A confidential settlement has been reached in a case involving a county resident who accused the sheriff’s department of violations during an incident that occurred more than five years ago.
During Tuesday morning’s county commission meeting, commissioners were notified of the settlement via a letter from Peter J. Dunne, of Pitzer Snodgrass, P.C., who represented the county, sheriff’s department and former sheriff Don Blankenship and former sheriff’s deputy Mark Wynn in the case.
The case stems from a November 2007 altercation between Wynn and the resident Thomas Aaron at Aaron’s home, in which accusations of battery and civil rights violations resulted.
Attorneys with Pitzer Snodgrass, P.C. were prepared to try the case to a verdict when it was on the U.S. District Court trial docket for trial the week of Feb. 4, 2013.
Dunne’s letter states, “As our final trial preparations were going forward and at the urging of the judge who was prepared to preside over the case, we entertained one final offer from the attorneys for Plaintiff Aaron to consider a possible settlement of this case.”
The letter goes on to state that when Aaron’s attorneys agreed that the settlement would be for an amount less than the amount estimated it would take to pay legal fees and to try the case to a conclusion and handle any possible appeal of this verdict, “we agreed to a confidential settlement of this case for a sum that will remain confidential.”
As a condition of the settlement, Aaron and his attorney have agreed to not publish the facts of the settlement or disclose the amount of the settlement.
Aaron’s complaint from the 2007 incident alleged that Wynn assaulted and arrested him without cause while serving a civil process on his fiancee, according to a December 2009 story from The Rolla Daily News.
The filing also alleged Wynn did not have the legal authority of a deputy at the time because Don Blankenship, who was sheriff at the time, failed to receive the approval of the majority of circuit judges of the 25th Circuit Court, as required by Missouri law, the 2009 story stated.
Aaron filed two charges, violation of civil rights and battery. The 2009 story stated that Aaron was seeking $1 million in actual damages and $2 million in punitive damages at that time.