Berkeley Springs man settles lawsuit over police shooting for $200K

ELKINS – A week before a trial was scheduled to take place, a Berkeley Springs man has settled his lawsuit against the Morgan County deputy sheriff who shot him. During a March 13 settlement conference mediated by U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey, Ulysses J. Everett reached a $200,000 agreement that resolves his lawsuit against Deputy Sheriff Seth A. Place and the Morgan County Commission. Bailey entered an order dismissing the case on March 18. The trial was scheduled to begin on March 20. The settlement is being paid by the commission, and Place is being dismissed as a defendant. In his suit filed last year, Everett said Place arrived at his Fairview Drive home in Berkeley Springs on Oct. 6, 2010, responding to a domestic disturbance call. Prior to his arrival, 911 dispatchers informed Place that Everett’s wife Diana safely departed for a relative’s home “several miles away.” Upon arrival, Everett says Place approached his home with a handgun in his right hand and a police dog in tow in his left. After Place identified himself as a deputy sheriff and shouted “let me see your hands,” Everett says he first opened the door only to close it after seeing the dog charge him. According to the suit, Place then kicked the door in an effort to enter the home. After making a second unsuccessful effort to kick open door, Place then fired two shots with his handgun, the suit says. One shot struck Everett in the abdomen and the other in the right hip. After confirming Everett was unarmed, Place handcuffed him, rendered first aid and called for an ambulance. Eventually, Everett was airlifted to Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, Va., where he underwent emergency surgery for his gunshot wounds. Later, he would undergo additional surgeries, including one for a hip replacement. Following his release from the hospital, Everett was charged with one count of wanton endangerment. During its January 2011 term, the Morgan County grand jury indicted Everett for not only wanton endangerment, but also domestic battery, domestic assault and obstructing an officer. The following July, the prosecutor’s office agreed to dismiss the domestic battery and wanton endangerment charges in exchange for Everett agreeing to plead guilty to the domestic assault, obstruction and a lesser charge of brandishing. Pursuant to the plea agreement, U.S. District Judge Gina Groh suspended all but 30 days of 2 ½ year jail sentence, and placed Everett on five years’ probation. In their answer filed Nov. 4, 2011, Place and the Morgan County Commission denied he used excessive force when arresting Everett. Place is facing another civil rights lawsuit, filed last year by a Berkeley Springs woman who says she was falsely arrested when she questioned why her son was issued a traffic citation. Everett was represented by attorney John Bryan of Union.

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