Federal Judge Richard Dorr rejected an attempt by Robert W. Evenson, the father of McDonald County's sheriff to dismiss a lawsuit against him by the man his son beat last November.
In his ruling, the judge said the lawsuit was not far enough along to determine if the case has any merit.
Jeff Sutherland and his wife, Tammy, filed a lawsuit in December in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri charging the County's 911 Board, and its attorney, Evenson, of violation of their "right to equal protection," "Invasion of privacy,' and of violating Missouri state law in connection with the release of a July 13, 2007, 911 tape of a call made by Mrs. Sutherland to media outlets and to Neosho Forums, where it was posted on Aug. 3.
At the same time, an advertisement was published in the Big Nickel, indicating the call concerned an earlier incident in which the ad referred to Sutherland as being intoxicated and firing his weapon. Other allegations were also made in the ad against both Sutherland and Republican sheriff's candidate Gregg Sweeten.
Listed as defendants in the lawsuit, in addition to Evenson, Lisa McCool, the 911 Board's executive director; and Brian Massa, an employee, as well as board members. The 911 Board as an entity was dismissed as a defendant.
The suit alleges the release of the tape and an examination of Tammy Sutherland's driving records by Massa were a conspiracy to violate the couple's rights. The Sutherlands are asking for damages, attorneys' fees, and costs.