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Documents filed in Osceola County civil suit

SIBLEY, Iowa -- Attorneys representing former Osceola County Deputy Daniel Minton filed a brief Thursday supporting resistance to Osceola County Sheriff Doug Weber's motion to strike several paragraphs from Minten's original complaint.

In January, Minten filed a civil suit against Weber, requesting relief in the form of punitive damages, attorney costs and lost wages. Minten, who had served 21 years with the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, felt the termination from his position for insubordination was in violation of his First Amendment rights.

According to the complaint, Minten had stated his willingness to testify at an unrelated civil suit against Weber to the plaintiff's daughter during a traffic stop.

He was later terminated for insubordination, and when he filed for unemployment benefits, Weber allegedly challenged those benefits.

In early February, Weber's attorneys filed a document stating the insubordination charge was not for offering to testify, but for a continuing pattern of poor performance and unprofessional behavior, including alleged citizen complaints, anger control issues and submitting false reports.

Weber's attorneys also requested that several paragraphs of Minten's complaint be stricken -- specifically the paragraphs that state there was a dispute over unemployment compensation, that Minten is currently receiving unemployment compensation and that his termination resulted in an article in a local Iowa newspaper stating Weber's cited reason for the firing was insubordination.

The motion to strike the paragraphs was originally denied by Chief Magistrate Judge Paul Zoss because no brief was attached, as is required by law.

The motion was then refilled within two weeks with a brief attached.

The brief states the unemployment hearing and how it was subsequently reported in the local news media has no bearing on the substance of Minten's claim and has no bearing on the outcome.

"The statements regarding the employment dispute are simply not relevant to the current litigation, and not responsive to the relevant issues involved in the case and should be stricken from the complaint," the document states. "(The paragraphs) are impertinent to the current litigation, as they are not responsive to the material to the underlying cause of action."

Minten's brief resisting the motion to strike states Weber dismissed Minten as retaliation because of the offer to testify on an issue of public concern, and any submission of Weber in an administrative proceeding, report or agency decision that touches upon the rationale of the dismissal is material.

"Whether it is admissible as evidence at the time of trial is an entirely different matter," the brief states.

Much of the brief reads as if its intention is to instruct Weber's attorneys -- and possibly the judge -- on how a civil proceeding is supposed to unfold.

"Sheriff Weber may protest the allegations -- as he will -- he should recall that the complaint by definition is an adversarial document, and allegations will almost always be drafted to paint the opposing party in an unfavorable light," the document states. "But, weighing the allegations against the probative value of evidentiary matters is for another time -- after the record is complete."