Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sirens & Gavels

Lawyers’ feud continues in messy lawsuit

A dispute between two law partners that sent one to jail following an armed confrontation at their Spokane office in 2007 continues today as a messy civil lawsuit lingers in court.

Connie Powell and Dean White's law partnership unraveled into a feud marred by allegations of extramarital affairs and physical abuse, including a Nov. 7, 2007, fight that began outside a bar and culminated in their office, where police said White held a gun to Powell’s head in their law firm, threatening to kill her.

White was sentenced to 30 days in jail in 2008 after an Alford plea to charges of third-degree malicious mischief and unlawful imprisonment involving domestic violence in connection with the gun incident. Powell filed a lawsuit against White and his wife, Vita White, seeking money for defamation and emotional damages as well as a court-ordered solution to how to split up the law firm’s assets.

Dean White filed a counterclaim alleging Powell had taken money from the law firm after his arrest and tried removing him from the name of the corporation without court approval. He also alleges Powell used the firm’s money to pay for her current office at 1316 W. Dean Ave.

Craig Mason, who works at Powell’s law firm, was hired to represent Powell but ordered off the case Nov. 10, 2009, by Adams County Superior Court Judge Richard Miller after Vita White’s lawyer, Dennis Cronin, noted Mason could be called as a witness at trial.

Mason recently notified The Spokesman-Review that he's back on the case after successfully appealing Miller's decision to the Division III Supreme Court Commissioner.

The Washington State Supreme Court rejected a request from Cronin to overturn the ruling, Mason said in an email last Thursday.

"Finally, I can get put back on the case," Mason wrote.

Past coverage:

Nov. 25, 2009: Law partners' feud lives on in suit

Dec. 4, 2007: Attorney suspected of assault turns self in

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.