Oklahoma Sheriff’s Lawsuit Against District Attorney Faces Potential Dismissal Due to Improper Service and Missing Summons

Pawhuska, Oklahoma – Members of Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond’s staff have filed a motion in Osage County District Court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden against District Attorney Mike Fisher. The lawsuit, which was filed last October, accused Fisher of defamation and interference with an investigation. It also made allegations about the sale of a downtown Pawhuska building. Virden’s legal action came in response to Fisher’s request for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to conduct a separate probe into the 1976 disappearance of a teenage girl. Fisher had deemed the information insufficient to file criminal charges.

The court record reveals that Fisher was not served with the lawsuit for more than three months after it was filed. The dismissal motion by Assistant Attorneys General Kevin McClure and Alejandra Brigida argues that the service was invalid because Fisher was only provided with a copy of the lawsuit petition and not the summons as required by Oklahoma law. The motion also claims that Virden and his representatives failed to comply with the state’s service requirement when suing a government officer in their official capacity.

If the lawsuit is not dismissed, it could become an important topic of discussion in the upcoming election for the sheriff of Osage County. Candidates will declare their candidacies from April 3-5. However, it should be noted that the office of district attorney for Oklahoma Judicial District No. 10 is not up for determination this year.

The legal dispute between Sheriff Virden and District Attorney Fisher originated from a press conference held by Fisher in September 2023. Virden expressed his dissatisfaction with Fisher’s handling of the case and made clear his intention to seek resolution through the legal system. The lawsuit not only targets Fisher personally but also in his official capacity, alleging defamatory statements and interference with an ongoing investigation. Additionally, it raises concerns about the sale of the Kennedy Building, a prominent downtown Pawhuska property owned by the Osage County government.

As the lawsuit unfolds, it remains to be seen whether the court will grant the motion to dismiss or allow the case to proceed. With the upcoming election, the outcome of this legal battle may have implications for the future leadership of Osage County.