Scottsdale will shovel in more money for defense in the lawsuit Mason v. City of Scottsdale et al, which is pending in Maricopa County Superior Court.
The City Council approved on consent an additional $50,000 to go along with an already set aside $50,000 to law firm Wieneke Law Group. Council approved the previous contract in 2015. The contract isn’t a fixed amount so the entire sum may not be needed.
The case started with a 9-1-1 call from a victim who claimed their neighbor Jeff Mason assaulted and pepper-sprayed them. Upon arrival of the Scottsdale Police Department at Mr. Mason’s residence, his wife Cynthia Mason told officers there were no guns and no weapons, the city claims.
Mr. Mason then allegedly exited the house with a gun in the low ready position. The city claims Mr. Mason disobeyed the officers’ commands, returned inside and pointed the gun at another officer through a window.
City officials say police detained both husband and wife, and Mr. Mason plead guilty to two counts of disorderly conduct involving a weapon against the officers. The city claims Mr. Mason, as part of his plea agreement, wouldn’t have any contact with the officers involved.
Mrs. Mason received a failure to obey charge and later was acquitted, a city staff report states. The Masons later sued the city for gross negligence and defamation, which the City Attorney’s Office handled through a senior assistant city attorney, the municipality states.
After the deposition of one of the officers involved, Mr. Mason filed a second complaint against the city based on the litigation defense in the first case, city staff say.
Mr. Mason’s complaint alleges the senior assistant city attorney committed abuse of process through the advisement of the plaintiff’s counsel that Mr. Mason couldn’t attend the deposition involving the officers involved in the event at the Mason’s home, according to a city staff report.
He further claimed negligent supervision and training of the city’s attorney, a city staff report states.
When the second claim came in, the city decided to hire outside counsel because city staff believed involving the City Attorney’s Office would be a conflict of interest.
The city claims it filed a motion to dismiss regarding the second lawsuit because it believes the lawsuit to be of a “frivolous nature” which came about without a “good faith basis.” Both cases are still in the early stages of discovery.
The original contract was with Struck Wieneke & Love for $50,000. In 2017, Struck Wieneke & Love subcontracted with Wieneke Law Group for the same amount.