Judge dismisses Shelby County from $10M rape kit lawsuit

Judge dismisses Shelby County from $10M rape kit lawsuit

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Shelby County is no longer part of a lawsuit filed in connection to a rape kit backlog, but the City of Memphis remains listed on the lawsuit.

A civil court judge ruled in favor of the county--allowing it to be dismissed from the case.

More than 10,000 rape kits were left untested for years in Memphis. In 2013, the city formed a task force dedicated to getting the rape kits tested and putting rapists behind bars.

Several victims, whose rape kits were never tested, filed a lawsuit against the city, police department, and Shelby County.

For victims like Gwendolyn Tatum, she has waited for this day in court for years.

"I'm just sorry that it took so long for this to come to light like this," Tatum said. "It's been a nightmare, and I just want it over. That's all I want to do is get it over, because I have to keep reliving this when I go to sleep."

The lawsuit was filed in 2014 and is a ground-breaking case which victims say can change rape kit policies across the state.

"I want the city to admit and be true," Tatum said. "They mistreated us. We were mistreated. All of us, not just me. It's a whole lot of us out there. They don't have the strength to come and stand up forward."

The attorney representing the victims said this decision is a step forward.

"The city is not immune. The plaintiffs can go forward," attorney Daniel Lofton said. "This is what we've waited on for a very long time."

Lofton plans to file a motion to reconsider today's decision and have the county added back in the case.

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