KOSCIUSKO — A complaint and jury demand filed by Atta Belle Helman and Lary Dwayne Helman against Barnett’s Bail Bonds Inc., The Papers Inc. Stacey Staley and bond recovery agents: Tadd S. Martin, Daniel S. Foster and Michael C. Thomas is moving forward. The matter was filed on June 6 in Kosciusko Circuit Court.
The suit stems from the death of Atta Helman’s son and Larry Helman’s twin brother, Gary Helman, on Aug. 25, 2014.
Attorneys for each of the defendants in the complaint have filed appearances, asked for and granted extension of time to respond. Several of the defendants have filed motions to dismiss or responded to the allegations.
Counsel for The Papers Inc. filed a motion on Aug. 9, to dismiss the matter, with a memorandum of law in support of the motion to dismiss and proposed order. Counsel for the Helmans were granted an enlargement of time, until Sept. 26, to respond to the motion to dismiss.
Counsel for Staley filed a joinder to The Papers Inc.’s motion to dismiss, in which the plaintiffs were given to Sept. 26, to file any response.
Counsel for Tadd S. Martin and Barnett Bail Bonds have filed answers and affirmative defenses to the complaints against their clients.
Documents show Jay Rigdon, counsel for Barnett’s Bail Bonds Inc., states all actions of the parties on or about the day in question, specifically Martin, Foster or Thomas were reasonable exercise of the right of self-defense, and Barnett’s raise the defense of injuries caused by Gary Helman. It also raises the defense of qualified immunity due to a legal arrest.
The response by Clint Zalas, attorney for Martin, states at all times Martin was justified in using reasonable force to defend himself from what he believed to be the imminent use of unlawful force by the plaintiffs against him, the plaintiffs conspired to and assisted in the harboring, concealing and/or hindering the apprehension of Gary Helman and that Gary Helman was a fugitive from justice. Zalas states Martin is immune from civil liability because at all times relevant he was executing a warrant for the arrest of Helman as a recovery agent and the plaintiffs’ claimed injuries were caused in part or in whole by Gary Helman. He is requesting a trial by jury.
The counts in the complaint are: negligence against all defendants, and individually against Barnett’s and The Papers; trespass against Martin, Foster and Thomas as agents of Barnetts; residential entry, intimidation and battery to Atta Helman and battery to Larry Helman against Martin.
All defendants are being accused of negligence in Count I. The Papers’ involvement is due to the fact Staley was acting as an employee or agent of The Papers, liable for her actions. It is stated in the complaint Staley “owed a duty” to the Helmans to exercise reasonable and ordinary care when using information obtained while at the home. Staley, according to documents, was negligent and breached her duty of reasonable care by providing information to civilian bounty hunters in anticipation of and/or in hope of a violent confrontation.
The document states as a direct, proximate and foreseeable result of the negligent actions of Staley, Atta Helman suffered painful injures, she provided information to the bounty hunters, hoping to “boost her notoriety and/or the notoriety and readership of The Papers by being the first reporter on the scene of a violent confrontation.” Documents allege Staley provided information to the bounty hunters in exchange for the first or exclusive interview with the bounty hunters in order to boost her notoriety and/or notoriety and readership of The Papers.
Documents also allege Staley, as an employee and/or agent of The Papers, provided information to Martin to induce Martin to confront Gary W. Helman and she expected to receive exclusive access to Barnett’s agents for a new story in exchange for information on Helman. Documents also state she anticipated a confrontation and remained near the residence during the attempted apprehension, so that she could be first on the scene after the confrontation.
The Papers, is listed under a negligence claim in Count III. This accusation states at all relevant times The Papers owed a duty to Larry and Atta Helman to hire, train and supervise its employees and agents, including Staley, to exercise reasonable and ordinary care when using information obtained through the course of employment while in the home of Atta Helman.
Further documentation states The Papers and its employees and/or agents were negligent and breached this duty by failing to train and supervise adequately agents and/or employees it hired, selected or directed to perform news reporter services on behalf of The Papers. As a direct, proximate and foreseeable result of the negligent actions of The Papers, Larry Helman and Atta Helman both suffered severe and permanent injuries.