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County Replies To Piocos’ Lawsuit Claim

Roosevelt County has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit from former county attorney Frank Piocos. The suit seeks declaratory relief and claims the county didn’t have authority to remove him from office.

The response for the county comes from the Great Falls’ law firm of Smith, Oblander, Meade and Mitcham and is paid through the Montana Association of Counties.

The respondents’ belief is relying on two recent court decisions: Downs v. Piocos in the Montana Supreme Court and Christoffersen v. Roosevelt County.

The respondents note that in the Supreme Court case, Piocos did not raise the issue of ongoing entitlement to salary for a position he was not working.

The reply also noted that Piocos’ appeal in the Downs’ matter took longer than 85 days to resolve the conclusion.

In addition, the Christoffersen matter occurred just weeks after the Montana Supreme Court determined that Piocos wasn’t qualified to hold the office of county attorney and therefore affirmed Bidegaray’s voiding the election.

“These decisions render this action now moot,” the county’s attorneys argued.

The reply also noted that Piocos wishes to have his salary reinstated although he is not working in the position nor qualified to hold the position.

“Piocos’s remedy, if he wishes to hold the position of Roosevelt County attorney, is to run for the position in the next upcoming election.”

Smith, Oblander, Meade and Mitcham writes that dismissal is proper because this matter has been rendered moot by two decisions in two different matters. “Roosevelt County may have only one county attorney and the person holding that office currently is Christoffersen.”

Judge Michael G. Moses is presiding over the case.

Piocos, who is being represented by Phillip J. DeFelice, has argued, “The District Court voided the election but did not remove petitioner from office.” The action noted 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 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.

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