits against governments and hospitals.

Lewis recently represented himself in a lawsuit against Adirondack Medical Center, which was dismissed in late February.

Lewis, in the "Live PD" complaint, lays out a seven-year timeline, which starts when he says he broke his wrist while living in upstate New York. Lewis said he was prescribed Oxycontin for pain after a surgery to repair the broken wrist, but continued to experience severe pain for years, leading to him swearing off alcohol by May 2014 because "the chronic pain mixed with alcohol had become an unpleasant experience with irritable behavior."

Lewis was then hired to work in finance in Austin, and also as a junior varsity lacrosse coach at Vandegrift High School there.

Lewis said that he was then involved in a hit-and-run accident on the street in Austin, leaving him with a concussion and traumatic brain injury.

Lewis alleges that the Austin city police engaged in a "cover-up," by refusing to name him as an involved person in the accident. He included a copy of the police report for the accident that does not include his name.

Lewis claims he then developed progressively worse cases of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, "from the accident and lack of police professionalism, follow up and transparency."

Lewis said he gradually developed an alcohol abuse disorder, which he said people around him offered conflicting opinions on. He alleges that a former roommate and coach at the Vandegrift lacrosse club told him the coach had paid money to have someone killed over a disagreement in a lacrosse game.

"Stunned by such evil, (Lewis) experienced an even further increase in ADHD and PTSD symptoms and separately, an increase in alcohol abuse, which is a symptom of PTSD and ADHD," he said in the complaint.

He said he went to a rehabilitation facility to break the alcohol addiction, but left after 12 days, feeling as if he were "at a cult."

Then, the incident Lewis is suing over occurred. On Jan. 25, 2019, Lewis was arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge while in Williamson County, just north of Austin. The county sheriff's office was contracting to broadcast its nightly activities with "Live PD," a now-defunct television show that aired selected clips of police activities in a handful of communities across the country. The show has since been canceled and rebooted as "On Patrol Live."

Lewis said that he began to have a panic attack during the 2019 incident when he learned that his arrest was being filmed and broadcast without his consent or approval to use his likeness, which he says resulted in Williamson County jail staff breaking his shoulder while trying to restrain him.

The charges against him were later dismissed for insufficient evidence.

Lewis alleges that everyone from the lacrosse booster club he was involved with at the time, which subjected him to the coach who alleged to have paid to have someone killed, to the "Live PD" film crew and the companies that owned the show, are responsible for putting him in a position to have been arrested and had that arrest broadcast on national television.

"These defendants are the conspirators to plaintiff's federal law violations," he said in his filing.

Lewis is suing Williamson County, the city of Austin, A&E Network and its owners Hearst Communications and the Walt Disney Company, as well as the production company behind "Live PD," Big Fish Entertainment, and its owner Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Lewis also named the Vandegrift Lacrosse Booster Club, his employer as a JV lacrosse coach, as a defendant in the lawsuit.

He charges that his civil rights were violated under the Americans with Disabilities Act, both by the failure for Austin city police to include him as a victim in the hit-and-run case, which he alleges was done specifically to "cognitively impair" him.

He alleges that the people who made his mental health condition poor, leading to his arrest and anxiety attack in 2019, were "conspirators" who aimed to manipulate him into a position where he could be embarrassed and painted publicly as a criminal.

Lewis is demanding a jury trial, and unspecified damages for past and future mental anguish, past and future impairment, past and future medical expenses, loss of earnings and physical suffering. He's also asking for punitive damages from the defendants.

This is not the first time Lewis has sued over the airing of his 2019 arrest. An ongoing suit leveled against Williamson County is still progressing in the western district of Texas.

Lewis filed this new suit on Saturday.

When reached for comment on Monday, Lewis said he sees his lawsuits as work for the benefit of society, not just himself. He said he is representing himself in court because he feels that legal professionals can be compromised, something he said he experienced during his original lawsuits in Texas.

"I experienced intense gaslighting and unprofessional conduct from the first three that made me feel as if they were compromised," Lewis said in an email. "I made the choice to take control myself."

Lewis said that he believes the lawsuits he's engaged with will play a key part in his campaign overall.

"The lawsuits will only enhance my campaign by showcasing the work I am already doing to improve NY-21 and society overall," he said. "Quite frankly, I believe I have more work that I can display than Elise Stefanik. I haven't even scratched the surface with what I'm doing yet in the courts, but again, everything I'm doing as a plaintiff is actually work for the American people."

Lewis also noted that public facing websites to track his court cases often appear not to include all the documentation filed with the case, something he said appears to be another example of conspiracy against him.

"Those are questions I'm still working on answering but my assumption is that there are many individuals terrified of the truth and working hard to discredit me in any way they can," he said.

Lewis said the conspiracy case was only filed on April 20, so it's not likely the defendants have been formally served with the legal documents notifying them of the suit.