Meth raid lawsuit moved to Denver
DENVER – Lawyers representing Summit County Sheriff John Minor and other county-employed defendants in the civil lawsuit filed by the subjects of a July 2004 meth raid have filed a petition to have the case be heard in federal court in Denver.The petition was filed earlier this week by Boulder-based attorney Josh Marks of the Berg, Hill, Greenleaf and Ruscitti firm, who is representing Summit County Sheriff John Minor, the Board of County Commissioners and the six sheriff’s deputies named as defendants in the lawsuit.Marks said because there is a claim based on a federal statute in the lawsuit – violation of civil rights – the entire case can be moved to the federal level.”The federal courts see these kinds of claims all the time and they’re more familiar with them,” Marks said. “We think the federal court is a good place to hear those claims whether they’re for the plaintiff or the defendant.”The lawsuit was filed March 11, 2005, by Dillon attorney Tim Meinert on behalf of former Frisco residents Josh Brudwick and Katie Rhodes.Court records show the couple is asking for compensation for economic and non-economic damages, including moving expenses, lost income, past and future mental-health treatment costs and pain and suffering, for a July 25, 2004, raid on their home by the Summit County Drug Task Force.The raid failed to turn up any methamphetamines or evidence of a meth lab.The lawsuit also lists the town of Frisco, Frisco Police Chief Tom Wickman, four Frisco police officers, the Meadow Creek Villas Homeowners Association and a resident at Meadow Creek Villas as defendants in the case.The move to federal court means the jury pool would be drawn from a larger area than Summit County.Marks said the federal court does not make a discretionary decision on the petition, and unless an objection is filed by the plaintiffs, the case will automatically move to Denver.”I would rather have this case tried before a Summit County jury,” Meinert said.He will proceed as though the case is moving to federal court and will not file an objection.The lawsuit accuses police of violating Rhodes’ and Brudwick’s civil rights, false imprisonment and arrest, assault and battery, trespassing, invasion of privacy, defamation, libel and slander and intentional infliction of emotional distress.Marks has not yet filed answers to the allegations on behalf of his clients.”I can tell you that the Sheriff’s Department defendants that I am representing have a very different view of this case and generally will be denying there were any constitutional rights violated by what happened,” Marks said.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 229, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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