An Enterprise couples multi-million-dollar lawsuit against Wallowa County Sheriff Fred Steen and Wallowa County now includes sheriffs office informant Lloyd Trackwell Jr. as a defendant.
Bruce and Venese Hampton filed suit against Steen and the county March 15 in U.S. District Court in Pendleton, alleging that Steen, Trackwell, and Wallowa County Commissioner Paul Castilleja had conspired to interfere in the plaintiffs economic relationships, among other claims. The complaint also seeks damages for defamation.
Neither Trackwell nor Castilleja was named individually as a defendant in the March 15 filing, however. On May 29 the Hamptons filed an amended complaint that added Trackwell to the named defendants.
The defense, which faced a June 22 deadline to respond to the original claim, was granted an extension to July 6 after the claim was amended. Portland attorney Steve Kraemer represents Steen and the county. Another Portland attorney, Kevin Sali, represents the plaintiffs.
Along with the Hamptons themselves, two charitable trusts the couple established are also named as plaintiffs.
The complaints allegations of interference primarily concern the Hamptons real estate holdings and deals the couple was working on with with private conservation organizations, government agencies, real estate firms, a bank, and other entities. It alleges a number of instances in which Trackwell contacted business associates of the Hamptons to tell these associates falsely, according to the complaint that the couple hadnt been paying their debts and had committed crimes.
Beyond adding Trackwell to the defendants list, the amended complaint makes other changes. Its factual background section states that a Wallowa County sheriffs deputy, Donovan Shaw, while acting as a courtroom deputy for the Wallowa County Circuit Court, failed to assure that Trackwell came no closer than 15 feet to plaintiff Bruce Hampton in the courtroom as required by a Final Stalking Protective Order and Judgment entered against Trackwell, a new allegation. Shaw also refused the court clerks request that he sit behind Trackwell in the courtroom, the admended complaint adds.
The plaintiffs updated filing also reworks the claim for damages, which now total approximately $12.3 million, up from around $10.1 million in the original filing.