Last year in Shingle Springs, Calif., a schizophrenic 34-year-old named Eddie Mies gunned down his father and then engaged in a shootout with sheriff’s deputies which resulted in his own death and the wounding of three deputies. Now two of the deputies have sued Karen Mies, mother of the slain gunman and widow of his slain father, as well as her late husband’s estate and surviving son for a combined $8 million for “for emotional distress, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and punitive damages.” They claim the family should have controlled Eddie better, and say the deputies “suffered anxiety and humiliation” in addition to their physical injuries.
Attorney Phillip Mastagni of Sacramento, “whose family law firm works for police unions across Northern California”, is representing the two deputies, Jon Yaws and Greg Murphy, in the suit filed in El Dorado County. Mastagni says he is confident that the suit will overcome the “firefighters’ rule”, a doctrine that historically has barred lawsuits by public safety officers against those whose negligence has allegedly led to emergencies. The rule has decayed considerably in recent years in some jurisdictions, and suits by firefighters, police, paramedics and other rescuers have multiplied.
The defendant, Mrs. Mies, a hospice nurse, had this to say:
“June 5 was a tragic day for me and my family, and it was a tragic day for the deputies who were injured,” Karen Mies said. “We were all victims that day. But this lawsuit is victimizing our family again. What do they want? My husband’s dead, my son’s dead. Do they want my house and my 10-year-old car?”
(Dorothy Korber, “Son battled officers; now mom fights suit”, Sacramento Bee, Aug. 10). Smallest Minority (Aug. 20) is particularly intrigued by allegations of “bunkers and tunnels” supposedly maintained by the younger Mies.
Public criticism that followed initial reports of the lawsuit doesn’t seem to have softened Yaws and Murphy any: per one later account (AR15.com Forums, scroll to update at end of first entry, source not identified) they’ve upped their demand to $38.4 million. What are said to be excerpts of other recent local coverage can be found on page 6 of the same extensive comments section. And the name of the third injured deputy, the one who did not sue, deserves to be recorded in this place as well: it is Melissa Meekma. More: Pro Libertate.