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Commissioners name attorney for Britton case

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday morning approved David Layson of Corydon as the county’s legal counsel for any action pertaining to the lawsuit against John Britton, an officer with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, who allegedly provided the means by which his wife allegedly shot herself.
The county’s contracted legal counsel, John E. Colin, will not work the case because of a conflict of interest as chief deputy to prosecutor Dennis Byrd.
A special prosecutor, Switzerland County Prosecutor Nancy Jacobs, was also named last month in the case for the same reason.
Commissioner James Goldman said Layson will work on ‘anything that has to do with the John or Christine Britton cases.’
Colin’s paralegal, Robin Cash, said the county will pay Layson on an ‘as needed’ basis.
The Harrison County Commissioners, Harrison County Council and Harrison County Sheriff’s Department have until Dec. 15 to respond to the tort claim. The claim was filed Sept. 17 in Harrison Circuit Court on behalf of the estate of Christine Britton, who died of an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound in March at the couple’s home near Ramsey.
Charlotte Hitner, Christine Britton’s mother, is serving as the personal representative of her daughter’s estate for the sole purpose of bringing a wrongful death action on behalf of Christine Britton’s 13-year-old daughter. The claimant anticipates the damage to be in excess of $700,000, but, per Indiana Code, the $700,000 amount is the maximum allowed by law.
Indiana State Police investigators said that during questioning John Britton admitted leaving a handgun in the room after his wife threatened to shoot herself.
Byrd’s petition said that both the Indiana State Police and Kentucky Medical Examiner determined that the cause of Christine Britton’s death was suicide.
John Britton remains on indefinite administrative leave. Last month, the board of commissioners suspended the approval of payroll claims for Britton.
In other matters Monday morning, the county’s health director, Tony Combs, requested the closure of Hospital Drive Wednesday, Dec. 16, for the H1N1 flu vaccine clinic from 2 to 7 p.m. Combs said he hopes the time will make it more available for folks after work and school. The free clinic will offer both the mist and shot vaccine. Combs said the virus has started to slow down but another wave could hit.
County engineer Kevin Russel opened annual bids for the highway department which will be reviewed and awarded at the board’s next meeting, Monday, Dec. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the courthouse in Corydon.