'Dirty DUI:' Man Sues Wife, Ex-Cop Over Scheme

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on December 14, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Divorce isn't often the basis of a civil rights lawsuit and a request for punitive damages. Well, except when your divorce involves a "dirty DUI."

Mitchell Katz has filed a lawsuit against his estranged wife, Alicia Spenger, and private investigator Chris Butler over such a scheme. The pair allegedly set up a rouse that ended in Katz being arrested for driving under the influence.

Spenger is believed to have paid Butler $8,100 to make it happen.

She allegedly contacted the former cop after learning of Katz's plans for divorce, explain court documents. She was looking for dirt to help her obtain custody of their two children.

Chris Butler -- who had done this before -- allegedly hired "John" to set up a meeting with Mitchell Katz at a local wine bar. "John" was to pose as a television producer interested in producing a reality TV show based at Katz's winery.

When Katz left the bar, "John" called Officer Stephen Tanabe, who promptly pulled him over. He was arrested, and "John"and Chris Butler were paid an extra $1,500 to continue the rouse for another month, reports SF Weekly.

Mitchell Katz is alleging that the "dirty DUI" entitles him to recover damages for civil rights violations, bad faith arrest, negligence, conspiracy, false imprisonment, abuse of process and emotional distress. In addition to Alicia Spenger and Chris Butler, he's also named Contra Costa County, Stephen Tanabe and "John" as defendants.

Most of the defendants will likely reach a settlement, but Alicia Spenger is sure to get much worse. She allegedly paid for the "dirty DUI "to help her win custody of her children. But if the allegations are true, the "dirty DUI" may have actually cost her any chance of reaching that goal.

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