Lawsuit Against Valley City Dismissed

A $25,000 lawsuit against the City of Valley City has been dismissed.
The lawsuit, filed in small claims court by Nathan Preston and Jeanine Russell earlier this summer, was dismissed by Judge Jay Schmitz on Sept. 1, on the grounds that it was an inappropriate forum for a constitutional issue and that it exceeded the monetary limits of small claims court, which is set at $15,000.
The lawsuit was filed by Preston and Russell after a June 28 incident when Preston fired several shots with a handgun at two pit bull dogs at his home near Main Street in Valley City. Preston said in an earlier interview he fired the shots because he feared for the lives of himself and his girlfriend.
After the incident, police confiscated two guns from the couple, the gun Preston claimed to have used, and another that was present at the time of the incident. The lawsuit claimed that Preston and Russell's civil rights were violated.
According to Valley City City Attorney Russell Myhre in a press release, the handguns are part of an ongoing investigation and that charges against Preston related to the incident are pending.
The Valley City Police Department followed proper procedures when officers confiscated the weapons because they were considered evidence in a criminal investigation, Myhre said.
"When property is seized a evidence in a crime, it is held until the case has been resolved either by trial, dismissal or other disposition. The only instance where evidence is not returned to the owner occurs when the evidence consists of contraband such as illegal drugs, illegal weapons or is otherwise held for forfeiture," Myhre said,
Myhre noted that the lawsuit did not ask for the return of the firearms, only for $25,000.
The criminal case against Preston was remanded to district court for a jury trial. A trial date has not been set.

Read this story in Thursday's Times-Record.