Federal Judge drops suit against SJC Clerk/Auditor

On the same day that Willie Grayeyes was sworn into office as a newly elected member of the San Juan County Commission, United States District Judge David Nuffer agreed to dismiss the lawsuit filed against San Juan County Clerk/Auditor John David Nielson, according to court documents filed on Jan. 7.
Willie Grayeyes and Terry Whitehat are listed as the two plaintiffs in the now-dismissed case and Nielson is listed as the sole defendant in his official capacity as Clerk/Auditor.
“Based upon the parties’ Stipulated Motion to Dismiss with prejudice (“Stipulated Motion”) signed by counsel for the parties and for good cause appearing.
“IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Stipulated Motion is GRANTED. Plaintiffs’ claims against the Defendant are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
“The clerk of the court is directed to close the case,” the order of dismissal reads.
According to a press release from the Alliance for a Better Utah, a settlement on the case was reached on Jan. 2, for the amount of $225,000.
“Attorneys for Mr. Grayeyes estimate that the County also paid outside legal counsel somewhere in the range of $150,000 - $200,000 to defend the case,” the release reads.
According to Willie Grayeyes, he was unaware of a settlement and of the dismissal on Jan. 7.
“That’s news,” Grayeyes said of the dismissal and settlement.
According to John David Nielson, the settlement figure of $225,000 is correct. The settlement amount does not include the fees for Blake Hamilton, who represented the county in the case.
A GRAMA request was filed by the San Juan Record on Jan. 8, for the settlement details.
According to Grayeyes and Whitehat’s attorney, Steven Boos, the $225,000 settlement is for fees and costs, and the check was written to his law firm.
The settlement clears one of the two lawsuits the new commissioner is involved in, leaving only the contest of Grayeyes residency in a private lawsuit filed by his Republican opponent Kelly Laws.
“As soon as I got out of the truck [at the oath of office ceremony], there was a guy behind us that came up and served a package to me,” Grayeyes said of being served in the Laws lawsuit.

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