McLennan County commissioners Tuesday approved paying almost $17,000 toward a liability insurance deductible because of a Twin Peaks-related lawsuit that named the county as a defendant and has since been dismissed.
The court agreed to pay $16,971.87 to its insurance company, the Texas Association of Counties Risk Management Pool, in a case filed by Hewitt biker Matthew Clendennen, who was among the 177 arrested after the May 17 Twin Peaks shootout that left nine dead and 20 injured.
The court also approved a payment Tuesday of more than $1,160 toward its deductible because of an unrelated case that also was dismissed.
Clendennen, the owner of a local landscaping business, claimed in his lawsuit that he was wrongfully jailed and that his business suffered because of his arrest.
Dustin Chapman, the county’s legal counsel, said the county must meet a $50,000 deductible before its risk-management pool coverage kicks in.
County leaders are compiling information to apply for $250,000 to $270,000 from the governor’s County Essential Services Program to help cover costs associated with sheriff’s deputies’ overtime and the housing and feeding of inmates after the Twin Peaks melee.
Chapman and Waco attorney Mike Dixon, who represents McLennan County and its officeholders, said Clendennen’s lawsuit is thus far the only one related to the Twin Peaks shootout that names the county as a defendant.
“We’re cautiously optimistic with what we’ve seen with regards to lawsuits,” Commissioner Ben Perry said. “This was a huge event involving hundreds of people, and I think for me to sit here and tell you we’re not concerned or worried at all is pretty shortsighted.”
County Judge Scott Felton said it is not uncommon for municipalities and county governments to be sued, and county leaders are aware of that as they handle budget requests.
“Many of them have no basis, but you still have to defend yourself in them,” Felton said. “You still have to show up and be counted.”