A Delaware County couple connected with an animal cruelty case has dropped their claim for $1 million in damages against multiple plaintiffs, including the Delaware County Commissioners and Sheriff Harlan Moore.
On Friday, Oct. 6, Andrew M. Casey, attorney for Christopher and Claire White, confirmed his clients filed a notice for "unopposed dismissal of all claims without prejudice" on Sept. 28 for the $1 million in tort claims.
The Whites filed the tort claim with the commissioners in March 2017.
At the time it listed the the commissioners, Moore - as an individual and in his official capacity, former Deputy Sean Meador as the chief defendants.
The suit, filed in April 2017 in the Northern District of Oklahoma United States District Court, added the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals and Dana Gray as additional defendants.
Casey refused to comment on the reasons for the dismissal, citing open litigation involving his clients.
According to the information, filed in federal court, the Whites gave notice the action was "voluntarily dismissed, without prejudice, against all defendants."
The document states all parties would be responsible for their own fees and costs.
About the claim
In July 2016, the Whites were charged in Delaware County District Court with 10 counts of animal cruelty. At the time of their arrest, sheriff’s deputies removed 40 dogs and cats and around 300 chickens from their rural Jay residence in July.
In September 2016, Delaware County Special Judge Alicia Littlefield ordered Moore and his deputies to return as many of the animals as possible to the Whites. The order also allowed for the animals that had been given away or sold to be retrieved back to where they were originally held.
Those charges were dropped in January after Meador admitted to making false statements on a search warrant in another animal cruelty case.
In that case, Lisa Garcia, 57 and Dennis Garcia, 72, of Colcord were charged with six counts of animal cruelty, Littlefield threw out the search warrant after Meador’s admission.
In the initial tort claim, the Whites claimed Meador created search warrant affidavit and arrest warrant affidavit which "contained a series of false and misleading statements."
The tort claim also stated several of the Whites animals were unlawfully kept from the couple and some destroyed and alleged the couple's reputation was damaged, and they suffered expenses associated with hiring an attorney, incarceration, as well as property damage and emotional distress and mental anguish.
Other legal actions
Two other lawsuits or legal actions have been filed within the Delaware County District Court related to the Whites' arrest in July 2016.
A civil lawsuit, pitting the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals (OAA) against the couple, was filed Thursday, Feb. 16, in Delaware County District Court.
The suit, filed on behalf of the OAA by attorney Ken Crump with Barber and Bartz in Tulsa, and Tommy Dyer Jr., with Davis and Thompson in Jay, against Chris and Claire White, asks for a jury trial and attorney fees, with actual damages of "over $25,000 but likely to be less than $75,000, in an amount to be proven at trial."
It is slated to be back in court on Nov. 1, when the motion by the Whites current lawyers is heard. In that case, Stinnett and Casey have asked to be removed from the counsel of record.
A civil complaint, filed in January in Delaware County District Court by Winston Connor II, contains a complaint of "civil indirect contempt of court" against Moore.
It alleges the sheriff failed to return animals to his clients as ordered by the court.
An order, granting continuance related to the contempt citation was issued on Aug. 14. The next court date related to it for it is set for 10 a.m. on Jan. 12, 2018.