Rape kit testing lawsuit back in court, attorney seeking City of Memphis policies

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The rape kit testing lawsuit before Judge Gina Higgins is about getting information on what policies were in place when thousands of rape kits were allowed to sit untested for years.

Attorney Daniel Lofton said he represents about 30 women who deserve answers.

"What were they doing? How did this happen? How do you get to 12,000 neglected rape kits?" Lofton asked.

The hearing Monday dealt with legal motions filed in the lawsuit against a list of individuals and agencies.

Shelby County was hoping to be dropped from the suit, saying defendant Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich was not a county employee.

Higgins said the County still had a responsibility.

"The County was ordered to produce evidence related to its organization," Lofton said.

The big issue over policies remained a bickering point. Lofton cited a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation letter that he said highlighted excessive delays and wrong kits being sent in for testing.

"We have four named persons within the Memphis Police Department who were responsible for this, and we want their files," Lofton said. "We want to know how they were handling it over the years."

City attorneys said they have provided their policy and this case needs to be tossed out.

"All of the information we were aware of that he has been looking for has been presented," Deputy City Attorney Regina Morrison Newman said.

"That's absolutely false. That's absolutely false. The evidence is building up very slowly, painstakingly slow," Lofton said.

Higgins told the plaintiffs to go back and list the specific documents being sought.

The issues about the city turning over documents is yet to be settled.

It'll be back in court in a couple of weeks.

The woman who was the face of the class action lawsuit, rape victim Meaghan Ybos,  has been removed as lead plaintiff. Her attorney said it was a legality,  but he wouldn't go into further detail.

Ybos was in court Monday  but declined to speak on camera.

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