Trooper's lawsuit to go to arbitrator

CARSON CITY (AP) - A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper severely injured in a bomb attack in 1993 has suffered a setback in a lawsuit he has said he must win to save his job.

In a one-paragraph decision, the Nevada Supreme Court rejected an order sought by Ken Gager to send his civil lawsuit against several top-ranking state employees directly to a trial before a jury.

The court ruled that Gager's case must be submitted to mandatory arbitration because he seeks damages of less than $40,000.

Gager filed a lawsuit in 1998 charging that NHP Chief Michael Hood, then-Department of Motor Vehicles Director Don Denison, his deputy Ray Sparks, former Nevada Highway Patrol Association President Steve Harney and several others conspired to try to force him from his job.

He said they retaliated against him in part because he filed a whistle-blower complaint that accused state officials of embezzlement and other violations.

Gager was maimed when he opened a bomb that had been mailed in a package to his home in rural Minden just before his 44th birthday in September 1993. He lost a hand and eye and suffered other injuries.

Minden resident Robert J. Collins received a 75-year sentence in prison for the bombing. Collins, who lived a quarter mile from Gager's home, had stalked him after being stopped earlier that year for a traffic violation.

After 21 surgeries, Gager returned to work in a desk job as the training supervisor of the Highway Patrol's Records and Identification Services agency.


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