Family Heads to Mediation Following Death of Loved One
Following the shooting of Loren Benjamin Simpson, the family will begin mediation in an attempt to settle a federal civil lawsuit filed against the county. Mediation was ordered by US District Judge Susan Watters recently and will take place the end of April in Helena, MT. Attorney Gary M. Zadick, a mediation specialist, will oversee the proceedings.
Judge Watters instructed the parties to ensure that someone be present at the session that has ultimate settlement authority and that everyone participates in good faith.
Simpson was killed in January when he approached police officers on White Buffalo Road in Huntley. He was driving a stolen Ford Explorer at the time. One of the deputies involved was undergoing training and had been on the job for less than five months. Both deputies resigned following the shooting, despite the coroner’s report issued in February that concluded the deputies did not do anything criminal.
Simpson’s families are seeking compensation. Those included in the lawsuit include Simpson’s mother, brother, sister, and aunt. Their suit was transferred to federal district court after they had originally filed it in state court. It alleges wrongful death and violations of Simpson’s Constitutional rights. They are asking for damages exceeding $10 million. Defendants named in the suit include Sheriff Mike Linder, the two deputies, and Yellowstone County.
In addition to county representatives and those involved in the case, the Montana Association of Counties will also take part in the mediation. The group provides insurance to the county when claims are greater than $250,000.