Woman files federal lawsuit in 7-year-old break-in
FARGO — A Valley City woman is suing a North Carolina man in federal court after he allegedly kicked in the door of her rural home in 2007, thinking the place was abandoned.
According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court here Monday, Shirley Starke is asking for at least $700,000 in damages and emotional distress from Patrick Zaun and his employers, Bain Capital and Motorola.
Court documents filed with the case say Zaun was working for Motorola on July 22, 2007, when Barnes County dispatch received a call from Starke saying someone had tried to break into her house.
Several people driving a van banged on her door, which flew open and damaged a painting and the television, she said.
Barnes County Deputy Mark Peterson tracked the van’s license plate to a Minneapolis car rental company, which had rented it to Motorola for Zaun.
Zaun told Peterson he and his family had been visiting relatives in the area, and drove from Jamestown to Fargo looking at old farm vehicles.
He said he kicked in the door because he thought the place was abandoned. Zaun told Peterson that Starke came out, and he wanted to apologize and pay for damage. He didn’t because she kept shouting and he was afraid.
Zaun also faces a Class B misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief for the same incident in Barnes County District Court. A warrant for his arrest was issued in June 2008.