OGDEN -- A sergeant's lawsuit against Weber County, alleging political and personal intimidation at the Weber County Sheriff's Office, is going federal.
Sgt. Teresa Perkins' lawsuit claims that she and 18 others who supported Capt. Brett Haycock in his 2010 campaign for sheriff were either transferred or reprimanded. Haycock lost to now-Sheriff Terry Thompson at the Republican convention in April 2010.
Formal papers, a joint consent from both parties, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, confirm the case's transfer to Judge David O. Nuffer. The switch to the federal venue was initiated Dec. 20 by Weber County's lawyers.
The move is the second for the lawsuit since it was filed in October in Ogden's 2nd District Court. In mid-November, the seven district judges in the courthouse formally recused themselves from the case, citing the close relationship with the sheriff's office that provides courthouse security.
Perkins attorney, David Bert Havas, said he had no objection to the lawsuit's move to federal court. Both state and federal courts have jurisdiction, he said, as the suit raises questions regarding both state and federal constitutional rights.
"Federal court is a little more formal than state court, and the big advantage that the defense (the county) has is that in federal court a jury of 12 members have to all agree on a verdict," Havas said. "So, the defense is counting on being able to convince at least one juror to not rule for the plaintiff."
The county's legal counsel, Kristin VanOrman and Jeremy Knight, were not available for comment Friday.
Retaliation against Holbrook supporters began after the 2010 convention, according to the lawsuit, while then-Sheriff Brad Slater was in office.
The suit also claims retaliation against Perkins for reporting an alleged violation by then-Capt. Klint Anderson, now one of Thompson's chief deputies.
The suit claims that, in 2009, Anderson tried to force his way into a Morgan County home where he had installed cabinets as part of his side business.He had hoped to recover the $15,000 worth of cabinets before the home's foreclosure was complete, but fell off the roof, injuring his back.
Perkins mentioned the incident to an FBI agent friend in a grocery store, according to the suit, and after discussing the matter with Undersheriff Kevin McCleod, Perkins was briefly placed on administrative leave. No action was taken against Anderson, the suit says. The county has formally denied all the allegations in a response filed last week by VanOrman and Knight.