DOBSON — Mount Airy resident William Neal Shelton has filed another civil lawsuit against N.C. Rep. Sarah Stevens, D-90.
This time around the list of defendants has grown to include 10 public figures and agencies in addition to Stevens, who was elected Speaker Pro Tem of the N.C. House of Representatives in January.
Those named in the suit are the State of North Carolina, Rockingham County, Surry County, the N.C. Attorney General’s Office, the Rockingham County District Attorney’s Office, the Surry County District Attorney’s Office, former Attorney General Roy Cooper, former Rockingham County District Attorney Phil Berger Jr., former Rockingham County Assistant District Attorney Kay Gregg, and Surry County District Attorney Ricky Bowman.
Stevens and her law partner, Zachary Brintle, represented Shelton’s now ex-wife Kimberly Hiatt Shelton in their divorce.
Shelton’s various claims in the suit stem from his arrest in April 2013 for allegedly writing a letter threatening violence against Stevens and other local officials.
He was charged at that time with several felony violations and was held in the Surry County Detention Center on those charges until January 2014.
Shelton alleges he was illegally and wrongfully incarcerated during that period “in order to deprive the plaintiff of his rights and ability to handle or self-represent himself in ongoing divorce proceedings,” he states in the suit.
The divorce had been finalized while Shelton was in jail.
The charges were eventually dismissed due to inconclusive handwriting results from FBI analysis, according to court documents.
In the 19-page lawsuit, Shelton claims that a sample of his handwriting was never obtained, and that, citing “voice communications and numerous conversations” with the FBI and “a copy of The Freedom of Information Act,” that “the FBI never investigated, analyzed or heard of the letter and we will subpoena the field officer to testify to that and present a copy of The Freedom of Information Act.”
All of the defendants named in the suit played some role in the incident, according to Shelton.
The Rockingham County prosecutors handled the case at the request of the Surry County District Office; Shelton stated in the suit that he sought help from the Attorney General’s Office while incarcerated but was denied.
Shelton states he suffered substantial damages due to the incident including loss of freedom, property and funds, damage to his reputation as well as parental alienation.
He seeks damages in excess of $10,000 on each of 14 claims: fraud upon the court, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, obstruction of justice, collusion, deprivation of rights under the color of law, due process, criminal mischief, defamation, slander, abuse of process, fraud/defraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress and punitive damages.
In North Carolina, the Superior Court division handles cases involving more than $25,000.
Allen Poindexter, who has power of attorney for Shelton, filed the suit in the office of the Surry County Clerk of Court around noon on Tuesday.
The case had not yet been served to the defendants late Tuesday afternoon.
According to the document, Shelton is living in Alaska but is still a legal resident of Surry County.
Poindexter said he and Shelton have been good friends for several years and that the plaintiff needed someone he could trust to handle things locally.
“If it gets justice in the end then it’s worth it,” Poindexter said.
In October 2016, Shelton dismissed a different lawsuit against Stevens, Brintle and Kimberly Shelton.
He had filed that suit in November 2015 alleging that tactics used during the Sheltons’ divorce and custody proceedings led to his financial and emotional ruin.
While the majority of that case had been dismissed by Superior Court judges, Shelton voluntarily dismissed the remaining portion last year, vowing to refile within the year as is allowed.
Shelton restated that intention in the most recent lawsuit.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.