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November 25, 2015

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Erik Scott’s family files lawsuit against Costco in shooting death

Family files lawsuit naming Costco employee as a defendant


Jackie Valley

Friends and supporters mark the one-year anniversary of Erik Scott’s death outside the Summerlin Costco, where he was fatally shot by Metro Police officers.

Click to enlarge photo

Shai Lierley, a Costco loss prevention supervisor, demonstrates how Erik Scott brought his gun on an officer as he testifies during a coroner's inquest at the Regional Justice Center Thursday, September 23, 2010.

The family of Erik Scott, who was shot and killed by three Metro Police officers in 2010 at a Summerlin Costco store, have decided to return to state court after dropping a federal lawsuit earlier this year.

On Friday, the family filed a lawsuit in Clark County District Court against Costco Wholesale Corp. and one of its employees seeking damages in excess of $10,000 .

Scott, 38, was shot by Metro officers William Mosher, Joshua Stark and Thomas Mendiola on July 10, 2010, as he walked out of the store.

Police, who had been alerted by a Costco employee that Scott was causing a disturbance and had a gun, said when officers arrived and told Scott to surrender, he raised a gun toward them.

However, the Scotts and their attorneys say Erik Scott was merely shopping in the store when an employee told him he wasn’t allowed to have a gun in the store. The family has said that while Scott might have been upset that the Costco employees were accosting him because he was carrying his registered concealed handgun he “he was not acting erratic, not being aggressive, and in fact did not threaten or endanger anyone that day.”

After six days of testimony, a Clark County coroner’s inquest jury ruled in September 2010 that the three officers were justified in the shooting.

In October 2010, the Scott family filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Metro Police and Costco but decided to drop that case earlier this year.

Matthew Callister, the Scott family's new attorney, said he went over the transcripts from the inquest and determined "there are some serious questions that need to be addressed."

Callister and his associate, Mitchell Bisson, filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday for the Scott family alleging Shai Lierley, a Costco employee, “grossly and inaccurately” described to police over the telephone his encounter with Erik Scott after he confronted Scott about carrying a concealed weapon at the store.

The suit alleges that when Lierley talked to a police dispatcher, he mischaracterized Scott’s conduct, Scott’s intentions with his firearm and falsely accused Scott of being under the influence of illegal narcotics. Lierley testified during the inquest.

“The police improperly believed by the time they got there, they had a hostage situation,” Matthew Callister, the family’s attorney, said Friday afternoon.

Callister said transcripts of the 911 call show that Lierley stayed on the phone with the 911 dispatcher for six or seven minutes. Callister alleged that Lierley, through his statements, led police who arrived at the scene to believe that the situation was escalating.

The suit filed Friday also said that Costco breached its general duty of care to Scott by failing to follow company protocol in allowing a non-management employee to contact Metro about the situation.

The lawsuit also says that Lierley and Costco’s actions “created the situation which resulted in Erik Scott losing his life.”

The lawsuit said the plaintiffs are also seeking damages in excess of $10,000 for monetary and emotional damages, more than $10,000 for Scott’s wrongful death, and punitive damages, special damages and attorneys fees.

The plaintiffs in the case are Linda and Bill Scott, who are Erik Scott's parents, and Erik Scott's estate.

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