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Brown lawsuit still pending in federal court



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April 29, 2014 | 01:05 PM
LYONS — Attorneys representing Nancy Brown and attorneys representing two Walworth County sheriff’s deputies are waiting for a federal judge to decide whether to grant the defense motion for summary judgment in the case involving the shooting of John W. Brown nearly two years ago.

Samuel C. Hall Jr., of Crivello Carlson S.C., Milwaukee, representing the deputies, said attorneys are still waiting for the judge to deliver his decision on the defense motion, which would end the trial in district court.

Listed as defendants are deputies Wayne Blanchard and Christopher Such and Walworth County.

Meanwhile, depositions are still being taken in the case, said Angela Kurtz, one of the attorneys for Romanucci & Blandin, Chicago, which is representing Brown. Kurtz said she doesn’t know when the judge might decide on the motion, or whether the judge was planning on issuing a decision at all.

She said if the case were dismissed at the circuit court level, the plaintiff could file an appeal.

Nancy Brown, John Brown’s mother, is listed as the plaintiff in the wrongful death lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Milwaukee, in May 2013.

John Brown, 22, was shot and killed in his mother’s home in Country Estates Mobile Home Park, town of Lyons, during the early morning hours of May 5, 2012.

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According to the police report, Brown was shot while advancing on deputies Blanchard and Such with a knife.

The complaint alleges Brown was denied his constitutional rights as a citizen when he was shot twice and killed.

Attorneys for the deputies said that the officer who fired the fatal shot, Blanchard, was acting in self-defense and that all rules and protocols involving the use of force were followed by the deputies.

Based on those claims, the defense argues that Brown has no grounds on which to sue and made a motion for summary judgment in January this year.

The shooting was investigated by the state Department of Criminal Investigation and by former Walworth County District Attorney Phillip Koss.

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Both the DCI and Koss, who is now a circuit court judge, said the shooting was in self-defense.

However, the complaint filed by Nancy Brown alleges that Blanchard fired his weapon immediately after kicking the door open a second time while Brown was “standing motionless” in the center of his room.

The court document also indicates that another sheriff’s deputy, Joshua Adams, informed the two deputies on the scene that he would be arriving with “less than lethal equipment” to help handle the situation.

Nancy Brown claims her son never had a chance in his encounter with the deputies and that the report that he had advanced on the officers with a knife was untrue.

Brown called 911 early May 5, 2012, because her son was depressed and was cutting himself with a knife.

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The mother and the authorities agree that Brown was a young man with emotional problems.

It was not the first time she had called the sheriff’s department in dealing with her son, who was described as bipolar.

In an interview last year with the Regional News, Brown said that the deputies who arrived during those calls consoled her son.

But the two deputies who responded to her call in the early-morning hours of May 5 had never been to her home before, she said.

The shooting occurred after the deputy reportedly kicked open the door to Brown’s bedroom a second time. The first time the door was kicked open, Brown reportedly slammed it shut again.

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After being shot, Brown was taken to the Aurora Lakeland Medical Center by ambulance, where he died of his injuries at about 1:15  a.m.

The complaint asks the court to award compensatory damagers, including medical and funeral expenses, attorney’s fees and punitive damages against Walworth County and the sheriff’s department, and against Blanchard and Such individually.

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