Lawsuit dropped against N.C. legislator

By Terri Flagg - [email protected]

Surry County Courthouse

Terri Flagg | The News

DOBSON — A Mount Airy man’s lawsuit against N.C. Rep. Sarah Stevens, R-90, will be dismissed, according to court documents filed last week in Surry County.

On Friday, plaintiff William “Neil” Shelton filed a notice of voluntary dismissal without prejudice of the civil case brought against Stevens, her law partner, Zachary Brintle, and Shelton’s ex-wife, Kimberly Hiatt Shelton, in November 2015.

“It’s not going away,” Neil Shelton said, explaining that he intended to refile the lawsuit within the year as allowed by North Carolina rules.

Erika K. Wilson, UNC School of Law professor, confirmed a plaintiff may refile claims that were voluntarily dismissed without prejudice.

Stevens declined to comment on the dismissal.

The state legislator, who is also a practicing Surry County attorney, described the lawsuit as “frivolous” in a November 2015 article published by The News.

In the suit, Neil Shelton alleged that the defendants used tactics during the Sheltons’ divorce and custody proceedings that unjustly led to Neil Shelton’s imprisonment and financial ruin.

In August, a Superior Court judge dismissed with prejudice the majority of Neil Shelton’s case, meaning he may not refile those claims.

The portions that survived that ruling included conversion against Kimberly Shelton as well as malicious prosecution and punitive damages against all three defendants.

In April 2014, Neil Shelton was arrested and accused of sending a letter threatening to kill Stevens and other officials, a letter he claims he didn’t write.

He was held in the Surry County Detention Center under a high bond until December of that year, when the state dismissed the charges.

Shelton’s dismissal comes on the tails of motions for summary judgment filed separately by the two lawyer defendants (Oct. 3) and Kimberly Shelton (Sept. 30), which had been scheduled to be heard in the October term of civil Superior Court.

The motion filed by the lawyer defendants include affidavits of Brintle and Kimberly Shelton.

Those documents state that any criminal proceedings initiated by Kimberly Shelton against Neil Shelton were not procured by the lawyer defendants nor based upon their advice or direction.

“Furthermore, any warrant or restraining order that I sought was requested for valid reasons and with good cause,” Kimberly Shelton’s affidavit states.

Surry County Courthouse County CourthouseTerri Flagg | The News

By Terri Flagg

[email protected]

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.

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