A $25 million claim against the city of Pasco by the widow and two daughters of a man killed by police will be withdrawn on Monday as the family switches counsel.
A $25 million claim against the city of Pasco by the widow and two daughters of a man killed by police will be withdrawn Monday as the family switches counsel.
Seattle attorney Charles Herrmann, the new attorney for the widow and daughters of Antonio Zambrano-Montes, said in a letter to a Pasco city clerk that a new claim will likely be filed in weeks, “when all the evidence is weighed and measured.”
Zambrano-Montes, 35, was throwing rocks when police fatally shot him Feb. 10. He was carrying neither a firearm nor a knife.
Herrmann’s law firm has replaced the original representatives of the family, Carrazco Law, of Tustin, Calif., and George Paul Trejo Jr., of Yakima.
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In a letter he wrote withdrawing the claim, Herrmann said Zambrano-Montes’ widow, Teresa de Jesus Meraz-Ruiz, “had no knowledge that her former attorneys were filing a formal claim against the City of Pasco, let alone the amount they would be demanding.”
On Sunday, Trejo said that the allegation is “entirely false.” The family, he said, had agreed to the $25 million amount in a family meeting before filing the initial claim — $10 million would go to each daughter and $5 million to the widow. The daughters are 13 and 15, and the widow is 32.
Trejo said the family knew the claim would be filed, and that there was no reason to delay it. Trejo said the city had 60 days to respond before a lawsuit could be filed.
Trejo said he was planning to file a grievance with the state bar association against the Herrmann Scholbe law firm for poaching his client.
On Sunday, Herrmann said, “Trejo can do whatever he wants. I’m not the slightest worried about my ethics.”
Herrmann said he met with the family last week in Pasco at the request of a leader in the local Hispanic community.“ They just wanted to know what their rights were,” Herrmann said.
Herrmann also said he later met at the Mexican consulate in Seattle with the widow and with Zambrano-Montes’ mother, who had flown up from Mexico. He said the consulate asked for the meeting.
It was then the family decided to switch attorneys, Herrmann said.
Zambrano-Montes, 35, was fatally shot at a busy downtown intersection. A YouTube video of the incident has been viewed more than 2 million times, and a special investigation is under way.
Trejo said he was befuddled as to why he was dismissed from the case.
He remembered having a birthday lunch with the family for one of the daughters.
“Everything was fine with the widow. She had a lot of respect for me,” said Trejo.
When he received the fax, Trejo said, “I was shocked, to tell you the truth.”
Asked how he thought this would affect public perception of the case, Trejo said, “Of lawyers, more than anything else. Unfortunately.”