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Lawyer Sues Dennis Milligan Over Shoving Match

2 min read

LITTLE ROCK – A Little Rock attorney filed a civil lawsuit against the Arkansas state treasurer Monday over a disagreement last month that turned into a shoving match.

The suit filed by Luther Sutter in Pulaski County Circuit Court, alleging assault, does not ask for monetary damages. Instead it asks a judge to say Sutter didn’t start the fight and acted in self-defense when he shoved Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan on Feb. 9.

On that day, Sutter was set to depose Milligan’s wife, Tina, as part of a federal lawsuit by David Singer, a former treasurer’s office employee who filed a federal lawsuit against Milligan and his chief of staff alleging defamation related to his firing.

Sutter, who represents Singer, was on his cellphone as he entered the deposition and used a curse word. Sutter said he apologized to Milligan’s wife, who heard it. A physical altercation between Milligan and Sutter ensued, although the two have different accounts of who started the shoving.

Milligan called the Little Rock Police Department after the fracas and filed a police report. He was advised to seek charging documents from the prosecutor’s office if he wished to press charges for assault.

Both Milligan and Sutter gave statements to the prosecutor’s office investigator, and both were given the necessary documents to seek charges. Prosecutor Larry Jegley said earlier this month that both men had decided not to seek criminal charges against each other.

“I thought the attorneys had persuaded Mr. Sutter and Mr. Milligan to put their differences aside and respect the process, but without having seen the lawsuit, it appears I was mistaken,” Jegley said Monday.

Sutter said he filed the civil lawsuit because Milligan’s behavior needed to be addressed.

“Mr. Milligan continues to use taxpayer money to further his own personal interest. Today this stops. Today I have given Mr. Milligan a forum to settle his dispute with me,” Sutter wrote in a statement forwarded by his law firm. “I have filed suit seeking no money, but a declaratory judgment seeking justice- justice for everyone he has ever berated, cussed and threatened.”

Milligan’s attorney Byron Freeland said in an emailed statement the lawsuit was an attempt to “politically smear” Milligan.

“Mr. Sutter has seen the recent filings that the defendants have made, and the plaintiff’s weak case continues to fall apart. It is unfortunate Mr. Sutter chose this path, because this was a dead issue and all parties have agreed to move on. The defendants will continue to focus on resolving this case as quickly as possible,” Freeland wrote.

Sutter said Freeland’s statement that there was an agreement to move on is “false.”

As of Monday afternoon, Milligan had not filed a response to the lawsuit in circuit court.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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