Carbondale insurer pays $85K over nursing home active shooter drill
Carbondale’s insurance is paying out $85,000 in a 2-year-old federal lawsuit claiming the town is partly liable for the false imprisonment of a nursing home employee in 2013.
Michelle Meeker, a nurse at Heritage Park Care Center at the time, asserts in the lawsuit she was unaware in October 2013 that her employer was partnering with the Carbondale Police Department for an active shooter drill at the facility.
So when an out-of-uniform police officer with a fake gun ordered her into a room, she said she was in fear for her life.
Meeker filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Denver in July 2014, seeking damages for unreasonable seizure, false imprisonment, excessive force, deprivation of liberty without due process and civil assault.
Her lawsuit named Carbondale, Police Chief Gene Schilling and Carbondale Police Officer Michael Zimmerman, the officer Meeker encountered during the drill, among the defendants.
About three weeks ago, Meeker and the town reached an $85,000 settlement to be paid by Carbondale’s insurance pool, Colorado Intergovernmental Risk Sharing Agency.
As part of the settlement, Schilling and Zimmerman were released from the lawsuit.
Town Attorney Mark Hamilton said Meeker’s case continues against Life Care Centers of America, which owns Heritage Park.
Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Heritage Park’s executive director, Robert Baker, and its human resources director and director of nursing.
“There was no admission of guilt on behalf of the town, and our insurance company was directly involved in the mediation,” Town Manager Jay Harrington wrote to the Post Independent.
Harrington declined further comment because of the ongoing litigation in the case, though it no longer involves the town.
Paula Greisen, a Denver attorney representing Meeker, did not return the Post Independent’s messages Thursday.
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Citing employee safety and cost effectiveness, the city will soon relocate the five departments currently housed in its Municipal Operations Center (MOC).