Local News

County attorney calls lawsuit “frivolous”

Thayer County Attorney Dan Werner told the Thayer County Commissioners Oct. 28 a civil lawsuit filed against the county is “frivolous” and he has no doubt Sheriff David Lee did his job.
Richard Laughinghouse of Alexandria filed a complaint against Thayer County stemming from three protection orders filed against Laughinghouse in October of 2014.
In the complaint, Laughinghouse states after the protection orders were filed, he received a visit from the Thayer County Sheriff, who told Laughinghouse he was prohibited from “carrying or possessing firearms.” Lee was backed by Werner, the complaint reads.
Laughinghouse, who has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, then disposed of his firearms. He is accusing the county of infringing on his right to bear arms.
After the sheriff’s visit, Laughinghouse received a letter from the Nebraska State Patrol asking him to voluntary relinquish his permit.
Protection orders fall under two categories in Nebraska, domestic and harassment. State law provides for the removal of deadly weapons from offenders with protection orders against them.
In his complaint, Laughinghouse states the removal of firearms applies only to domestic abuse protection orders, not harassment protection orders.
He added that none of the three citizens who filed the harassment orders had an intimate history with Laughinghouse.
Laughinghouse said the request to dispose of his firearms is unconstitutional and he is asking the court to rule that he may have immediate possession of his firearms while the court decides the case. He is also asking for punitive damages.
Werner told the commissioners Laughinghouse also has a civil case against the Village of Alexandria. That case centers on Laughinghouse’s inability to inspect and copy the villages records, which are public.
The plaintiffs in the complaint against the village are Laughinghouse and his wife, Judy Laughinghouse.
Both claim the village charged them $12 per hour because their inspection and copying of the village’s records exceeded the village’s normal business hours.
The couple was charged a total of $54.
Then, the village changed its hours. In the complaint, Village Clerk Donna Rut told the couple the village no longer intends to maintain regular business hours, therefore, the Laughinghouses contend, they are prevented from seeing the records. Rut is the clerk for five villages.  
The Laughinghouses want the village to reinstate its normal business hours because if the hours aren’t reinstated so the plaintiffs can inspect and copy the records, the plaintiffs will “suffer substantial, great and irreparable harm,” according to the complaint.

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