A former district attorney’s million-dollar lawsuit against the county has hit another snag.
Mike Riese’s attorney, Brian Claypool, recently filed a motion to withdraw from representing Riese in a lawsuit seeking more than $1.5 million that names several members of the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office and Crescent City Police Department as part of what it calls suspended DA Jon Alexander’s campaign to exact revenge against Riese for firing Alexander from the DA’s Office in 2006.
Claypool’s action follows a judge’s order that Riese should pay a portion of the attorney’s fees for Alexander and another defendent, sheriff’s Deputy Richard Griffin.
Claypool cited a conflict of interest and breakdown of client relations as reasons for his motion seeking to withdraw.
“The attorney-client relationship between me and Mr. Riese has completely broken down to the point where I am unable to fulfill my responsibilities to zealously and ethically represent him in this action,” stated Claypool in court documents. “I can tell the Court that Mr. Riese is failing to communicate with me ... When Mr. Riese does communicate, he attempts to direct and control the litigation against my advice.”
Riese, however, told the Triplicate on Monday it was Claypool who has been difficult to reach. He also stated he wasn’t aware of the motion Claypool filed.
Claypool went on to cite Riese’s refusal to follow his advice to withdraw the claims that were the subject of the motion that Riese eventually lost.
It also states Riese has refused to pay the attorney’s fees awarded in the motion.
Riese was ordered to pay $6,256 in attorney fees for Alexander and $5,510 for Griffin.
Claims that were stricken from Riese’s original complaint were for malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress (levied against Alexander) and intentional infliction of emotional distress (levied against Griffin).
Claypool said he advised Riese to withdraw all claims against Griffin, but that did not occur.
Riese also failed in his attempt to add additional claims that the county was negligent in supervising Alexander.
“He has insisted, against my advice, on seeking to add other parties, claims and causes of action,” said Claypool.
The hearing on Claypool’s motion will be Nov. 13. The trial for the lawsuit is currently set for July 2014.
The suit claims Riese’s civil rights were violated by unreasonable search and seizure, malicious prosecution, fabrication of evidence, conspiracy to interfere with civil rights, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress and supervisory liability for constitutional violations.