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Former Barnes jailer, county settle suit

Barnes County, N.D., officials agreed to a settlement with a former corrections officer who claimed he had been wrongly fired. The North Dakota Insurance Reserve Fund, which provides coverage for Barnes County, will pay $15,000 to Marvin Shape to...

Barnes County, N.D., officials agreed to a settlement with a former corrections officer who claimed he had been wrongly fired.

The North Dakota Insurance Reserve Fund, which provides coverage for Barnes County, will pay $15,000 to Marvin Shape to end the lawsuit filed in Fargo's federal court.

The parties signed the agreement this week. The Insurance Reserve Fund also will pay for the county's legal fees.

The settlement amount is less than half of the legal fees Shape incurred in bringing the case against Barnes County and Sheriff Randy McClaflin. He had been seeking more than $350,000.

Fargo attorney Mark Friese, who represented Barnes County, said the county denies any liability in the case.

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"This was a compromise that allowed my clients to settle the case for less than it would cost to try the case," he said Thursday.

Shape's attorney, Thomas Fiebiger, could not be reached for comment. Jeff McQueen, the representative handling the case for NDIRF, also could not be reached for comment.

Last month, a judge dismissed four of seven counts, including those against the sheriff, Shape alleged in his suit. Attorneys in the case then filed a letter with the court indicating they reached a settlement but paperwork hadn't been signed.

Shape told McClaflin in November 2003 he suspected he had attention deficit disorder. McClaflin was Shape's supervisor at the Barnes County Jail.

In his lawsuit, Shape claimed the county discriminated against him by demoting him and later fired him in retaliation when Shape filed a grievance.

The county maintained employees complained about Shape's behavior as a supervisor. "It's our position that Shape was terminated for cause," Friese said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Steven P. Wagner at (701) 241-5542

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