Piocos Files Suit Against County
Former Roosevelt County employee Frank Piocos filed a lawsuit against the county last week. The action seeks declaratory relief and claims the county didn’t have authority to remove him from office.
District judge Katherine Bidegaray ruled in February that Piocos wasn’t an eligible candidate after Wolf Point resident Darla Downs claimed that Piocos wasn’t qualified to assume the office of county attorney because he falsely registered as an elector of Roosevelt County.
Piocos, who is being represented by Phillip J. DeFelice, argues “The District Court voided the election but did not remove petitioner from office.”
The action notes that the court didn’t issue an ouster order or a removal order. On Feb. 3, the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, at the direction of county commissioners, physically removed Piocos and his belongings from the county attorney’s office.
The complaint against the county from Piocos reads, “Although directing law enforcement to physically remove petitioner and withholding his salary is effective and happens in third world countries - it’s not the process in Montana.”
Piocos is demanding a jury trial takes place. Piocos is looking for a judgment to acknowledge he was not lawfully removed as county attorney, having his salary reinstated, having his salary paid from Feb. 4 to the present, having attorney’s fees paid and other supplemental relief.
The county has 21 days to issue a reply for the court.
In September, Piocos lost an appeal to the Montana Supreme Court regarding the ruling that he wasn’t an eligible candidate in the 2022 election. Chief Justice Mike Mc-Grath concluded, “Sections 13-1-111 through -113, MCA, are the appropriate statues to evaluate residency for qualifications of a county office under 7-42201(3), MCA. The District Court had substantial, credible evidence to support a finding that Piocos was not a resident of Roosevelt County for voting purposes on Nov. 8, 2022.”