Well, if there’s one thing that we can depend on the County of Humboldt to do, it’s to lose lawsuits. And not minor lawsuits, no – lawsuits that end up costing the taxpayer millions of dollars.
In the latest round, the County is paying out $2.5 million for a wrongful death case involving a man who apparently died of a methampethamine overdose while in custody. The details are grim, and it does sound to THC like the County got a bit of a raw deal in the verdict which found them liable for such a huge sum. Here’s a link to a North Coast Journal article on the issue:
Now, aside from the tragedy of the death and whether you think the County screwed up or not, consider this – the County is strongly considering appealing the verdict and risk paying even more of taxpayer money. According to the Times-Standard, up to a million more dollars.
Remember that piece we did a while back about how the County lost a suit to little ol’ HUMMAP over the County marijuana ordinance? (Refresh yourself if need be: Lawsuits: County 0, everyone else and 103 (with pictures!))
Well, back then we had a good time poking fun at the County for their stupid legal decisions. This time, however, we’re not laughing – and you shouldn’t be either.
Although you may be shocked to hear this, THC’s brain trust is not made up of a bunch of lawyers. That being said, we can’t help but feel that the County’s appeal against the initial decision has some merit – or, it would, if the people the County has in charge of arguing their defense had a lick of smarts and legal capability.
As their track record has shown, this simply is not the case. Unfortunately, Jeffrey Blanck has been no improvement over previous County Counsel’s, and we’re sure that history will continue to repeat itself should the County foolishly decide to appeal. It also looks like the general incompetence of the County Counsel’s office extends past Blanck, as we can see with Nancy Delaney, the County’s representative in this case.
Delaney lamented that “she wasn’t better able to communicate her case to the jury,” but her poor communication skills apparently didn’t stop there. She is adamant about filing motions to dismiss the case, even after the presiding judge had this to say: “Let’s just be clear…the evidence was pretty substantial in a variety of ways — as I’ve said before — so the likelihood I’m going to overturn a verdict is pretty low.”
But go ahead, County of Humboldt – go ahead and waste more of our money by flying in the face of legal wisdom. We’re very happy to continue funding your losing record.