Lawsuit in Lewis County Alleges ‘Malicious Prosecution’ in Hit and Run Case

By Natalie Johnson / njohnson@chronline.com

A lawsuit filed in the last days of 2017 in Lewis County Superior Court accuses Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer, a deputy prosecutor and a Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputy of malicious prosecution regarding a 2014 hit and run case.

In a response filed with the court this month, the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office denies the allegations and argues that the case cannot go forward for several reasons, including “prosecutorial immunity” and the statute of limitations.

The suit was filed Dec. 29, 2017, by Dasheill Paine. It names Meyer, deputy prosecutor at the time Luke Stanton, deputy Jeremy Almond with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office and the alleged victim in the hit and run.

According to the complaint filed in Lewis County Superior Court, at 8 a.m. on Dec. 9, 2013, Paine was driving on Zenkner Valley Road when he slid off the snowy asphalt. He left the scene to call a tow truck.

The truck was impounded by Lewis County before he arranged for a tow, according to the complaint.

Paine went to claim the vehicle from the impound lot. While he was gone, Almond reportedly went to Paine’s home and found his 9-year-old son alone and later called Child Protective Services.

According to Paine’s lawsuit, CPS filed no charges in the matter. Paine argues that the situation caused “a great deal of emotional distress.”

A response by the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office — representing the defendants in the lawsuit — states that Almond was required by law to notify CPS in the incident.

Paine was later charged in Lewis County District Court for hit and run with property damage for the December 2013 incident. The charges were filed in January 2014.

A resident at the property reported Paine damaged a fence. Paine denied any damage to the fence was caused by him. He argues the state had no real evidence and did not investigate thoroughly.

Paine was found not guilty after a bench trial in August 2014.

Paine’s suit alleges malicious prosecution, arguing that Meyer and Stanton filed charges without having probable cause, that Almond failed to investigate evidence in Paine’s favor, and that Almond caused distress by talking with his son.

A response from the prosecutor’s office denies Paine’s allegations and argues that Paine’s attorney did not follow court rules regarding witnesses’ testimony.

Paine is asking for damages to be determined at trial.