Court Sanctions Los Alamos County In Police Case

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post

Los Alamos County was sanctioned in December by the First Judicial District Court for its conduct related to the suit filed by former Police Cmdr. Randy Foster, former Cmdr. Scot Mills and former Det. Paige Early.

According to court documents obtained by the Los Alamos Daily Post, District Court Judge Raymond Ortiz sanctioned the County Dec. 1, 2015 and fined it more than $21,000 because its answers to discovery for Plaintiffs Foster, Mills and Early were “all deficient in a number of respects, including that some of the information provided by the County was demonstrably false.”

The document further states that the County had an obligation to provide clear answers to Plaintiff’s discovery and should have had the ability to obtain answers from the County’s high level administrators and others retained by the County, but it did not meet those obligations. Also, the court had issued a number of orders stemming back to April 29, 2015 for an expedited motion to compel and expressly laid out the court’s ruling and yet the County’s answers were still deficient, according to the documents.

The judge  issued an order reflected in a document dated Oct. 30, 2015 for the County to comply, it failed to do so, which led to the December sanction, according to court documents. 

County Public Information Officer Julie Habiger responded to a request Saturday evening by the Los Alamos Daily Post for comment to the sanction:

“The New Mexico Self-Insurer’s Fund and former Los Alamos Police Department employees Randy Foster, Scott Mills and Paige Early reached a settlement agreement on Feb. 4, 2016.

“During the discovery process, a voluminous and extensive range of documents related to the case were requested by attorneys for the plaintiffs. During hearings held last October, the Attorneys for the plaintiffs submitted to the court that the County had not fully disclosed all documentation required under discovery, although the County believed that all documents had been submitted in good faith. Subsequently, the Attorneys for the plaintiffs disputed statements in response to questions that had been asked.

“Upon review of the documents, Plaintiff statements and County statements, the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, and sanctioned the County for non-compliance and false statements made in the discovery process. As a result, the County was fined $21,152.43 for attorney fees related to this matter, which was paid by the New Mexico Self-Insurer’s Fund (NMSIF), an insurance pool of New Mexico municipalities and other political subdivisions, including the County, through an arrangement with the New Mexico Municipal League.”

 Court Documents Related to the Sanction:

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