PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Most of the $30 million lawsuit filed by Nic Cederberg and his wife against Washington County’s 911 Center and the Sheriff’s Office has been dismissed.
The federal judge concluded that dispatchers did not intentionally withhold information from the state trooper about the dangerousness of the man who shot him 12 times, James Tylka, and left him with a lifetime of disabilities on Christmas Day 2016.
One portion of the lawsuit against Legacy Meridian Park Hospital is still going forward, though the lawyers for the hospital are also arguing the case should be dismissed.
Lawyer Jamie Valentine argues Legacy’s doctor is immune from prosecution because of Oregon’s laws regulating how to deal with patients with mental health issues.
“…(T)hey were acting with appropriate clinical judgment in treating Mr. Tylka,” wrote Valentine.
In the lawsuit filed last year, Cederberg said dispatchers never warned him the man who shot him was armed and dangerous.
Dispatchers broadcast what’s called an “attempt to locate” for Tylka, who was suspected of killing his wife, Katelynn, in King City. But Cederberg’s lawsuit states Washington County dispatchers left out “critical information that Mr. Tylka had just shot and killed his wife and was armed and suicidal.”
In his ruling, Judge Marco Hernandez said the government can not be held liable for Cederberg’s injuries if dispatchers only omitted information, and did not do it on purpose.
“…(I)n order to establish that the WCCCA (Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency) Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a known or obvious danger to Cederberg, they must allege that the WCCCA Defendants recognized an unreasonable risk and actually intended to subject Cederberg to that risk,” wrote Hernandez in the dismissal which became official September 7, 2019.
“The facts didn’t match what the law requires, basically,” said David Lewis, the attorney for WCCCA.
The night of the shooting
Cederberg was in Tigard on Bull Mountain when he learned that law enforcement were looking for Tylka at 10:40 p.m. Nine minutes later Cederberg notified dispatch he had spotted Tylka’s white Mitsubishi and was in pursuit.
The lawsuit said Cederberg made a tactical decision about continuing the chase “he would not otherwise have made had he possessed the critical information…to follow Tylka’s vehicle down Gimm Lane, a narrow, dark and relatively isolated rural dead end road.”
The lawsuit states Tylka rammed Cederberg’s patrol car while simultaneously starting a gun battle. The Washington County District Attorney concluded: “It appears that Tylka fired the last few rounds while standing directly over Trooper Cederberg.”
The gun battle continued after other officers arrived. The State Medical Examiner said one of the 21 shots that hit Tylka was a self-inflicted shot to the head.
The lawsuit also accused a sheriff’s deputy of failing to perform his duty to arrest Tylka about a month earlier for domestic violence.
Cederberg’s lawyer said Katelynn Tylka called 911 on November 29, 2016 to report death threats from her estranged husband. The suit states the deputy had probable cause, but did not arrest Tylka even though he left text and voice messages “threatening to kill her and her new boyfriend.”
The next day Tylka attempted suicide by overdosing on insulin. He was taken to Legacy Meridian Park Hospital, where a police officer requested a mental health hold on Tylka.
The lawsuit says the doctor “called the King City Police Department to complain about Mr. Tylka being brought to the emergency room…and stated that the circumstances ‘sounded like a criminal matter'” and released Tylka later that night.
The lawsuit says Cederberg has permanent disabilities, including post traumatic stress disorder. At least one bullet remains at the base of his spine. Bullet fragments are also left in his forearm, where he was shot 6 times.
The lawsuit asked for $2 million for past and current pain and suffering and $18 million for future pain and suffering.
The suit says Cederberg’s wife is his around the clock caregiver. She has been seeking at least $10 million in damages.
“It is Legacy Health’s practice not to comment on pending litigation, but instead allow the courts to oversee the process,” said Brian Terrett with Legacy Health shortly after the lawsuit was filed.