Sep 03

KBM Lawyers

Stew Estes Wins Defense Verdict for City of Kirkland

by KBM Lawyers

Stew Estes recently defended two officers and the City of Kirkland in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit alleging the violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the arrest of an assaultive mentally ill suspect. The nine member federal court jury returned a defense verdict after a 5 day trial.

In 2011, 32 year old woman (claiming PTSD from a rape in the military 10 years prior) flooded her downstairs neighbor’s apartment with an overflowing bathtub. Plaintiff refused to correct the problem when her neighbor came to the door, so the fire department was called. Upon learning of the ongoing conflict between the women, police were dispatched. Officers spent over 30 minutes unsuccessfully trying to talk their way into the apartment so a master key was obtained and officers entered. Plaintiff ran to the bathroom and as officers entered she charged at one of them and was handcuffed. As fire was inspecting the flooding, she kicked one of the officers and was then arrested for obstruction instead of the felony assault. She was angry and profane for almost all the encounter.

The court ruled pre-trial that the warrantless entry was lawful under the emergency aid exception, and that the officers had probable cause for the arrest.

Plaintiff alleged that the officers should have accommodated her by calming her down by giving her time, calling her therapist or allowing her mother to assist. She also alleged that she was abused during the handcuffing, dragged down the stairs in just a bra and panties, and told she was being “taught a lesson.” The jury rejected these claims.

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“Jeremy Culumber's preparation and execution was absolutely phenomenal.”

Bruce Linton, Assistant Chief of Police, Tukwila Police Department