Nevada County waits to hear on motion to dismiss in Malott suit
A convoluted civil rights lawsuit alleging a bizarre conspiracy perpetrated by the Nevada, Placer and Sacramento County Sheriff’s offices continues to wend its way through federal court after being filed in April by Nevada County resident Richard Malott.
Nevada County Deputy County Counsel Scott McLeran has filed a motion to dismiss, which was taken under submission by Judge Kimberly Mueller on Aug. 18.
“We’re just waiting for the judge’s ruling on the motion,” McLeran said Friday. “Hopefully, it will be soon.”
Malott’s case alleges the three county law enforcement agencies conspired to deter him from complaining further after he was mistreated during a routine traffic stop and subsequent arrest.
Malott, 44, said in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento that Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies abused him after arresting him on a charge of illegally carrying a concealed weapon on April 25, 2013, by failing to provide access to medical care.
The complaint further alleges that law enforcement officials illegally confiscated Malott’s diary, which was located in the car during a search, and launched an investigation into Malott’s personal activities that entailed calling associates and divulging parts of the diary, and allegedly fabricating other parts of it to make Malott appear like a deviant criminal and to encourage associates to pursue restraining orders and criminal complaints.
The complaint alleges that members of the Placer County Sheriff’s Office visited Malott’s property without a warrant on several occasions in an attempt to “physically intimidate” him and discourage him from pursuing his complaints.
The complaint names Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal, saying he and others in his department assisted in a cover-up by ignoring the illegal actions of the other two agencies and improperly failing to respond to a subpoena that summoned the sheriff to a restraining order hearing involving Malott.
The entire lawsuit stems from a traffic stop on April 25, 2013, when Malott allegedly was found to be in possession of a .22 caliber Derringer handgun after a search by two deputies, Javier Bustamante and Darin Epperson.
After Malott revealed that he did not have a permit for carrying a concealed weapon, he was arrested on a misdemeanor and placed in the back of the car, according to the complaint.
While in the backseat of the deputies’ vehicle, Malott reportedly began to complain of chest pains, pain in his left arm, nausea, lightheadedness and other symptoms consistent with a cardiac event.
The complaint alleges that Bustamante and Epperson ignored Malott’s plea for urgent medical care, and then engaged in activities “akin to kicking away crutches to see if they fall down.”
After reportedly ascertaining that Malott was possibly experiencing a real medical event, the officers called an ambulance and Malott was admitted to a hospital for overnight monitoring before being released the next day, the lawsuit stated.
Malott’s attorney, Stewart Katz, said that Malott first filed government tort claims against all three agencies and then chose to pursue a civil case.
In McLeran’s motion to dismiss, which was filed in May, he said that Malott’s suit involves “alleged unconstitutional conduct … where there simply is none” and added there was no evidence of an “conspiratorial intent.”
“Plaintiff is essentially arguing that because Placer County Sheriff’s deputies allegedly entered and conducted searches upon his property, which he claims were unlawful and unreasonable, defendants Royal and (Deputy Dave) Devogelaere’s alleged failure to investigate … establishes an ‘official cover-up’ which can be ‘plausibly inferred’ to be a civil conspiracy,” McLeran wrote in another document filed in the case.
“Such vague and conclusory allegations are simply inadequate.”
Malott still faces felony charges in Sacramento County Superior Court for the 2013 arrest, of carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a loaded firearm, and is set to appear next on Nov. 5.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.
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