Archive for Thursday, February 9, 2006

Officials answer lawsuit claims

February 9, 2006

The Leavenworth County Commission, county sheriff and a sheriff's department deputy recently filed responses in U.S. District Court denying allegations lodged against them in a federal lawsuit.

In December, Basehor residents Patrick and Marlene Moore, parents of the late Jared Moore, filed a wrongful death claim against the county. The lawsuit, which will be argued in Kansas City, Kan., seeks $4 million in damages.

It alleges that the three-member Leavenworth County Commission -- Don Navinsky, Clyde Graeber and Dean Oroke -- Sheriff Dave Zoellner and sheriff's department deputy Robert Peterman "created the dangerous circumstances that allowed defendant Peterman to inflict deadly force on Jared Moore."

The Moores' lawsuit also alleges that the sheriff's department began "tailing" Patrick and Marlene Moore as retribution for making public statements condemning Peterman for his actions Dec. 28.

Moore, 19, was a probationary firefighter for Fairmount Township. He died in December 2004 from injuries sustained in a crash with Peterman's patrol car; both men were heading to the scene of an injury accident.

While the Moores' lawsuit was filled with colorful language and explosive allegations, the county's response was comparatively muted. It issues a blanket denial of all the Moore's claims and states the "Plaintiffs lack standing" and "fail to present a justifiable claim."

It also disputed the Moores' claim that sheriff's department deputies "harassed or intimidated" them.

The county commission and sheriff also requested a jury trial.

In his response, Peterman, who last year was acquitted of vehicular homicide by a jury in Leavenworth County jury, said he "acted with objective reasonableness" on the night in question.

Attorneys from both sides will discuss the case during a scheduling conference March 15.

A trial date has not been scheduled.

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