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Deal to avoid Lunsford lawsuit in jeopardy

Sheriff Jeff Dawsy offered to sit down and talk to Lunsford about improving policies for finding missing children only if Lunsford agrees to drop the potential lawsuit.

STEPHEN J. CODDINGTON | Times

Sheriff Jeff Dawsy offered to sit down and talk to Lunsford about improving policies for finding missing children only if Lunsford agrees to drop the potential lawsuit.

A potential resolution to the threat of a lawsuit from Mark Lunsford against the Citrus County Sheriff's Office appears to be dissolving into a pitched public relations battle.

The Sheriff's Office released a letter from a mediating attorney Wednesday in which Sheriff Jeff Dawsy offered to sit down and talk to Lunsford about improving policies for finding missing children only if Lunsford agrees to drop the potential lawsuit. The letter gave Lunsford until 5 p.m. Friday to respond.

Lunsford's attorney, Eric Block, said he is unwilling to comply with those terms, which he deemed absurd. By day's end, Block responded with a counter offer: Meet 1 p.m. Friday at his firm's offices in Jacksonville. If the sheriff agrees to acknowledge mistakes in the investigation, they won't seek damages in a civil claim. Block said he was angered the sheriff would released normally privileged settlement negotiations and did not want to comment further.

A spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office said it had not received notice about a potential meeting. The back-and-forth, done largely through the media, left the situation unresolved.

Deal to avoid Lunsford lawsuit in jeopardy 03/26/08 [Last modified: Friday, March 28, 2008 1:42pm]
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