A wrongful-death lawsuit against the city of Richmond Hill and one of its police officers is now headed to the Georgia Court of Appeals.
Attorney Ben Perkins filed in Bryan County Superior Court on Friday an appeal of Judge Robert Russell’s denial last month of a summary-judgment motion on behalf of the city and Richmond Hill police Sgt. Doug Sahlberg. The city and Sahlberg are both named in the lawsuit, which claims the police officer’s actions contributed to 14-year-old Sydney Sanders committing suicide April 5, 2011.
Sahlberg has acknowledged that he showed his daughter photographs of injuries Sanders inflicted on herself during a suicide attempt in February 2011. That, according to the lawsuit, led to the photos being shown to Sanders’ classmates, which influenced Sanders’ decision to take her own life.
Perkins outlined at a May 20 hearing why he believes the charges do not hold up under the law, but Russell denied the motion for summary judgment. Perkins could not file the appeal until Russell submitted his written order of denial, which the judge did on June 15. The Court of Appeals can make a ruling in the case or send it to a jury. Either way, Perkins said he anticipates the process taking several months.