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Posts tagged: lawsuit

Public Defender Adams Sues County

Kootenai County's public defender filed a $1.5 million claim accusing the county of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Idaho Human Rights Act. County commissioners in March 2013 passed - and soon after rescinded - a resolution that would have ended John Adams' longtime career as the county's public defender. A tort claim filed in September by Adams and his wife, Teresa, alleges commissioners made the decision to fire Adams after he told Commissioner Todd Tondee he was battling cancer. Though the county's three commissioners voted unanimously not to renew Adams' contract that fall, Tondee later told The Press that he was the only one on the board who knew of Adams' medical condition. Their decision generated a groundswell of support for Adams and strong backlash from other attorneys in the community/Taryn Thompson, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you think Public Defender Adams has a good case?

Idaho Wins CoiNuts Lawsuit

The Idaho attorney general’s office has won a $742,826 judgment against a closed North Idaho coin shop that customers say swindled them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by failing to deliver gold and silver they paid for in advance. The default judgment entered Friday in 1st District Court may not lead to anyone getting their money back, however. CoiNuts Inc. was dissolved as an Idaho corporation after its owners shut down the Coeur d’Alene shop in summer 2012 and consumer fraud complaints started piling up. The attorney general’s office is pressing ahead with a lawsuit against former CoiNuts owner and president Kevin E. Mitchell, of Hayden Lake, and his stepdaughter, Sarah M. Mitchell, who helped run the store. They are accused of multiple violations of the Idaho Consumer Protection Act. A trial in that case is set for April 2014/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: So far, no one is getting his/her money back. Thoughts?

City Prevails In High-Rise Suit

Item: Coeur d'Alene prevails against lawsuit to block downtown high-rise/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: The City of Coeur d'Alene prevailed last week in a lawsuit that was initially filed to stop a high-rise condominium project on the corner of First Street and Lakeside Avenue. The suit, originally filed in February by the Coeur d'Alene North Homeowners View Preservation, LLC, was dismissed by Judge Lansing Haynes on Sept. 5. According to the City of Coeur d'Alene's outside attorney, Mike Haman, the suit was originally filed against the city and Colorado-based One Lakeside, LLC, which is planning to build a 14-story condominium at 201 N. First Ave.

Question: Ready for one more downtown high-rise?

Couple sues Kootenai Co.

COEUR d'ALENE - A North Idaho couple filed a lawsuit against Kootenai County and county officials saying the wife, a county employee, was improperly terminated.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Coeur d'Alene by the couple's attorney, Larry Beck of Hayden, said the wife, Kathy Pagano, was employed by the county as an accounting clerk in the payroll and accounts payable divisions within the auditor's office.

Pagano and her husband list County Clerk Cliff Hayes, deputy clerk Pat Raffee and finance director Dave McDowell among the defendants.

The lawsuit said Kathy Pagano began work for the county on Aug. 8, 2008, and was diagnosed with serious medical conditions in 2004, 2008 and 2010.

The lawsuit doesn't say what the medical conditions are, but says they cause her to suffer severe intermittent physical pain, difficulty with concentration, memory and sleep.Full story. Cda Press


Sex Abuse Suit Targets Scouts, LDS

Four former Idaho Boy Scouts, including a Spokane man, filed a federal lawsuit in Boise today charging that they were sexually abused by scout leaders during camping trips and other scouting events in the 1970s and 1980s. The lawsuit, which asks for at least $75,000 in damages for each of the four men, charges that the Boy Scouts of America and the LDS Church, which sponsored three of the four scouts’ troops, failed to prevent the abuse and allowed pedophiles to continue in scouting roles. Secret files kept by the Boy Scouts, but made public as part of an earlier lawsuit in Oregon, documented cases of abuse, and directed, in some cases, that the offenders be excluded from scouting/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.


CdA Woman Sues re: Data Collection

A Coeur d’Alene woman has filed a federal lawsuit against President Barack Obama and top national security officials, contending that collection of information about her Verizon cellphone use violates the law and the Constitution. Her attorneys are Idaho state Rep. Luke Malek, R-Coeur d’Alene, a former deputy Kootenai County prosecutor, and Peter J. Smith IV of Lukins and Annis, who is the woman’s husband. Peter Smith said of his wife, Anna J. Smith, “It’s kind of an interesting situation; she has access to resources that a normal person may not, that is legal counsel and knowing that this case probably won’t be dealt with quickly or easily and probably will wind its way through.” The lawsuit is in response to revelations last week that the National Security Agency operates a classified program to monitor millions of Americans’ telephone records/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Do you support this lawsuit?

Judge Narrows Student-Fee Lawsuit

And then there was one: a single Idaho school district facing a lawsuit over student fees. On Friday, a district judge dismissed 65 school districts from a case alleging that student fees violate the state Constitution — and its mandate that the state “establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” Boise-based District Judge Richard Greenwood allowed the case to continue against the Meridian School District, since plaintiffs Russell Joki and Sarah Holt have paid fees to Meridian schools. Greenwood’s decision does not address the constitutional questions about the student fees — raised by the plaintiffs and their attorney, Robert Huntley, a former state Supreme Court justice and gubernatorial candidate. But the decision does, in effect, further dismantle the case by narrowing its scope/Kevin Richert, The EDge. More here.


AG Hits CoiNuts With Lawsuit

Item: Idaho files suit against former CdA coin store: Complaint seeks $754,326/Scott Maben, SR

More Info: The Idaho Attorney General’s office has filed a lawsuit alleging that a former Coeur d’Alene coin store, its owner and its operator broke state consumer protection laws by failing to deliver gold and silver to customers who paid thousands of dollars in advance. The suit seeks $664,326 in restitution for 18 consumers who complained they were ripped off by CoiNuts Inc., its owner, Kevin E. Mitchell, of Hayden, and his stepdaughter and the store’s operator, Sarah M. Mitchell, of Hayden. The suit, filed Tuesday in Kootenai County District Court, also seeks $90,000 in civil penalties.

Question: Do you know someone who invested with CoiNuts and lost money?

Clerk Hayes Sues For Clarification

Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes wants some clarification on who has the power to hire, fire, authorize wage increases and evaluate the performance of employees working in the court system who are paid with county funds. He believes he has that authority, concerning bailiffs, security screeners, judicial state attorneys, and specialty court coordinators and trial court administrative assistants. But he hasn't been exercising it. That's because 1st District Court Judge John Mitchell signed an administrative order telling Hayes not to. “An administrative order is very strong, because you go to jail if you don't follow it,” Hayes said Monday. On Friday, Hayes filed a lawsuit in 1st District Court seeking clarification through the court system. Mitchell declined to comment because of the pending lawsuit. Hayes filed a petition with the Idaho Supreme Court, regarding the same question, but the court dismissed his petition, court documents show/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Does Hayes have much of a chance of winning this lawsuit?

Clerk Hayes Sues Judge Over Control

County Clerk Cliff Hayes and Administrative Judge John Mitchell (shown talking to an inmate involved in Mental Health Drug Court)  are involved in a flap re: who is responsible for the District Court employee supervision and budget — and deciding increases in compensation for bailiffs, court security personnel, judicial staff attorneys (law clerks), specialty court coordinators, etc. Hayes claims “final authority to hire, terminate the employment of, authorize wage increases, and evaluate the job performance of all county employees working in the court system in Kootenai County whose wages are paid from Kootenai County funds including, but not limited to, the District Court Fund. Mitchell disagrees with Hayes. Hayes has sued Mitchell, in his role as administrative judge. Also, Hayes has asked that all the other judges in the 1st District Court be disqualified from hearing the lawsuit since he believes they would have a conflict of interest. You can read the lawsuit that seeks declaratory judgment here.

Question: Can't figure out the end game here. Judges traditionally have control of District Court budget. Appears as the Idaho Supreme Court feels that way, too. Any thoughts?

Jacobson Presses Defamation Suit

  • Originally posted 4:53 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2

A Republican Party official in Kootenai County is pressing ahead with her defamation suit against a woman who posted online comments about missing GOP funds. Tina Jacobson, a Rathdrum resident and the former chairwoman of the Kootenai County Republican Party, has named Linda Cook in her suit over comments Cook made anonymously on The Spokesman-Review’s Huckleberries Online blog. In an amended filing Monday, Jacobson’s lawyer alleges that Cook also is in breach of contract for refusing to abide by an agreement to settle the claims against her. That agreement included a public apology and a donation of an undisclosed sum to a charity, according to the complaint prepared by Coeur d’Alene attorney Matthew Andersen. The suit does not name The Spokesman-Review or blog administrator Dave Oliveria, but it does allege that Oliveria conspired to obstruct the identification of Cook as author of the blog comments, leading Jacobson to pursue legal action to get the name/Scott Maben, SR. More here.


Suit Filed In Area Footballer’s Death

A Valley Christian School football player’s 2009 death from brain trauma began with a concussion suffered in a game the previous week that had not fully healed, according to a lawsuit filed by his family this week. The wrongful death claim brought by the family of Drew Swank (of Hauser Lake) against the school, an administrator, football coaches and a family doctor alleges negligence and discloses for the first time details surrounding the player’s medical condition leading up to his death. New Valley Christian administrator Nathan Williams declined to speak about the case at the request of the private religious school’s board of directors and attorney. Swank’s family also declined comment on the lawsuit/John Stucke, SR. More here.

Question: Would you let your child play high school football in view of no information re: danger of concussions?

Judge Dismisses Suit Against UIdaho

A District Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the University of Idaho filed by the parents of a student who fell from a fraternity window three years ago. Amanda Andaverde, then a 19-year-old sophomore, suffered debilitating injuries when she fell from an upper story of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Her parents were seeking damages, and recently offered to settle the case for $1 million. The university declined. In a written decision, Second District Court Judge Michael Griffin granted the UI's motion for summary judgement to dismiss the claim/Joel Mills, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Right call?

Cook-Jacobson Story Goes On NPR

A lawsuit in north Idaho over anonymous comments posted in an online forum attracted national attention. Now, the commenter at the center of that dispute has unmasked herself. The case reveals a rift within the north Idaho Republican Party. Linda Cook of Rathdrum, Idaho, pictured, is a former congressional aide and long-time Republican campaign worker. Back in February, Cook made anonymous comments on a north Idaho blog hosted by the Spokane Spokesman-Review newspaper. Using the pseudonym “almostinnocentbystander” Cook asked a question insinuating that the chair of the local party, might have pocketed $10,000 in party funds. Party chair Tina Jacobson called for an audit and filed a defamation suit. But Cook says she wanted to use the anonymous forum to address a feud over party expenditures/Jessica Robinson, National Public Radio. More here including audio of story with Linda Cook comment.

  • DFO: Martin Kaste, the NPR reporter from Seattle who interviewed me last week for another story that's about to come out, tells me that the audio version of the story played just in the Northwest, while the print version went national.


Press: Tina Should Just Drop It

Linda Cook (pictured in Phantom Photographer photo, above, tending her garden) isn’t the squeamish type. Most of the time she says her piece — fire and brimstone included, no extra charge — with her name firmly attached. But back in February, she posed a question on a Spokesman-Review blog from the shadows of an online pen name, almostinnocentbystander. That question, which by Cook’s description was an admittedly “sarcastic, facetious query” that she subsequently apologized for, has made her the target of a lawsuit that would have outed Cook had she not stepped out of the shadows before a court mandated it. Now that the object of her facetious question, former Kootenai County Republican Central Committee Chair Tina Jacobson, inset photo, has learned the true identity of her critic, it’s up to Jacobson to decide whether the courts should attempt to provide further remedy. We hope not. We hope the public exposure is enough to make Jacobson decide that the bill for being criticized as a public official, even if the criticism was hurtful, has been sufficiently paid/Editor Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


SR: Judge Mulls Commenters Suit

Here's the SR version of today's court hearing: Forcing The Spokesman-Review to reveal the identities of three anonymous commenters on its Huckleberries Online blog would quell free speech by raising fears that people posting critical remarks would be outed and sued, the newspaper’s attorney argued Friday in court. “It’s an issue of huge concern to The Spokesman-Review. If people are going to be outed on that site…it will lose its effectiveness” as a news forum about matters of importance in North Idaho, said the news company’s attorney, Duane Swinton, of Witherspoon Kelley.  The Spokesman-Review asked an Idaho district court judge to quash a subpoena filed by Kootenai County Republican chairwoman Tina Jacobson, seeking the identities of three Huckleberries Online readers who commented anonymously about her. Jacobson’s attorney, C. Matthew Andersen, of Winston & Cashatt, argued that Jacobson’s reputation was harmed by the remarks, and he needed the commenters’ identities to pursue a defamation lawsuit. District Court Judge John Luster made no decision Friday, saying he required time to consider the matter/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.


Judge Tosses Camp Easton Sale Suit

A Kootenai County judge on Wednesday ruled against legal challenges by area Boy Scouts and their supporters to halt the proposed sale of Camp Easton to a North Idaho development company. District Court Judge John Patrick Luster on Wednesday denied efforts by a group calling itself Camp Easton Forever to halt a possible sale of the camp, which has been used since 1929 as a summer camp for regional Boy Scouts. Last year the Inland Northwest Council of the Boy Scouts — which governs the camp and regional scouting — described plans to swap the 383 acres at Camp Easton for a new camp along Sunup Bay on the west shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene. Opponents have rallied widespread opposition to the planned sale and swap, saying Camp Easton, on the lake’s eastern shore, is a unique site and too valuable to sell/Tom Sowa, SR. More here. And: Copy of Judge Luster's findings here. (SR file photo: Joe Farrell, 12, center, and Kris Blackwell, 12, hold signs outside the Boy Scout headquarters in Spokane Feb. 24 in protest of selling Camp Easton)


Vestal: Rypien Suit Raises Questions

Not long ago, my sister-in-law asked me a question that I hadn’t considered. Was I planning to let my son, who was then 3, play football? The question struck me as overly cautious. Why wouldn’t I? It won’t break my heart if he grows up with a wariness of the sports-worship that afflicts our culture, but if he wants to play, why not? After all, I played football – a little bit, very poorly – and look how well I turned out. You can get hurt doing all sorts of things. Then she gave me a few good reasons, involving the frequency of concussions, the frequency of repeated concussions, and the fact that frequent, repeated concussions can cause brain injury. The conversation came back to me this week when I read that Mark Rypien, local hero and Super Bowl MVP, was suing the National Football League for “repeated traumatic injuries to the head”/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: Would you let your baby grow up to be a high school football player?

Ron Paul Sues To Unmask Online User

One of the key points behind Ron Paul's success in this Presidential campaign (as well as in 2008) was his reputation for actually “getting the internet” and making good use of it to promote his message and motivate and activate his supporters. But it appears that perhaps he doesn't quite get the internet that well. That's all I can think after reading the details of a dreadfully short-sighted lawsuit that he filed to try to unmask some anonymous internet users. Basically, some random internet users created a pretty dumb, racist and offensive anti-John Huntsman attack video, essentially questioning his “values” because he speaks Chinese. However, it was posted by a user under the name NHLiberty4Paul. And, at the end it briefly says “Vote Ron Paul”/Mike Masnick, TechDirt. More here. (In this AP file photo of Jan. 7 New Hampshire debate,  Jon Huntsman answers a questions as Rep. Ron Paul listen)

Question: Are you more/less likely to support Ron Paul as the result of his lawsuit to unmask an anonymous Internet user?

Idaho County Joins Redistricting Suit

The Idaho County Commissioners Tuesday voted to join a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of a proposed plan that reconfigures the state's legislative districts. The county joins Bonner, Boundary, Benewah, Shoshone and Clearwater counties that have hired Boise lawyer Christ T. Troupis to represent them against the state in the action. … The proposed plan groups Idaho County with Clearwater, Shoshone and the southeast portion of Kootenai counties. Idaho County Commission Chairman Skip Brandt explained the main reason for objecting to the proposal is the difficulty of traveling from one end of the district to the other/Kathy Hedberg, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: With so many counties, including Twin Falls in southern Idaho, protesting against the current redistricting plan, do you think this one's going back to the drawing board?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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