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September 21, 2014

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

Family files lawsuit naming Costco employee as a defendant

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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.

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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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  1. Erik Scott created the situation by his own conduct and drug use. Costco was just the stage. If Costco, or any other company, has a policy that employees are not allowed to call, contact or talk to police I would think the employee would have a good case should something happen to them. Bottom line is that Scott was impaired, acting irrationally and armed with a handgun. Only Scott is at fault. Gotta love attorneys.

  2. I agree with the above post, this is something brought on by the actions of their son and has nothing to do with Costco, they need to realize the truth about the son, tragic as it is you can't blame an employee at a public store for reporting an incident that he feels endangered about. All the son had to do was acknowledge the request and peacefully leave. It is similar to joking about a bomb when boarding a plane, you just don't do it.

  3. Chunky says:

    The Scott family continues to point fingers of blame in every direction except their own. Erik Scott created this problem and now the courts have to clean it up.

    Too bad his family wasn't interested enough in him when he was alive to get him off that laundry list of drugs he was on.

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  4. Can we say 'dysfunctional family'? How about 'cognitive dissonance'? And finally, add Dunning-Kruger to their issues.

  5. @ petef (Peter Fritz).." All the son had to do was acknowledge the request and peacefully leave."

    What request are you talking about? If you would take a couple minutes and educate yourself, I mean you do have access to the Internet, right? If you have spent a minute reading Shai Lierley's testimony (http://bit.ly/KixYeK) at the Inquest you would know that he said...

    q."Is Erik posing and threat to customers..?"
    a.No, Sir

    @Manlaw...

    q."Had Eric Committed any crime.?"
    a.No, Sir

    q."Did Erik threatene-actually threatedn you?" customers..?"
    a.No, Sir

    q."Did Anyone ask Mr. Scott to specifically leave the building?"
    a.No, Sir

    @Brian.."didn't their son have enough illegal drugs in his system to kill a normal person? And with these drugs in his system he carries not one but two guns on his person to go shopping in a good neighborhood?" Let's see, what's the easiest way to answer that question. Ohhh, I've got it.

    NO.

  6. Doesn't matter if he "didn't threaten customers." Bottom line, if you choose to carry a handgun, whether concealed or open carry, you run a HIGH risk of scaring those around you, who will then call the police, who, if they don't perceive you as disarming yourself properly when they ask you, will shoot you dead. TOO MANY PEOPLE think it's perfectly normal to carry a deadly weapon wherever and whenever. Those people are wrong.

  7. Chasing another ambulance? I hope the Scott family is NOT paying anything up front and that the ATTORNEY is responsible for costs, including Costco costs, in all matters unless they can show substantial intentional fault.

  8. Chunky says:

    It's completely irrelevant what Mr. Scott was doing inside the store. He obviously drew enough attention to himself that the police were called. Frankly he could have just as well been baking cookies and helping senior citizens push their baskets.

    The pivotal moment was when he ignored the direct orders of the police, reached for and presented a weapon. Duh! The ONLY correct response to police officers who have their guns drawn on you is to freeze, show them your hands wide open and to slowly follow their orders. Even in the case of conflicting orders, he should have frozen in place, exposed his hands in the open and let the officers take control. Even the slightest movement or motion from a person carrying a weapon is a bad move.

    This suit against COSTCO reeks of a money grab by the Scott family and their legal team. They're counting on COSTCO settling out of court as they know the company wont' want to deal with a public trial.

    Erik Scott is directly responsible for his actions that day and the consequences, as unfortunate as they are. He was an irresponsible adult, addicted to prescription drugs and would not have been granted a CCW permit had the State known his entire mental and drug history.

    Again, too bad the Scott family didn't show this level of concern and interest in their son prior to his death.

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  9. glad the family has refiled because now we will find more real facts in adversarial questioning instead of being sheltered and covered by metro in the manipulated inquest system that is severely controversial and will be exposed as well. smart thinking of the family and their legal team!!
    be ready for metros henchmen trying to fudge things with false propaganda. i see they already did a full scale attack here...lol

  10. Given the overall circumstances of the crime scene, I keep wondering how many innocent people's lives were saved as a result of aggressive police action. The victim seems like a one man SWAT Team waiting to do business. Self medicating a bipolar illness with street or prescription drugs may have pushed him over the edge. Did the family have knowledge of this problem and were they in a position to press him to seek help before this tragedy took place? It is all very sad, but it could have been much worse.

  11. @ oldpsuguy, no innocent lives were saved but an innocent life taken by way of overly aggressive police action. are you self medicating for bi-polarism? seems you are over the edge yourself with some behavioral problems. does your own fam know of these issues? i am sure they do and can do nothing about it. it's so very sad.
    i wonder how those donuts and digestive problems have caused hemorrhoids to flare then make an improper decision on the account of his painful anxiety. probably passed a dozen or so in his shorts after realizing his mistake of a blackberry.

  12. Chunky says:

    It doesn't matter how many commands are issued. Mr. Scott should have never had a gun in his hand to begin with; nor should he have had one on his person while under the influence of so many prescription drugs. Police don't ask you to drop it unless you have it in your hand and police don't ask you to unholster your weapon; they'll disarm you if you comply.

    The ONLY correct response for Mr. Scott was to freeze and show EMPTY hands. This is CCW permit course 101.

    Everything else leading up to this moment in time becomes irrelevant at that point.

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  13. My favorite line of idiocy has to be "Given the overall circumstances of the crime scene, I keep wondering how many innocent people's lives were saved as a result of aggressive police action." From OldUPS guy.

    I wonder who he thinks was going to be Scott's first victim, had the police not been called. I wonder if he has watched too many Tom Cruise movies, and thinks this is Minority Report, and not real life. I wonder if he realizes that we don't punish people for what we think they might do, but only for what they've done. I wonder if he would appreciate Metro killing him, because surely someone as idiotic as he is will eventually make a poor decision that causes someone to loose his life. I wonder if he realizes that when people dove for cover that Sunday, they weren't dodging Scott's bullets.

    The only people who endangered lives that day were that Tub of Lard Mosher, Mendiola the manscaped felon and Joshua Stark. And their actions were directly influenced buy the false information cop wanna be Shai Lierley supplied police. Costco hired Shai Lierley, and are responsible for his actions. I'm just surprised none of the hundreds of people who were endangered by Lierley's actions and traumatized by his cowardice haven't filed suit. If they had endangered my family that day, I would have made sure they paid.

  14. My PCP wouldn't ask but on the usual and obnoxious -- please don't sue me -- forms I was required to fill out at a specialist I was referred to; one question asked if their were any firearms in the home. I left it blank of course as it isn't germane to the reason I was there and wasn't expecting any problem as a result. Once in the screening room, the nurse asked me and I assumed she was asking because it was blank. Sensing an attitude on her part, I answered that due to privacy concerns my attorney had advised I was not required to answer. She then stated that it was policy and all questions had to be answered if I wanted to be seen. Noting her obvious attitude, I asked her under what legal authority the question was required. The end result of course was that I left without being seen, a mutually acceptable outcome and just for fun, I asked for the name of their law firm and the doctors license number which they of course refused to provide.

    I went back to the office a few months later out of curiosity and looked at one of the forms and the question was no longer there. Mission accomplished.