Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rape Kit Lawsuit Against City Moves Forward

Posted By on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 at 1:21 PM

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A hearing for a lawsuit seeking answers about the amount of rape kits the City has left untested, Jane Doe v. the City of Memphis was held Tuesday in Judge Gina Higgins' circuit courtroom.

Plaintiff lawyer Daniel Lofton says his goal for the hearing was to get the City to tell the rest of the story.

He told Judge Higgins that he feels the City's attorneys have not been cooperating, neglecting to produce requested documents and other pieces of evidence necessary to move forward with the case.

Lofton asked the court to require the City to hand over internal audits, remedial plans in response to the audits, and rape kit statistics.

The attorney representing the City, Robert Meyers disagreed with Lofton's claims, arguing that the City has been doing its best to be cooperative.

However, Meyers says that because no class action has been certified yet and likely won't be, certain evidence that Lofton is seeking is outside the scope of the protective order previously made.

Furthermore, Meyers says the information that the plaintiff attorney is asking for is too broad and "unduly burdensome."

Lofton explained that there are over 12,000 untested rape kits, with only about a dozen convictions from those 12,000 cases. "That number speaks for itself," he said.

He reminded the judge, as well as the defense that the lawsuit is not about the circumstances of each individual rape, but rather about "adding insult to injury."

He said that he plans to prove through evidence that the City's standard of care in handling rape kits has not been up to par.

Tuesday was a win in court for the plaintiff side, according to Lofton, as Judge Higgins said the City cannot be immune to this case and that the plaintiff has the right to go forth.

Judge Higgins ruled that a special judge is to decide what evidence will be included in the case before the lawsuit proceeds.

The judge also told the attorneys that they should consider moving toward setting a date for trial.

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