HAYSVILLE: City officials to be deposed in federal lawsuit

Judge holding gavel in courtroom

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the June 22 print edition of the Haysville Sun-Times. Subscribe today to see stories like this sooner; call 316-540-0500.

By Sam Jack

Attorneys for former Haysville police officer Robert Crites are scheduled to depose several city officials next week, according to federal court filings.

Crites is suing the city in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, alleging that Haysville discriminated against him when he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after he was forced to shoot and kill Chad Leichhardt on May 19, 2014.

The city has denied Crites’ allegations and says employees acted appropriately when they dismissed him.

Police chief Jeff Whitfield, chief administrative officer Will Black, city clerk Janie Cox, assistant city clerk Teri Sanders and former police captain Bruce Powers will be deposed. They are scheduled to answer questions under oath on Wednesday and Thursday, June 28 and 29.

Attorneys representing the city will depose Crites on Tuesday, June 27, according to court filings.

The depositions are part of the discovery process leading up to a possible jury trial on Feb. 27, 2018. The goal of discovery is to get all relevant facts into the record prior to the trial.

A judge has ordered psychologist Bruce Nystrom to turn over all documents relating to his evaluation of Crites. Attorneys for Crites will also depose Nystrom next week.

Nystrom, who was hired by the city to evaluate Crites, wrote in a May 21, 2015, letter to Whitfield that “ongoing critical incident stress symptoms” made Crites unfit for duty, contradicting an earlier evaluation by a psychologist Crites had retained separately.

Crites’ representatives have also sent subpoenas to BNSF Railroad, Southwestern College and Kansas Star Casino, demanding production of personnel records relating to Crites, according to court filings.

All discovery must be completed by Aug. 25, according to a scheduling order the parties agreed to in February. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Sept. 8 at 10 a.m., and certain motions must be submitted by Sept. 22.

A more detailed story about the lawsuit ran in the May 18, 2017, issue of the Sun-Times. Read that story here.