A judge has ruled to dismiss a lawsuit affecting Richland County, North Dakota.
Tammy and John Sadek’s wrongful death, fraud and deceit suit against Richland County and Richland County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Weber was scheduled to be heard beginning July 15, 2019.
Judge Jay Schmitz, Southeast Judicial District, ordered Monday, May 20 that summary judgement be granted on the claims. Tammy Sadek responded though the Facebook page “Justice for Andrew Sadek.”
“We are disappointed and plan to appeal,” she wrote Tuesday, May 21.
Timothy O’Keefe, one of the Sadeks’ attorneys, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Tatum Lindbo, Fargo, also represents the Sadeks. Attorneys Corey Quinton and Tyler Carlson, Fargo, represent Richland County and Weber.
“My partner and I have always kept in mind from the beginning that this case involves the loss of a young life,” Quinton said. “There is just no evidence of what happened. We believe this is the correct legal result.”
A summary judgement is a decision made on the basis of statements and evidence presented in legal pleadings and documents filed. They are made without a trial.
The party moving for summary judgement has the burden of showing there are no genuine issues of material fact and that they are entitled to judgement as a matter of law, Schmitz wrote.
“One can speculate, almost endlessly,” Schmitz wrote. “The heart cries out for an answer to what happened to Andrew, but the mind searches the record in vain for that answer.”
Summary judgement was granted:
• on the fraud claims because it is impossible to rescind the parties’ contract and restore them to their original positions.
• on the fraud and deceit claims because the misrepresentation alleged in the complaint is not actionable as a matter of law.
• on the negligence claims because the plaintiffs cannot prove the essential element of proximate causation as a matter of law
“The stark reality of this case is that there is not, and perhaps can never be, any evidence of how, when, where, or why Andrew Sadek died,” Schmitz wrote.
Prior to his May 2014 disappearance in Wahpeton, Sadek was a first-year student at North Dakota State College of Science’s Wahpeton campus. He subsequently worked as an undercover drug informant following being detained for selling $80 worth of marijuana on campus.
In July 2014, Sadek was found dead in the Red River. There is no evidence of whether he died as a result of suicide, homicide or accident, Schmitz wrote.
Following his death, Sadek’s parents worked to craft what’s known as “Andrew’s Law,” providing increased standards for use of confidential informants. It was signed into law following the 65th North Dakota Legislative Assembly in 2017.
“Justice for Andrew Sadek” has received 5,794 likes as of Tuesday, May 21.
“It’s encouraging and uplifting,” Tammy Sadek said in June 2016. “Someday I think we’re going to have an answer, but I don’t know when.”
A trial would have been heard at the Stutsman County Courthouse in Jamestown, North Dakota. The lawsuit was initially set to be heard beginning April 20, 2018 in Jamestown. Attorneys for both sides said it would be difficult to find impartial jurors in Richland County, Daily News previously reported.
“The plaintiffs could elect to appeal this to the North Dakota Supreme Court,” Quinton said. “They have approximately 60 days from when the judgement is entered to do so.”
Judge Schmitz ordered Quinton and Carlson to submit a proposed judgement for dismissal.
“We’re hoping it will be entered in this week,” Quinton said. “We’re going to submit it and assume it will be satisfying.”