Friday, June 3, 2011

Pre-trial Deadline Approaching for Roloff Lawsuit vs Washington County



Some people have been inquiring about the status of the Roloff lawsuit vs Washington County.

The pre-trial deadline is in September. No trial date appears to have been set yet.

The suit was originally filed in November 2010 in state court, but was transfered to U.S District court and filed December 6th, 2010. Ironically, the series finale of Little People, Big World aired on December 6th.

For anyone unfamiliar with this story, the Roloffs are suing Washington County in the amount of $200,000 plus legal costs for "severe emotional distress" suffered by Amy Roloff. The Roloffs are also seeking an injunction "barring further unauthorized inspections".

The entire incident was filmed (in July 2010) and aired in an episode of Little People, Big World entitled "Little Noah".

The episode centered around Matt purchasing and transporting a large boat that resembled Noah's Ark to Roloff Farms as a pumpkin season attraction.

The Roloffs lawsuit claims that Washington County Building Inspector, John Wheeler, trespassed on their property. The Roloffs allege that he was acting on instructions from his supervisor and passed through numerous "No Trespassing" signs, passed a lock gate, and ignored a call box he could have used. The Roloffs state that Amy asked him for his identity and his disposable camera he was using to take pictures. Their suit states that Wheeler refused to identify himself or hand over the camera to Amy Roloff. He headed towards his county vehicle with Amy in pursuit as she called 911.

The Roloffs suits states "Amy Roloff noticed the county logo on Wheeler’s truck door and climbed in to identify Wheeler. The suit contends Wheeler “came into physical contact with plaintiff Amy Roloff and was pushing her off the seat and out of the truck”. He provided his business card before driving off."

The Roloffs lawsuit claims they have an increased sensitivity towards intruders due to their substantial celebrity. Their case notes other encounters where people have threatened to harm them and states the burglars have entered their home before.

Washington County has denied wrong doing in the case. They have stated that their primary goal is the safety of all county residents. They claim they received calls from neighbors about a large boat like structure on the Roloffs property and were concerned it could topple over and injure someone. That was the reason why Wheeler visited the property.

Washington County claims that the Roloffs previously gave Wheeler permission and access codes to enter the property to discuss construction with their contractors.

The county acknowledges that Wheeler stepped through a fence to take photos, but contend that the entry was limited to viewing the structure in an open field.

They state that the inspector complied when he was asked to leave the property and that Amy Roloff was physically aggressive with John Wheeler.

Matt and Amy Roloff had producing credits of this episode of Little People, Big World. Washington county have suggested that some details may have been omitted from the episode that aired.

The edited episode that was televised depicted Amy driving up to the inspector in her Mercedes asking "Does anybody know you're here? Can I have your name and card? I would like you to leave right now." The episode footage then shows Mr. Wheeler walking away from the vehicle without responding. Amy begins to yell "Excuse me, come here! Sir!" The inspector responded "I'm just getting off the property like I was asked."

Amy ran after Wheeler telling him that she wanted his camera and all the pictures he had taken. He said it was government property. Amy ran in front him, physically pushed him back and attempted to prevent him from walking by stepping in front him. This part of the video actually does show Amy Roloff physically pushing John Wheeler to prevent him from walking. The Roloff lawsuit states that Wheeler "came into physical contact with Amy" which refers to later when Amy climbed onto his lap in his vehicle as they battled over the driver seat. Washington County's response describes it as Amy being physically aggressive towards the inspector. On the show, while sitting in her car talking the television camera, a smiling Amy described herself as "Mother Bear" "when it comes to my kids and where I live".



She was heard repeatedly asking the Inspector for his name. He was not heard answering Amy's question. Amy called Matt on her phone as they were walking towards the vehicle to ask him if he knew the man was coming. She asked him for his name, he was only heard responding "Can I talk to Matt?" Amy said no, she is the owner of the property and the inspector was refusing to tell her his name.

When they reached an old gate where Wheeler's vehicle that was marked "Washington County Land Use and Transportation" was parked, Amy said "The gate is locked so how did you get it? There is even no trespassing signs". Wheeler responded "There is no sign on this gate." At which point, editors/producers then flashed to two "No Trespassing" and "No personal or professional photograps" signs that were actually posted on a different gate.

Amy prevented Wheeler from entering his vehicle on the driver said and said she was calling 911. He went around to the passenger door and attempted to move over to the driver's seat. At that point, Amy climbed in through the driver's seat and climbed onto Wheeler's lap. While in the vehicle, Amy was asking for his business card. He eventually gave it to her.




When police arrived and Amy told the police officer that the man had illegally entered their property, the officer said he understands that it wasn't illegal. Amy responded "So anybody can come onto our property anytime they please? The officer said the County Building Inspectors don't always notify people when they are coming because they don't want to let the people know when they'll be inspecting.

Matt has since said that it was the officer's response that "put them over the edge" and convinced them to sue.

For the record, the following is on the Washington County website regarding Health and Safety Inspections:


8.20.070 - Inspection - Right of entry

"The health officer or his authorized representative shall conduct such inspections as he deems necessary to insure compliance with all provisions of this chapter and shall have right of entry at any reasonable hour to investigate complaints and to insure abatement of nuisances as provided in this chapter."

On camera, when Matt arrived, he said "apparently there was a very big miscommunication and they know they've done something wrong." In his "barn bite" interview Matt said "They thought I was up to something illegal. They come out here and find he's just lifting a boat off a trailer -- oops."

The inspector John Wheeler was seen in the past on Little People, Big World. In the second season, he was the inspector that Matt dealt with regarding regulations on the height of the railings for their deck. In that episode, Matt and Amy were upset that the regulations would create an obstructed view on their own deck because of their dwarfism. The counter argument to that was that there are average height members of the Roloff family as well as friends and visitors and the railing requirements needed to be met to ensure safety for all. The inspector told Matt that the railing codes had been in the books for years and years. Matt responded that Little People have been discriminated against for years and years. Matt got around the regulations by throwing dirt underneath the deck which raised the height of the ground. Wheeler eventually approved that.

The inspector, shown here, years earlier in the Roloff home discussing
railing code regulations with Matt

Wendy Culverwell of the Portland Business Journal had the original story about the lawsuit and then Washington County's response:


28 comments:

Ashley said...

I don't understand some legal terms.

What is a "pre trial deadline"? What happens?

If it's not filed or ready to go it gets thrown out? Or does it mean at that point a trail date must be set?

Brandon said...

In my opinion, the inspector didn't do anything illegal.

The only thing that I can't understand what he did or why he didn't do it, was that he should have immediately told Amy that he was the building inspector from Washington County, gave his name (he could have also told her that he's been to the farm many times and has been in Amy's tv show....).

I don't understand why he didn't do that or hand her his business card as soon as she spotted him. The only thing I can say in his defense, is that Amy was fuming angry. She was not a rational person. When someone loses their temper on you, sometimes your response is to just want to exit the situation.

That's what I think he did wrong. He should have immediately told her his name and why he was there. Maybe he did and they edited it? But it wasn't illegal.

If that counts as a Health and Safety inspection, it was clearly during the afternoon, a reasonable hour.

Everything else about the incident, I think Amy was at fault.

The Roloffs lawsuit is ridiculous. You can see it in the wording. "Came into contact with Amy Roloff"....no kidding! Kind of hard to avoid that when someone is assaulting you, entering your vehicle and sitting on your lap.

Then again these are the Roloffs and you know how they are with lawsuits and court of law. All common sense goes out the window. The most ridiculous thing I've heard until the line about the inspector coming into physical contact with Amy, was in Matt's DUII trial when Matt's lawyer argued that the deputy was discriminating against Matt by not asking him to walk in a straight line. Man, could you imagine the response if the officer had told Matt to walk in a straight line??

All the stuff about intruders is ridiculous. Amy isn't so stupid that she didn't know he was an inspector and not rapist after Molly.

This whole incident shows Amy's true colors. I'm surprised she would proceed this far and draw attention to it. The actions of a nice Christian lady that preaches that you should judge others...

Laura said...

I'm not sure the Roloffs have enough of a case to win a lawsuit. I do think $200,000 for emotional distress is ridiculous and a money grab. I don't like lawsuits like that. Our country has got to get away from suing everybody every time you don't like how something went.

Having said that, I thought the inspector was very rude by not telling Amy who he was. Why would he only talk to Matt?

JimW said...

I'm usually on the Roloffs side, but this another example of the F&&^(D up sexism today.

The lawsuit that should have come out of this was the inspector suing Amy for assault.

Think I'm wrong?

Imagine for a second that the inspector was a woman and Jeremy was the Roloff involved.

Jeremy runs after her yelling, pushes her, prevents her from walking after telling her to leave. Got into her vehicle and sat on her in the driver's seat.

That would be one hell of a lawsuit against Jeremy and he would be branded as a woman abuser.

But when it's the woman being aggressive, nobody says a word.

Oregon Taxpayer said...

What a waste. Hopefully not another cent will be wasted by these whiny millionaire celebrities.

Justin said...

Amy is a moron. ""So anybody can come onto our property anytime they please?"

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhh...Amy? It's not "anybody". It's a government official.

There are always legal clauses that give the government rights to barge in our lives.

Vicky said...

I keep thinking that this lawsuit is an indictment of Amy's ability as a motivational speaker.

Who would want to hire a motivational speaker that is so emotionally devastated by what happened that day that she needs to $200,000 to make it all better? I think Amy needs a motivational speaker if she suffered emotional distress from that!

Expressed said...

I don't get why or how the inspector was able to be shown on television? Doesn't everybody need to sign the waiver? Does being on the show mean he signed the waiver?

Why would you let the person you had the dispute with produce and edit it to the world?

Ashley said...

Expressed, I wondered about that too, but I think maybe they have signs posted on the gate that entering means you agree to be filmed. I think they do that for pumpkin season. They did it at stores too. I remember someone in Hillsboro saying they went to go in Fred Meyer but there was a notice on the window saying LPBW was filming and by entering you agree to being shown. The person left and went somewhere else :)

Betty said...

The Roloffs have no respect for other people. They only thing they care about are themselves and getting easy money.

Christians? Jesus is ashamed. I'm sure of it.

Carol said...

After remembering how Amy reacted in that situation (she was brutal) maybe we should have guessed that her kid would have been kicked out of school less than a year later.

Amy and Matt are setting the example. Kids emulate what they see their parents do.

Nancy said...

I don't think it would be legal for the County to agree to not perform further inspections.

If someone gets hurt by one of the Roloffs structures, the county could also be held accountable because they are supposed to be ensuring safety.

Don't forget, two people were almost killed by a Roloff structure. It just happened to be their own son and their good friend. The county needs to be pro-active with the Roloffs.

Rap541 said...

JimW - We don't normally agree but I do agree with you fully on this.

Had Jeremy or Mueller or Camerino behaved this way to a female inspector, particularly the jump in the car to prevent someone from leaving? Yeah, the cop called probably would have at least given the homeowner a stern talking to. Heck, even if it had been a male inspector vs a male average height Roloff, its still looks a lot like assault.

DJ said...

I wonder why the inspector didn't sue or at least counter sue since he was named? He should. I agree. I think Amy did assault him.

She got away with it because of her size.

Vic Rattlehead said...

How ironic it is that I just finished reading a story on Yahoo News about a lady in Philadelphia who is frivolously suing Dunkin' Donuts because an employee made an honest mistake and put real sugar in her coffee instead of the fake chemical soup that is splenda and it caused her to have a mild diabetic episode that required her to spend an hour at the hospital and get an extra insulin shot.

Then I come here and read about the Roloff's equally sleazy attempt at stealing cash from the tax payers of Washington County Oregon just because they're too damned lazy to go out and get real jobs.

Matt & Amy have become sleazy professional victims.

Podge/Rodge groupie said...

I would like to present another perspective of DJ's issue. Because of the claims made by the complainants ("came into contact") (entering the vehicle) could it possibly be proven or considered, that Amy didn't just get away with it, but was USING her size to gain an unfair advantage? Remember the Eiffel Tower line-up? Matt blatantly claimed he was going to "use the system" to jump the line. This was gaining an unfair advantage for the averaged height children in the family, who could easily have waited in line without physical consequences. Amy, if I remember, wasn't to keen to the idea, even for the other half of the family. Any thoughts?

Jocelynn said...

PodgeRodge, the line cutting bothered me. In Amy's on camera interview she said that she didn't like using her disability to her advantage. However, she certainly didn't object to the entire family bypassing all the other people that were there before them that were waiting their turns. To me, that makes Amy's words about not wanting to use her disability to her advantage empty and meaningless.

Then Amy said that Matt did what he did for the kids and the kids had a great time. At that point, my positive feelings for the Roloffs were gone. I hope the families with kids that did need to wait hours for their turn, that didn't use the system, had a great time. Not the celebrities that use that use the system because they think their time is more valuable than everyone else.

That series of events really opened my eyes about the Roloffs.

Sandie said...

Amy's face says it all (the picture of her sitting on his lap): pure arrogance.

Christine said...

Sandie, I totally agree about Amy's arrogance. I think the entire family is out of control with monstrous egos and arrogance. They think rules and laws don't apply to them.

Joanne said...

Amy had every right to question this guy and to tell him to get off her property. Seriously people, if this guy did this to you and your property you may think differently.
He was up to no good and wouldnt even answer her questions!
I hope they get the full amount in the lawsuit.

Brandon said...

Up to no good? Ridiculous. He's the building safety inspector whose job it is to investigate these things.

They were investigating an odd looking structure that could have been unstable on a property that has in the past had structures that nearly killed persons.

Perhaps if Amy gets some counselling to control her rage and the way she approaches people she would get a different response. Acting like a crazed lunatic is not the recommended way of dealing with people.

Rap541 said...

Joanne - Amy had every right to tell the guy to get off his property. What Amy doesn't have a right to do is tell the guy to get off her property and *then attempt to detain him*.

She doesn't have a right to physically jump on his lap in his car. Jim W - who is hardly anti-Roloff - has made a very good point. A male homeowner being belligrent and getting into a female inspector's car and attempting to physically restrain her would have been arrested, not praised for being a brave daddy bear defending his land.

Now was the inspector rude? Yes. Was he there for no reason? Maybe, but I suspect Washington County would have settled if the inspector had been on some rogue mission.

Up to no good? Again, *maybe* but if Matt and Amy legitmately believe a stalker is out to rape Molly and burglars have been inside their home (stealing stuff, I guess) then it seems odd they gave the access codes and permission to access to John Wheeler, evil inspector up to no good.

If this happened to me? Honestly? So I find the building inspector who has been to my property before, and who I previously have given access codes to my security system to facilitate his inspections, looking at the new structure I just deposited in a field near my barns.

I get annoyed when he won't tell me why he's there. I tell him to leave, and he immediately begins walking to the edge of the property. I watch him, and I call the county and file a report with his supervisor on how he was rude and wouldn't explain why he was there.

I don't get in front of him and physically place myself between him and the property edge I *just told him to get to*. I don't demand his property. I certainly might call 911 if I don't believe he's with the county (although if I don't think he's with the county, I am probably not going to play physical games with him) I certainly don't jump in his car to prevent him from leaving and I certainly don't sit on his lap and then cry about how he assaulted me.

If I have called the cops, then I take down his plate number and I don't jump in his car and sit on him even if I am a little person because thats technically assault and while I have the right to be angry that he was on my property, if I tell him to leave and *he does*, I don't legally have the right to follow him and assault him.

I seriously and I mean *seriously* doubt the law says "if someone steps on your property, and you tell them to leave, and they do, you still legally have the right to slap them around, and maybe kill them because no one ever ever has the right to step on your land".

In fact, I am pretty sure the law doesn't say that at all

Vic Rattlehead said...

Joanne:

Amy was being an unreasonable jerk who wouldn't let the inspector get a word in edgewise to explain what he was doing.

The inspector is a government employee who is charged with making sure EVERYONE abides by state building and safety codes because violations of those codes CAN AND DO KILL PEOPLE.

Amy doesn't deserve one red cent from the county and should be ashamed of herself for carrying on like a spoiled child.

I hope the county wins and the Roloffs are forced to pay not only their court costs and legal fees but the counties as well.

BeckyM said...

I just thank the stars I am not a Roloff neighbor. His property looks more junky by the day.

Donna said...

Matt and Amy Roloff are both narcissistic idiots, and I have no respect for either of them. Amy and the county inspector both acted badly that day, but Amy's actions were much worse, IMO, due to the fact that she prevented the inspector from doing what she asked him to do (leave the premises) by plopping her fat ass in his lap so he COULDN'T leave! How crazy is that? Matt and Amy are sue-happy, hoping for another easy dollar. I hope they lose the lawsuit and have to compensate the county for all of the crap that the Roloffs have put them through ever since they've had that red-neck punkin' farm.

Donna said...

Let me add one more thing:
I believe that Matt knew that the inspector was coming to the farm and he just failed to tell Amy about it. That's why the inspector kept wanting to talk to Matt on the phone. Matt never informed Amy of ANYTHING until AFTER the fact.

LawStudent1stYear said...

Reading this long after the date and in one lump, it sure seems as if this group got together to have a hatefest against the Roloffs. Sounds like a bunch of people who wanted something to go wrong for Little People who led big lives. Especially amazing is Nancy's remarks expressing a desire that the County be "proactive about the Roloffs." Wow - that kind of prejudice is so overtly Fascist - seriously, how unAmerican can a person get than to ignore, utterly and completely, the whole idea of property rights? Generations died to secure the liberties these nosey, jealous canards this thread trumpets. A government inspector who sneaks through a gate to investigate what anyone with an IQ higher than room temperature would recognize as a BOAT - what kind of stupidity are you guys fomenting?

WOW.

Rap541 said...

LawStudent - you know that the Roloffs lost, right? :)

And appealed. And lost.

Not sure if they are planning to go to the Supreme Court.

If you really are a law student, then I recommend you head over to pacer.gov and read thru the case and the appeal. The Roloffs were never able to their claims that the county was out to get them. Mind you... for someone with no interest, reading it long after the fact, your pointed comments about a group of people having a hatefest on the poor put upon Roloffs is interesting.

The Roloffs have had two opportunities now to actually prove their claims. Is the 9th Court of Appeals and the local Oregon court also part of the conspiracy to hate on little people living big lives? Do you believe both courts the Roloffs took this to are filled with hate for the Roloffs?

I mean, is it really that impossible, that the Roloffs weren't right? Seems to me they were accorded every opportunity to prove their claims and didn't.

Seems to me the Roloffs often take the attitude of "Let me have my way and if you disagree, you must be prejudiced!" a LOT.

They didn't win this one. Does that mean the judges were just hating dwarfs? I mean, I've read the court docs and frankly its very clear that they had no evidence of the conspiracy they were claiming and also tend to exaggerate their many woes (their dramatic break in where they whined for years about how worried they were about their privacy but just can't recall if anyone ever called the police, for example)... Do the Roloffs ever have to prove their many many claims of discrimination?

Or is it, they are little so whenever anything goes wrong, they always can cry they're the victims of hate?

I mean, at the end of the day, it's not the people who post here who decided this court case so when it comes to the question of property rights, you really should direct your anger at the Oregon District Court and the 9th District Court of Appeals... both of whom decided the Roloffs didn't have their rights violated.

As a law student, shouldn't you know that?