Heather Yakely Obtains A Unanimous Defense Verdict
December 13, 2017 by Justin Whittekiend
The case titled Mita v. Spokane County was originally filed with the Federal Court in the Eastern District of Washington in April, 2010. The case arose when 84-year-old Kay Mita reported for jury duty on the morning of November 26, 2007, and left the jury room for a lunch break but didn’t return. He apparently became confused and disoriented, wandering around the courthouse grounds unable to find his car, which was parked less than a block away. Tragically, Mr. Mita passed away that night.
The Mita family’s lawsuit claimed the County’s 911 Communications mishandled a missing-person call and provided false assurances that police would search for Mita. Spokane County denied those claims. A co-defendant, Guardsmark Security, was also initially involved in the litigation. Litigation progressed with visiting Judge Patrick Monasmith hearing multiple Motions for Summary Judgment. Judge Monasmith threw out the claims against both the county and co-defendant, Guardsmark, in a pair of rulings in Nov. 2012 and Jan. 2013, but the Court of Appeals Div. III resurrected the case in June 2014, saying Judge Monasmith had not addressed central questions in his rulings. In 2015, Guardsmark via a stipulation of the Mita Family and Guardsmark, was dismissed from the litigation and the claims proceeded to trial against Spokane County only. The trial finally commenced on October 30, 2017.
Ultimately, the jury entered a unanimous defense verdict finding that the County was not negligent in the death of Mr. Mita.
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