County shoots for lawsuit settlement

The lawsuit filed by the Denver Health and Hospital Authority against the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office for the cost of treating a man shot by police appears to be heading toward a settlement.

After Zachary Sullivan was shot several times by police in March 2011 he was airlifted to a Denver Hospital where he was treated for his wounds; afterward, the county was hit with a $158,000 lawsuit to cover the treatment costs.

In a brief telephonic conference on Friday with attorneys for both sides, the attorney representing the Denver Health and Hospital Authority, told District Court Judge Todd Plewe that a mediation schedule has been arranged with the county for Dec. 7.

The county’s attorney told Plewe that a few other things had changed since their last court appearance in September.

The county once considered bringing in the city of Cortez as a third party to the lawsuit since a Cortez Police officer was among the two officers who shot Sullivan after he pointed a gun at them.

The attorney for the county told Plewe that they have been advised by their client to not bring in the city as a third party, which is something the Montezuma County Commission addressed a few months ago.

The attorney also said a cross complaint had been filed against Sullivan but had not heard back from him and asked for a default judgment against him, which Plewe granted.

Plewe set the trial between the county and the hospital authority for April 22 in case a settlement or agreement had not been reached by then.

Plewe said both sides needed to submit the case managements and scheduled a readiness conference for the trial for Feb. 28.

“It sounds like things are moving forward with the attorneys,” Plewe said.

Sullivan was recently sentenced to 48 years in prison after being convicted of attempted murder and several other crimes related to the March 2011 incident.

michaelm@cortezjournal.com