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Case Conclusion Date: 08.22.2012

Practice Area: Litigation

Outcome: Settled

Description: In the suit, Rodney Knutson said he learned of the death of his wife, Renee, 47, July 2 while visiting family in Green Bay, Wis. His wife, found in their home by a friend, had a heart attack, Knutson's attorney Reese Serra said Wednesday. "My client turned to the city of Troy at a time of pain and great desperation and they abused his trust," said Serra, who filed the lawsuit in Troy 52-4 District Court because it involves less than $25,000 in damages. The case was assigned to Judge Kirsten Nielsen Hartig. According to the lawsuit, Knutson was traveling home when he spoke to Troy Police Detective Robert Wolfe on the telephone. Wolfe offered his condolences and asked Knutson if he wanted police to safeguard the large amounts of cash found in the unoccupied home, the suit says. The lawsuit alleges Wolfe found $5,200 in a stack of envelopes on a bedroom dresser and $1,630 inside a makeup bag in a bathroom. The funds allegedly were put in separate envelopes and marked with the respective amounts, then secured at the Police Department. Knutson returned home July 3 and went to the Police Department to retrieve the cash to pay for his wife's funeral, according to the lawsuit. The cash in the makeup bag was counted and matched, but when Wolfe counted the money from the dresser, there was only $4,200, though the envelope was marked with $5,200. Police "either intentionally stole or negligently misplaced $1,000," says the suit, which seeks triple damages under state law. Troy Police Capt. Robert Redmond said, "It is unfortunate that a lawsuit was filed, but it is understandable given the delay of the Troy Police Department in responding to Mr. Knutson's attorney's inquiries. … The department is continuing to investigate this matter and will respond as quickly as possible." From The Detroit News:

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