Judge Dismisses Most Of Lawsuit Filed By Trooper Who Was Shot 12 Times
Portland, OR – A bulk of the $30 million lawsuit that an Oregon state trooper filed against the Washington County 911 Center after he was shot 12 times has been dismissed by a federal judge.
Oregon State Police Trooper Nicholas Cederberg and his wife, Portland Police Bureau Officer Hayley Shelton, filed the lawsuit against the Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency (WCCCA) on Nov. 26, 2018.
In the lawsuit, Trooper Cederberg said that 911 dispatchers failed to provide him with “critical information” they had regarding the suspect, James Tylka, when they put out an “attempt to locate” on him on Dec. 25, 2016, KOIN reported.
The Washington County 911 Center completely omitted “critical information that Mr. Tylka had just killed his wife and was armed and suicidal,” according to the lawsuit.
Tylka ultimately attempted to execute Trooper Cederberg, who suffered 12 gunshot wounds and permanent disabilities as a result of the attack.
On Sept. 7, federal Judge Marco Hernandez ruled that the government entities could not be held liable for Trooper Cederberg’s injuries, because the dispatchers had only omitted information and did not intend to harm him, KOIN reported.
“[In] order to establish that the WCCCA Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a known or obvious danger to Cederberg, they must allege that the WCCCA Defendants recognized an unreasonable risk and actually intended to subject Cederberg to that risk,” Hernandez said.
“The facts didn’t match what the law requires, basically,” WCCCA’s attorney, David Lewis, told KOIN.
Trooper Cederberg learned that police were looking for Tylka at approximately 10:40 a.m. on Christmas Day, 2016.
Roughly nine minutes later, he spotted Tylka’s white Mitsubishi, and notified dispatchers that he was in pursuit.
Trooper Cederberg said that if dispatchers had made him aware that Tylka was a suicidal homicide suspect, he would not have followed him alone “down Gimm Lane, a narrow, dark and relatively isolated rural dead-end road,” according to the lawsuit.
Tylka ultimately slammed his Mitsubishi into Trooper Cederberg’s patrol vehicle, while simultaneously opening fire on him.
Trooper Cederberg was hit 12 times during the attack.
“It appears that Tylka fired the last few rounds while standing directly over Trooper Cederberg,” The Washington County District Attorney noted, according to KOIN.
Additional officers arrived at the scene and returned fire, hitting Tylka approximately 20 times.
The gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, KVAL reported.
Trooper Cederberg suffered life-threatening injuries during the attack, and remained hospitalized for 48 days.
Although he has undergone 21 surgeries, his recovery is not over, KPTV reported.
At least one bullet remains lodged at the base of his spine, and bullet fragments from six gunshot wounds remain in his left arm, according to KOIN.
In addition to his permanent disabilities, Trooper Cederberg has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The suit further alleged that a Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputy failed to perform his duty a month before the attack, when he neglected to arrest Tylka for a domestic violence offense, KOIN reported.
The series of events that led up to the Christmas Day shooting began on Nov. 29, 2016, when the suspect’s estranged wife, Katelynn Tylka, called 911 to report that her husband was threatening to kill her and her new boyfriend.
Katelynn provided an unnamed Washington County deputy with text and voice messages from Tylka, but the deputy failed to arrest Tylka even though he had probable cause to do so, the lawsuit alleged.
The day after Katelynn reported the death threats, Tylka intentionally overdosed on insulin in a suicide attempt.
He was taken to Legacy Meridian Park Hospital, and an officer asked medical personnel to place him under a mental health hold.
“[The doctor] called the King City Police Department to complain about Mr. Tylka being brought to the emergency room…and stated that the circumstances ‘sounded like a criminal matter,’” the lawsuit said.
The doctor released Tylka from the hospital later that night.
The only portion of the lawsuit that has not been dismissed is the allegation against Legacy Meridian Park Hospital, KOIN reported.
The hospital’s attorneys have argued that the doctor who treated Tylka acted “with appropriate clinical judgement,” and that the lawsuit should be dismissed entirely, KOIN reported.
Trooper Cederberg was seeking $18 million for future pain and suffering and $2 million for past and current pain and suffering.
His wife and full-time caregiver, Officer Shelton, was seeking $10 million in damages.
“Trooper Cederberg acted heroically on the evening of December 25th, 2016,” Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett said in a statement to KOIN in 2018. “We recognize the sacrifices he made to protect our community that night, and the sacrifices he has made throughout his career.”
“We continue to send our best wishes to Trooper Cederberg and his family,” Sheriff Garrett said.
In May, Trooper Cederberg was awarded the Medal of Valor by President Donald Trump during a ceremony at the White House, the Mail Tribune reported.
“It’s not necessarily even the events that happened that night, it’s the grit, the determination and the resilience he’s shown since then,” Oregon State Police Captain Tim Fox told the paper. “His attitude and his desire to strive, or thrive, it’s amazing. So that’s really where I believe he deserves this medal.”
“Our job is to keep people safe and stand watch for the wolves at our door,” Capt. Fox added. “Nic was one who took that challenge with the utmost respect. He took that and he did it. He was never one to back down from a challenge, never drive slow to a call.”