Family of Utah doctor can proceed with lawsuit against feds

June 26, 2012

The family of a Utah doctor can go forward with parts of a lawsuit claiming federal agents pushed the man to suicide. Dr. James Redd was indicted in 2009 after a sweeping investigation into the looting of Native American artifacts. He was one of 26 people charged in New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. The day after he was arrested, Redd committed suicide.

His family’s lawsuit claims more than 100 heavily armed agents stormed the home to arrest him and search for an ancient pendant. The Salt Lake City U.S. District Court judge’s ruling says the arrest could be considered unreasonable, because Redd wasn’t suspected of any violent crimes. The judge allowed Redd’s family to continue suing for wrongful death and intentional infliction of emotional distress, but kicked out claims of false arrest and malicious prosecution.

Redd was one of two defendants to kill themselves after the 2009 indictment, and a government informant in the case committed suicide in 2010.

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