homepage logo

Attorney: Settlement reached in Shirley suit

By Staff | Jun 7, 2013

A negotiated settlement has been reached in a federal lawsuit filed against former Jefferson County Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley and several police officers accused of being involved in the beating a bank robbery suspect in 2010, according to an attorney for the plaintiff.

The insurance company representing a majority of the defendants named in the civil suit settled the case for $90,000 following successful mediation that concluded late Friday, Martinsburg attorney Harry Waddell announced Wednesday.

Waddell represents Mark Daniel Haines, of Harpers Ferry, who sued Shirley and several other police officers after he was beaten severely following a Dec. 27, 2010, failed bank robbery and vehicle chase.

In exchange for accepting the settlement agreement, Haines has agreed to dismiss Shirley; Jefferson County sheriff’s deputies Joseph Forman and Terry Palmer; Berkeley County sheriff’s deputies C. Merson, C.S. Welcome and T.A. Sherman; and former Berkeley County sheriff’s deputy J.H. Jenkins as defendants in the suit.

“The insurance company for Shirley and the rest of the deputy sheriffs offered $90,000 through negotiation. It was an all-day mediation,” Waddell said.

Despite the settlement, the civil suit hasn’t been completely dismissed. A separate insurance company representing Trooper Joseph Bush of the West Virginia State Police, who was also named as a defendant in the civil suit, has not agreed to a settlement, Waddell said.

He said there is no plan at the moment to continue mediation.

Waddell also said Wednesday that he has filed a motion to amend the civil suit’s complaint, requesting that two former Shepherdstown Police Department officers be added as defendants in the civil suit. That motion is still pending before the court.

“The judge hasn’t ruled on it yet. If he rules, I can amend the complaint and they’ll be brought in as defendants,” Waddell said.

He said what prompted him to file the motion was an anonymous letter alleging the two former Shepherdstown Police Department officers were directly involved in the beating of Haines.

According to copy of a memorandum in support of the motion filed May 15, Forman and Palmer filed their initial discovery disclosures Jan. 30 identifying two former Shepherdstown Police Department officers who were alleged to have “knowledge of and/or witnessed the plaintiff’s arrest.”

On May 11, Waddell received a mailed letter containing a type-written, anonymous note alleging the two former Shepherdstown police officers were directly involved in the beating of Haines.

“The note gives the appearance of being written by a law enforcement officer who was present at the scene of the arrest,” the memorandum reads.

Nothing in the police reports or the list of individuals disclosed by Shirley suggested the involvement of the former Shepherdstown officers in Haines’ arrest.

The other officers named in the civil suit filed against Shirley were not criminally charged in connection with the beating. As of Wednesday, a trial is still scheduled in the civil case for Nov. 19 for Bush and, if a judge grants Waddell’s motion to amend the suit, the two former Shepherdstown police officers.