Monthly Archives: March 2016

WSPA: Zachary Hammond Family settles case for $2.15 million

The family of Zachary Hammond and the City of Seneca have settled a lawsuit over the shooting death.

Eric Bland of Bland Richter has issues the following statement:

“The family of Zachary Hammond, along with the City of Seneca, the Seneca Police Department, Chief John Covington and Lt. Mark Tiller are hereby announcing that the civil litigation involving the death of Zachary Hammond has settled for total payments to the Estate of Zachary Hammond in the amount of $2,150,000.00.  There will be no further legal proceedings between the parties.  Rather than endure a lengthy litigation process, both parties agree that an early resolution will allow a platform for healing for the Hammond family and the City of Seneca that is outside the spotlight of litigation.”

Read more from WSPA.

Family of Unarmed White Teen Shot by Cop Settles for $2.15M

The family of a 19-year-old man who was fatally shot by a South Carolina police officer last year settled its wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Seneca for $2.15 million.

Eric Bland, the attorney for the family of Zachary Hammond, announced the settlement agreement in a news release Tuesday.

The settlement doesn’t admit fault on the part of the city, the police chief or the officer who shot and killed the unarmed teenager in an attempted undercover drug arrest on July 26. The officer said he fired because he was afraid of being run over by Hammond’s fleeing car. Hammond was white, as is the officer.

The city had offered a $250,000 settlement last week.

The Hammonds have announced a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Greenville to discuss the settlement.

Read more:

Fox News

US News & World Report : Family of Unarmed White Teen Shot by Cop Settles for $2.15

Anderson Independent Mail: Zachary Hammond’s parents say obeying police vital

WYFF4: Family announces settlement in Zach Hammond case

WSPA: The Latest: Parents hope settlement will help them move on

Fox: Hammond family settles lawsuit for $2.15 million

CNN | Family of teen shot by cop settles lawsuit for $2.15M

(CNN) —The estate of Zachary Hammond, a 19-year-old who was fatally shot last year by a police officer in Seneca, South Carolina, has settled a civil lawsuit for $2.15 million, the family’s attorney said Tuesday.

“Rather than endure a lengthy litigation process, both parties agree that an early resolution will allow a platform for healing for the Hammond family and the City of Seneca that is outside the spotlight of litigation,” attorney Eric Bland said in a statement.

Hammond’s family had contended that the teenager’s civil rights were violated.

Bland said the settlement was reached with the city, its Police Department, Chief John Covington and Lt. Mark Tiller, the officer who shot Hammond dead in a Hardee’s parking lot.

Read more here.

Zach Hammond family settles with city of Seneca for $2.15 million | The State

Bland Richter holds Press Conference Regarding Hammond Settlement


 Video from WLOS

“The family of Zachary Hammond, along with the City of Seneca, the Seneca Police Department, Chief John Covington and Lt. Mark Tiller are hereby announcing that the civil litigation involving the death of Zachary Hammond has settled for total payments to the Estate of Zachary Hammond in the amount of $2,150,000.00.  There will be no further legal proceedings between the parties.  Rather than endure a lengthy litigation process, both parties agree that an early resolution will allow a platform for healing for the Hammond family and the City of Seneca that is outside the spotlight of litigation.” – Eric Bland

Full press conference video on the Bland Richter YouTube page: Press Conference

More coverage:

WLOS: Parents of teen shot and killed by police speak out after $2 million settlement

WYFF4: Angie Hammond Speaks

WYFF4: Eric Bland speaks about Hammond Settlement

WYFF4: Paul Hammond Speaks

Reuters: Family of teen killed by South Carolina police settle lawsuit

By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) – A wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of an unarmed white teen who was shot to death last summer by a police officer in South Carolina has been settled for $2.15 million, attorneys for both sides said on Tuesday.

Zachary Hammond, 19, died last July when he was shot by Lieutenant Mark Tiller through the open window of the car he was driving in a Hardee’s parking lot in the town of Seneca, about 120 miles northwest of the state capital, Columbia.

“Rather than endure a lengthy litigation process, both parties agree that an early resolution will allow a platform for healing for the Hammond family and the City of Seneca that is outside the spotlight of litigation,” lawyers for all parties said in a statement.

No state criminal charges were filed against Tiller in the shooting.

Hammond’s killing came during a wave of protests across the country in response to several high-profile police killings of unarmed black men, sparking the Black Lives Matter movement.

Read more. 

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Post and Courier: Delemar Highway a ‘gauntlet of danger’

SUMMERVILLE — The two-lane highway that serves one of the state’s largest high schools is unsafe, forcing students to “navigate a gauntlet of danger” to get to school, according to a local lawyer.

It remains unclear what will happen there next.

Scott Mongillo of Bland Richter law firm recently wrote the Department of Transportation to call its attention to what he said are dangerous conditions on S.C. Highway 165, also known as Delemar Highway, from Cooks Crossroads to Ashley Ridge High School.

Read more from The Post and Courier.

City proposes $250K settlement after unarmed teen shot

ASSOCIATED PRESS

A South Carolina city says it’s willing to offer a $250,000 settlement to the family of an unarmed teenager who was shot and killed by a police officer last year.

Local news outlets report Seneca City Council met in closed session for 40 minutes Thursday.

A statement issued later said the city is willing to offer the money to resolve some of the claims in the death of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond.

The statement issued by both sides in the civil suit brought by Hammond’s family said it would not resolve all claims against the police department, its chief and the officer. But if approved by the courts it would protect city assets.

Hammond was shot during an attempted drug arrest. The officer said he shot because he was afraid of being run over.

Hammond was white, as is the officer.

Read more:

Fox News

WSPA

WYFF Greenville

Judge orders Seneca to turn over ‘privileged’ records

SENECA — Attorneys representing the parents suing over the shooting death of their son at the hands of a Seneca police officer are circling Friday as a big day for preparing their case.

Come Friday, attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter get to see discovery material that the city of Seneca unsuccessfully attempted to keep confidential by invoking attorney-client privilege.

U.S. magistrate judge Kevin McDonald set the day as a deadline for Seneca officials to turn over their private communications with Complete Public Relations — a Greenville-based PR firm that handled all media inquiries concerning the police shooting of 19-year-old Zachary Hammond on July 26, 2015.

Earlier in the week, McDonald issued a ruling denying the defendants’ motion to quash a Bland-Richter subpoena of the public relation firm’s materials related to its work on behalf of Seneca city attorney Michael J. Smith.

Bland and Richter said they were “very pleased” with McDonald’s decision.

“(It’s) consistent with the public’s right to know and full sunlight on the case,” Bland wrote in an email to The Journal.

In his seven-page ruling filed Tuesday, McDonald rejected Seneca’s claim that attorney-client privilege should be extended to include its consultations with Complete Public Relations. Before ruling, McDonald personally reviewed the CPR records that Seneca desired to remain confidential based on its attorney-client argument.

“The court concluded after an in-camera review that (Seneca) had failed to meet its burden of showing that the communications ‘involved gathering information from client confidences or providing information through the consultant to the attorney for the purpose of assisting the attorney in giving legal advice,’” McDonald wrote.

McDonald directed CPR to provide Bland-Richter “with unredacted copies of all documents logged as privileged on or before Friday.

Bland told The Journal the law firm postponed its deposition Friday of Lt. Mark Tiller, the officer who shot Hammond during a hastily conceived drug sting that went awry. The deposition has been rescheduled for April 1.

Just last week, McDonald turned down a request by Tiller’s attorneys to delay the deposition three months on the grounds that an active FBI investigation into the shooting “profoundly and detrimentally impacts Mr. Tiller’s ability to participate in his upcoming deposition.”

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney for South Carolina announced Aug. 12, 2015, three weeks after the Hammond shooting, that they were launching their own investigation to run parallel with the inquiry into the events by the State Law Enforcement Division.

After a review of SLED’s investigation into the shooting, 10th Judicial Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams declined to pursue criminal charges against Tiller. The solicitor determined from her review of the case, and a dash-cam video of the shooting, that Tiller only had seconds to react at a moment when he perceived himself to be in harm’s way.

After withholding the video from public view for months, SLED released it in late October on the same day that Adams released her findings.

The video shows Tiller approaching Hammond’s vehicle with weapon drawn and firing into the driver’s side window as the suspect attempted to flee from the officer. Initially, the police account of the shooting characterized Tiller shooting in self-defense as Hammond attempted to run him over.

Tiller was placed on administrative leave after the shooting.


Full article available at UpStateToday.com
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Local attorney contacts DOT about Delemar Highway dangers

SUMMERVILLE JOURNAL SCENE

Bland Richter, LLP, submitted a letter to the state agency on Friday. The practice has offices in Charleston and Columbia.

The letter’s stated goal is to notify DOT “of a dangerous condition on Delemar Highway from Cooks Crossroads to Ashley Ridge High School.” It demands the agency repair the roadway’s “defects in a reasonable time.”

State law exempts state agencies from claims arising from road defects unless the agency fails to correct the defect in a reasonable amount of time after being notified of the problem.

Read more.