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Former court spokeswoman sues Sheriff's Department

February 18, 2011 |  7:20 pm

A former Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman filed suit against the Sheriff’s Department on Friday in connection with an incident in which she alleges she was grabbed by a courthouse deputy and pushed hard against a wall despite the fact that she was wearing credentials.

Vania Stuelp, who sought medical treatment after the 2010 incident, suffered physical injuries and emotional pain, according to the lawsuit.

Stuelp claims she was trying to keep a camera crew from filming in a prohibited area. But sheriff’s officials have said Stuelp was detained because she refused to follow the deputy's instructions and leave an area in the courtroom usually occupied by lawyers. Stuelp was not arrested and court was not in session at the time.

Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said Friday night that the department "disagreed" with the lawsuit’s allegations.

"This is a lawsuit that we look forward to telling the whole story," he said. "We’re going to go into the courtroom and vigorously illuminate this incident."

A prosecutor also was named in the suit. A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said the matter would be handled by county counsel.

It is  unclear what damages Stuelp is seeking. She is a senior producer for the celebrity news site TMZ.


L.A. County Sheriff's Department investigating incident involving court spokeswoman

Witnesses dispute sheriff's officials' account of court spokeswoman's detention

-- Robert Faturechi