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Civil case brought against county

Woman seeks damages from wreck with sheriff’s deputy

 POLSON — A civil trial in the case of woman who was rear-ended by Lake County Sheriff ’s deputy Joel E. Diaz in 2013 and claims that the accident required her to have a second reconstructive breast surgery has been set for Aug. 24, 2017.

According to court documents, Anne Smith was driving from California to Alaska when she was rear-ended by Diaz while he was on duty. Diaz was cited for following too closely.

Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and underwent a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery in San Francisco on July 8, 2013, according to court documents. She was driving in Polson on Aug. 7 of that year while traveling home to Alaska.

According to the lawsuit, Smith’s transplanted breast tissue was healthy and viable when she left San Francisco, but she had to have additional medical treatment, including another breast reconstruction, because of injuries sustained in the accident.

Smith, who is being represented by Stephanie Kucera of Missoula, is seeking unspecified damages for her medical expenses, loss of past and future earnings, a decrease in her earning capacity and pain and worry.

The case was filed June 4, 2015. The original trial date of Sept. 23, 2016 was vacated by District Court Judge James A. Manley after Lake County filed a motion to continue the trial date. Smith did not oppose the change due to her ongoing surgeries.

Diaz is being represented by two attorneys from the Montana Association of Counties, including former Lake County Attorney Mitch Young.

In his answer, Diaz said Smith’s Cadillac Escalade was impacted at a very low rate of speed and she did not appear to be injured.

Among those deposed in the case include Diaz and Lake County Sheriff ’s deputies Devon McCrea, Dan Yonkin and Tony Buff.

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