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Sirens & Gavels lawsuits archive

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 19, 2011

Trial begins in SPD detective's lawsuit

Trial began today in a lawsuit filed against the City of Spokane and Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick by a detective who was fired in the midst of a messy divorce. Jay Mehring alleges he was wrongfully terminated and defamed in 2007 when Kirkpatrick heard reports...

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SATURDAY, OCT. 8, 2011

Therapist 'broke family;' to pay $675k

A therapist who is accused of ruining a Spokane couple’s marriage by misdiagnosing the husband as a sex addict and making unsubstantiated claims that he molested the couple’s sons was ordered Thursday to pay $675,000 to her former patients. The allegations against Darlene Townsend, a...

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FRIDAY, OCT. 7, 2011

Judge calls Mehring case 'dysfunctional'

Spokane County Superior Court Judge Kathleen O'Connor had choice words Thursday for attorneys on both sides of the Jay Mehring civil case. The wrongful termination and defamation lawsuit filed by the Spokane police detective against the city of Spokane and police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick is...

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Tampering alleged in Mehring civil case

A Spokane Police detective has filed a formal complaint asking the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office to investigate allegations that Chief Anne Kirkpatrick and city attorneys have engaged in felony witness tampering. Detective Jay Mehring filed the complaint with the sheriff’s office Sunday, alleging that the...

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TUESDAY, SEPT. 20, 2011

MONDAY, AUG. 29, 2011

Fatal crash leads to 'substantial' payout

The family of a 9-year-old girl killed in a car crash that led to an infraction against the stop-sign running driver will receive a "substantial" amount of money in an out-of-court lawsuit settlement, their lawyer says. Olivia Chaffin (pictured) died June 10, 2010, after a...

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SATURDAY, AUG. 27, 2011

Chism filed $10M claim as suit proceeds 

A suspended Spokane firefighter’s wrongful arrest lawsuit against the Washington State Patrol over a botched child pornography investigation is headed to trial after an appellate court ruling Wednesday. A three-person panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals says false statements made by WSP investigators...

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MONDAY, AUG. 15, 2011

Spokane man sues over Abu Dhabi arrest

A retired Air Force officer in Spokane says a series of blunders involving international airlines and a global security contractor in Iraq led to his incarceration in a vermin-infested Middle Eastern prison. A complaint recently filed in U.S. District Court in Eastern Washington alleges James...

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County to pay $230k in jail mail lawsuit

Spokane County will pay $230,000 to settle a lawsuit over restrictions on jail inmates’ mail. County commissioners and Sheriff’s Office officials also agreed Tuesday to abandon a policy of requiring messages from friends and families of prisoners to be written on postcards. A consent decree...

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Creach family seeks $15mil from county

The family of slain Spokane Valley pastor Wayne Scott Creach has filed a $14.7 million wrongful death claim against Spokane County, which is the first step in filing a civil lawsuit. “A jury may come in and feel highly aggravated at what happened,” said the...

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MONDAY, JULY 18, 2011

Native American tribe sues over raid

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — A Washington state Native American tribe is suing several Mississippi municipalities over allegations that their law enforcement officials illegally invaded tribal lands during an FBI-led raid earlier this year. The target of the Feb. 16 search was property that belongs to...

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Fired detective wants $10 mil. from city 

Fired Spokane police Detective Jeff Harvey and his attorney filed a $10 million claim against the city today, arguing that police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick terminated him because he spoke out against the chief’s policies as the vice president of the Spokane Police Guild. “Chief Kirkpatrick...

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FRIDAY, JULY 8, 2011

Jail inmate: Lack of porn violates rights

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan jail inmate says he's being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment because he can't have pornography. In a handwritten lawsuit, 21-year-old Kyle Richards claims his civil rights are being violated at the Macomb County Jail. Richards says denying...

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Suit filed over crash that killed CdA grad

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — The parents of a College of Southern Idaho baseball player and Coeur d'Alene High School graduate killed in a fatal crash last September have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against others involved in the accident. Devon Austin (pictured) was a...

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MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2011

Jury rejects claims in fatal crash lawsuit

Dorothy Mullican sat on a courthouse bench and cried Thursday after losing a five-year legal battle to hold someone responsible for her son’s death. Mullican’s son, Daren Lafayette, 19, was working on a road crew on Sept. 12, 2006, when a truck began rolling downhill...

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FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2011

Man claims abuse in teen boot camps

By LYNN DeBRUIN,Associated Press SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Spokane man has become the latest to sue a Utah-based organization for troubled children, claiming he was physically and emotionally tormented during its teen boot camp programs in Mexico. Attorneys for Carl Brown Austin, 24,...

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FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2011

Steele may sue over jail book policy 

SANDPOINT, Idaho — A North Idaho attorney convicted by a federal jury for his role in a plot to kill his wife has filed a tort claim against Bonner County, alleging the jail’s policy for providing books to inmates violates his religious freedoms. Edgar Steele,...

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TUESDAY, MAY 17, 2011

Federal public defender's job opens

The future of the top federal public defender in Eastern Washington and North Idaho could be in doubt, with the board that oversees the attorney’s office advertising for his replacement even as the attorney, Roger Peven, prepares to represent domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham....

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Kay Buck, left, executive director of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery Trafficking, speaks at a news conference Wednesday, April 20, 2011, to announce the filing of a human trafficking lawsuit that stretches across California , Hawaii, and Washington. Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC in the Los Angeles District, center, and Chanchanit Martorell, executive director for the Thai Community Development Center, listens in. (Nick Ut / (AP Photo/Nick Ut))

Wash. farms named in trafficking suit

Kay Buck, left, executive director of the Coalition to Abolish Slavery Trafficking, speaks at a news conference Wednesday, April 20, 2011, to announce the filing of a human trafficking lawsuit that stretches across California , Hawaii, and Washington. Anna Park, regional attorney for the EEOC...

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$260k to woman strip-searched in jail

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The city of Olympia has agreed to pay $260,000 to a woman strip-searched and zapped with a stun gun in the city jail. Cynthia Brown's lawyer Edwin Budge calls the agreement "vindication to some degree." While settling, the city denies liability....

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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...

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Asbestos victims consider $43M deal

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — More than 1,100 victims of asbestos contamination are nearing a $43 million settlement over claims that Montana health officials failed to warn miners about the hazards of a deadly vermiculite mine, documents in the case show. Hundreds of people have been...

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Pete's civil suit against Olsen dismissed 

Former Spokane Police Officer James “Jay” Olsen won’t face any civil penalties for shooting a fleeing, unarmed man in the head in 2007. U.S. District Court Judge Edward F. Shea agreed with a request by Olsen’s attorney, Rob Cossey, to dismiss the civil lawsuit brought...

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Jail changes postcard-only mail policy 

Restrictions on inmate mail have loosened at the Spokane County Jail in response to a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of a prisoner rights publishing group. While mail sent to inmates from friends and family remains limited to postcards, with jail staff citing security precautions...

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Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.