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Sirens & Gavels

Mon., Nov. 11, 2013, 8:57 a.m.

Medical expenses thrown out in repo man case

A federal judge ruled Friday a Liberty Lake father had not proven the police officers who used a stun gun to subdue him  were liable for the man's past and future medical expenses.

Franklin Duncan rested his case against Victor Grant and the Liberty Lake Police Department on Friday afternoon after four days of testimony from his family, doctors and other parties in the civil case. Duncan alleges Grant, a repo man tasked in February 2010 with towing a 1997 Audi A8 belonging to Duncan's son, intentionally crushed his hand using the truck's winch, while Grant says Duncan struck his girlfriend in the truck's cab then attempted to strangle him before police arrived. When they did, the officers - including Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus - eventually used a stun gun to arrest Duncan on charges of vehicle prowling and assault.

Duncan was seeking medical damages totaling less than $20,000, according to his attorney, Marcia Meade. But U.S. District Judge Thomas O. Rice ruled Friday that Meade had not proven Liberty Lake should have to pay any amount for Duncan's medical expenses.

Claims that the officers made Duncan's existing injuries worse through their conduct and used excessive force in detaining him remain in play with jurors, who will this week consider a countersuit brought by Grant against Duncan before their deliberations. The federal court is shuttered Monday in observance of Veteran's Day, but the trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday morning.

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