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Plaintiff’s death won't end defamation lawsuit

Keary Nicely was mistaken for his twin brother by police

POSTED: August 25, 2014 12:54 a.m.

A lawsuit filed by a man misidentified in an arrest almost a year ago will continue despite his death, according to a notice filed by his estate.

The twin brother misidentified in a September arrest filed a civil suit on July 17 claiming defamation, invasion of privacy, malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Keary Maurice Nicely, 38, of Gainesville was mistaken for his brother Kelly Martinez Nicely, also of Gainesville, who was accused of assaulting officers while nude. After eventually verifying it through fingerprint data, the mistake was corrected and an apology was issued.

Two days after the defamation suit was filed in Hall County, Keary Nicely died.

The death of the plaintiff was filed in a notice with the Hall County Courthouse

“A substitution of parties will be made upon the appointment of a legal representative for Mr. Nicely’s estate,” the notice read.

The notice filed on July 31 is signed by the attorneys for the plaintiff, Peter New and Parag Shah.

On Sept. 25, Hall County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call of erratic behavior near Bills Circle. The man, who was naked and assaulting officers, attempted to swim away in nearby Lake Lanier, according to officers.

Kelly Nicely was charged with felony obstruction of officers, misdemeanor obstruction of officers, terroristic threats, disorderly conduct and providing false information to officers.

When the news release from the sheriff’s office was issued, Keary Nicely’s old booking photo was attached along with the picture of his naked twin brother from the arrest. The story spread across the Internet, including white supremacist websites with threats, the complaint for damages reads.

The sheriff’s office issued a correction and apology on Nov. 15, more than two months after the original, incorrect news release.

“Due to confusion created by the error in the (Comprehensive Justice Information System) and Jail Records, Keary Nicely, a professional truck driver, was detained multiple times while on deliveries, ultimately leading not only to the loss of his job, but to irreparable damage to his professional reputation,” the complaint reads.

The suit seeks punitive damages and attorney’s fees.


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