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MailTribune.com
  • Damages sought in 2012 Medford shooting

  • A multimillion-dollar wrongful death lawsuit was filed Monday against the federal government for the 2012 shooting death of a 20-year-old Medford man in the parking lot of a west Medford supermarket.
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  • A multimillion-dollar wrongful death lawsuit was filed Monday against the federal government for the 2012 shooting death of a 20-year-old Medford man in the parking lot of a west Medford supermarket.
    James "Jimmy" Georgeson was shot three times in the head and once through the heart on Jan. 5, 2012, by deputies of the U.S. Marshals Service after he allegedly tried to ram them with his vehicle to thwart his arrest outside Albertsons at 113 N. Ross Lane.
    The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Medford by plaintiffs Karly Greico, on behalf of the estate of Georgeson, and Kaiden Haight, who was a passenger in Georgeson's vehicle when he was killed, the complaint states.
    Greico is Georgeson's younger sister, and Haight was his best friend and passenger when he was killed, said Eugene-based lawyer David Moule, who is representing the plaintiffs.
    Greico is seeking $1.5 million in damages for "pain, anguish, mental distress, depression, lost income and loss of familial companionship," the complaint states.
    Haight is seeking $1.2 million for damages of "pain, anguish, mental distress and lost income, and aggravation of prior psychological and physical conditions," and personal injuries, the complaint states.
    A Jackson County grand jury determined that the deputy marshals' use of deadly force against Georgeson was justified, but Moule said he believes Georgeson's family and Haight have a good case.
    The tactics used by the deputy marshals to capture Georgeson, who was trapped in his Dodge Durango in the busy Albertsons parking lot at about 5:15 p.m., were never put in question before the grand jury, said Jackson County Deputy District Attorney David Hoppe, who oversaw the grand jury investigation in 2012.
    Following the grand jury's use-of-force finding, Hoppe said the fatal encounter lasted approximately 30 seconds. The deputies, he said, attempted to box Georgeson's vehicle into a parking space, but he threw his sport-utility vehicle into reverse, hitting the supermarket near its main entrance.
    At that point at least one of the deputies had jumped from his car, weapon drawn, video surveillance footage showed.
    According to Hoppe, deputies had ordered Georgeson to exit his vehicle when he attempted to flee.
    The first of about 20 shots was fired just after Georgeson hit the building and sped forward past a deputy who was on foot, Hoppe said.
    Georgeson then hit one of the marshals' vehicles before throwing his SUV into reverse one more time and striking another marshal's car, Hoppe said.
    As Georgeson's vehicle was moving, the deputies fired into the SUV, Hoppe said.
    "We think they could have done this in a way that nobody had to die," Moule said. "It seems completely unnecessary that anybody had to die. This was not a violent offender with weapons or anything like that. It was someone that simply failed to show up for drug treatment."
    Georgeson was wanted for violating the conditions of his probation on a 2010 conviction in U.S. District Court for assaulting a deputy marshal in June 2009 in Talent. Georgeson was to be incarcerated after he ignored a November 2011 federal court order requiring him to remain in an inpatient drug-treatment program, court records show.
    "(Marshals' deputies) claimed that they felt they were in danger and that he was using his vehicle as a weapon, but we don't believe that. He was a runner, but he wasn't trying to run into anybody, he was just trying to get away," Moule said. "We just think that (the deputies) were negligent."
    Greico and Haight did not respond to Facebook messages seeking comment for this story.
    Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or swheeler@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/swhlr.
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