Friday, December 18, 2015

Lyon County, administrator to pay $2.1 million for stolen items

Lyon County and former Public Administrator Richard Glover must pay $2.1 million to the heirs of a man whose Wellington home was looted after his death in May 2006, a federal jury ruled Tuesday.

"It's been a really long haul," Las Vegas resident Richard Mathis said after hearing the verdict.

The verdict stemmed from a civil rights lawsuit filed by Mathis and his two brothers, Anthony and James, who accused Glover of illegally seizing and stealing nearly $1 million of heirlooms and other property from the home of their 85-year-old father, Joe, shortly after his death.

Anthony Mathis, who lives in Vermont, and Richard Mathis came to court Tuesday afternoon to hear the jury's verdict. Glover also came to court, but he and his attorneys declined to comment.

Later, as Richard Mathis left the federal courthouse in Las Vegas, juror Kristine Anderson approached him and said, "I hope you guys are able to move on now."

Anderson told the Review-Journal that jurors wanted to hold Lyon County accountable for failing to have written policies to guide its public administrator, and for failing to protect its citizens.

"The family clearly wasn't notified that the property was going to be removed from the home," she said.

The jury's verdict included about $1.6 million in damages against Lyon County and $180,000 in damages against Glover for emotional distress, as well as about $217,00 in damages against both defendants for stolen property. In addition, the jury ordered Glover to pay $100,000 in punitive damages.

"I hope that this'll teach Lyon County not to do this to somebody again, but I don't think it will," Richard Mathis said.

The Mathis brothers had sought a $4.5 million verdict. Their attorneys argued that the stolen property included $800,000 worth of opals.

"It's hard to value property that's missing," Anthony Mathis said.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon presided over the trial, which began Nov. 2.

"At its core, this case is about a Nevada county that was deliberately indifferent to the constitutional rights of its citizens," attorneys for the Mathis brothers wrote in their trial brief. "The evidence in this case shows that Lyon County has elected numerous public administrators that have overtly violated the constitutional rights of Lyon County citizens for more than a decade."

Glover was investigated but never faced criminal charges related to the missing Mathis property.

However, records show he was charged with a crime in connection with the estate of Carl Liberty and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in 2010.

Joe Mathis' six children, including three daughters, were raised in Smith Valley, where the western Nevada town of Wellington is located.

Full Article & Source:
Lyon County, administrator to pay $2.1 million for stolen items


Sylvia Rudek said...

Good lawyering and good evidence as part of the litigation. Congratulations! This case is an example of a national pattern of operation of an out of control, unregulated system that does not protect the person, their estate nor the person's rightful heirs.

StandUp said...

Perhaps this case will teach some perps a big lesson.