Virginia Man Who Settled Wrongful Death Lawsuit Files His Own $5.35 Million Lawsuit

Earlier I posted about John Ames, a Virginia man who, along with his insurance company, settled a wrongful death suit for $100,000. Ames shot 74-year-old Perry Brooks on Ames’s property after Brooks and two friends came to retrieve Brooks’s bull. As it turns out, after settling the case against him, Ames turned around and filed a lawsuit against several people he claims trespassed with intent to injure him. One of the people is Brooks’s widow.
The Ames-Brooks dispute appears to have had its origins in a boundary dispute and Ames’s efforts to make Brooks pay for part of the cost of the fence. When I was growing up in North Dakota, I saw a lot of brinksmanship over property lines and wandering livestock. Sheep, as anyone can tell you, are notoriously hard to keep inside a fence, and ours repeatedly got out into a neighbor’s grain fields. So one day, he put down several bushels of treated wheat on the prairie trail right outside the fence. (Treated wheat was wheat sprayed with some kind of pinkish junk, mercury as I remember it, that kept insects from eating the seed before it sprouted, and it would also kill sheep or people).
This was considered bad form, as it tended to entice the sheep to get out of the fence to eat the poison. I remember my Dad took all of us kids up north to the prairie trail and we scooped up the poison wheat in bags. I don’t think the dispute went any further than some harsh words on the phone, and in any event, we sold the sheep about five years later. Another instance that comes to mind was when a man got into an argument with his nephew and wound up running over the nephew, more than once, I believe, with a cultivator. (A cultivator is a really large plow-like thing pulled behind a tractor, with dozens of metal shanks and spiked drags on the back end). The nephew lived (I saw him down at the bar a number of times after that), and there was talk of a lawsuit, but it was never filed.

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