Follow Up: Injured On-Duty Nevada Deputy Files Justified Lawsuit Against County

Follow Up: Injured On-Duty Nevada Deputy Files Justified Lawsuit Against County

By Steve Pomper 

On December 4th, 2023, I wrote a subtitle for part three of a seven-part NPA article series about the malicious way Washoe County (NV), including the Sheriff’s Office, officials and employees, and its corporate workman’s compensation contractor are treating (now former) Deputy Sheriff Detective Kim Frankel.

That subtitle read, “1,258 days. That’s how long it’s been since Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam has failed to contact his deputy, Detective Kim Frankel, after she was struck, on-duty, by a DUI, hit-and-run driver she chased down and apprehended despite her injuries. 1,258 days.”

As I sit here writing this follow-up article on the Frankel Family saga, it’s now been 1,425 days since Sheriff Balaam has failed to contact his severely injured, at the time, 16-year veteran deputy—just to ask how she’s doing—after 1,425 days. But, as you’ll see from the allegations in a lawsuit filed by former Det. Frankel, not contacting his injured deputy is only one of the many reprehensible acts he’s accused of committing.

Along with the sheriff, I should mention that no one I contacted, while researching this incident, including Governor Joe Lombardo’s office, responded to my queries. The only responses I received were polite blow-offs from the officials’ staffs.  

I’m going to stick with using “Kim” rather than Deputy Frankel or, as in the lawsuit, Mrs. Frankel, because I’m not just documenting the Frankel family’s ordeal, I (and the NPA) am unabashedly advocating for them.  

A few cases have affected me as much, but none have affected me more than this one. Let me update you on the unethical—immoral—actions county officials have allegedly committed against this fine family which has been dragging on since June 25th, 2020. I invite you to read the original article and several follow-ups at

Articles: #1#2#3#4#5#6#7. Please, at least read article #1 to get the background on this story of betrayal. As I wrote, “We know the what and the who but, most perplexing, the why is a cruel mystery.” It still is.

Now, here’s an update many thought would never happen. I won’t get into the weeds, but because of Nevada’s peculiar workman’s compensation laws, it wasn’t guaranteed that Kim would ever be able to file a lawsuit against those accused of treating her so heartlessly.

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On May 10th, 2024, decorated former WCSO child sex crimes investigator Kim Frankel filed suit in the United States District Court, District of Nevada, against Washoe County, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), WCSO Sheriff Darin Balaam, Washoe County Comptroller Cathy Hill, and WCSO Chief Deputy Gregory Herrera (Ret.), and other “agents, employees, and/or representatives….” 

Kim also requested a jury trial, and I don’t blame her. After relying on so many government “officials” for justice, a jury of her peers seems the wiser choice. 

Kim alleges, “WASHOE COUNTY participated, directed, approved, ratified, and condoned the acts complained of herein, and therefore is liable for all acts of its individual members, elected officials, appointees, agents, employees, and servants, through Respondeat Superioragency, or as joint venturers.”

The suit notes that Kim attempted to resolve this issue administratively, but her employer thwarted her efforts. On April 2nd, 2024, Kim “was given the right to sue letter…,” so she’s doing just that.

Kim alleges, “These acts were done with deliberate indifference as to the injuries damages and abuses that would occur from their intentional violations and failures when hiring training supervising and retaining Balaam, Hill and Herrera and these intentional acts were the direct and proximate causes of the discrimination retaliation constructive discharge suffered by Mrs. Frankel in violation of the… [ADA/ADAA].”

Kim also accused her employer, saying it “failed to follow physicians’ recommendations for treatment resulting in her worsening condition”—a condition doctors say she could have recovered from entirely with proper and timely care. But it appears her employer assured that did not happen.

The suit also indicates it took five months after sustaining her injuries to see an ENT doctor. Washoe County Sheriff’s Office’s failure to allow Kim proper treatment resulted in her labor union having to refer her to an ENT for treatment. That doctor diagnosed Kim with “vertigo, upper extremity weakness, post-concussion syndrome, and hearing loss and refers her to a neurologist.”

In February 2021, a CCMSI (government employer’s corporate workman’s compensation contractor) case manager documented Kim’s “worsening of dystonia symptoms….” She also noted Kim’s doctor’s referrals to UC Davis and UCSF. And she also said that Kim’s doctor would not agree to her return to work due to a “dramatic inability to walk and dystonia trembles and tremors in her upper arm.” This was despite another CCMSI manager allegedly insisting the doctor authorize her return to work.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, the seeming malice makes no sense, especially from those specifically positioned to help cops in need. Kim and her fellow WCSO deputy husband David Frankel had been friends or at least friendly with nearly everyone involved. David even campaigned for the sheriff. The way they’ve treated an on-duty injured law officer is shocking. This story is so chock full of bad and wrong decisions that all I can conclude from their prolonged and consistently dreadful decision-making is that they were malicious decisions.

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The lawsuit alleges Kim’s employer repeatedly ignored administrative and court orders to help her. Kim also claims her employer cut off her benefits, made her use her own stored vacation, sick, and deferred comp time (bank) to get a paycheck, and ignored multiple diagnoses and referrals for proper medical treatment.

On March 5th, 2021, a physician confirmed the dystonia diagnosis and said, “he expects her to fully recover,” assuming she receives proper medical treatment.

Think about that. You’re a decorated veteran cop injured in the line of duty. You even chased down and captured the suspect, preventing him from harming anyone else. Still, your employer delays and denies your physician-diagnosed and prescribed medical care past the point-of-no-return for a cure. And your sheriff doesn’t even visit or call you.

This happened after several doctors concurred you would have likely recovered, resumed your law enforcement career, and lived a normal life. Now, your tormentors leave you with no alternative but to file a lawsuit to pursue justice to assure they don’t do this to anyone else.

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Also from the lawsuit: “On August 14th, 2023, Doctor Shah, one of Mrs. Frankel’s evaluating physicians, documented that Mrs. Frankel’ may have been completely normal had the appropriate care been instituted.’”

Her employer has asserted that they were following County policy. But they failed to produce these policies in writing, instead claiming that they were “unwritten and implemented on a case by case basis.” Or, made it up as they went along?

Kim made multiple requests that her employer grant her ADA accommodations, which she said the County denied without providing a reason.

Disgustingly, her employer admits having Kim and her family surveilled “despite the clear medical diagnosis by multiple County and CCMSI doctors that Frankel’s injuries stem from her on-the-job injury….” It is surreal that some of the diagnoses came from her employer’s physicians.

How is this behavior not diabolical? The suit also alleges Kim’s employer violated terms and conditions of employment, a labor contract, and the ADA law. Add to that list, the alleged discrimination and retaliation against her for her injuries and for exercising her rights and using their positions of authority to intimidate and threaten her.

The lawsuit states that, at that time, “[Kim], as would be any reasonable person, is shocked to learn that the County and WCSO are attempting to force her to resign for exercising her rights under the ADA, her collective bargaining agreement, and she refuses to sign the letter and refuses to retire.”

Remarkably, the suit also alleges that Chief Hererra said he would terminate Kim’s employment because she refused to sign what her employer called a “voluntary resignation.”

Further, “The Nevada Department of Administrative Court reverses an earlier decision and orders the County and WCSO to include dystonia in Mrs. Frankel’s workers compensation claim to treat this injury and to reinstate her temporary total disability benefits; despite this order, they refused to reinstate Frankel’s full pay and benefits.”

In the apparent effort to get rid of her, her employer even accused Kim of “Abandonment of her position” and then allegedly attempted to extort her by offering to remove the “abandonment language” if she agreed to sign the “voluntary resignation” letter. Again, Kim refused.

Here are some other items plucked from the 20-page lawsuit:

Kim, “as would be any reasonable person, is shocked that the County and WCSO would remove her earned post-retirement medical benefits that she requires to treat her ever-worsening medical condition.”

Astonishingly, in May 2022, her employer received a benefit payment for Frankel of $12,417.36. But Hill did not notify Kim of the payment. Kim didn’t learn until September 2022 that her employer had allegedly “stolen” her money and failed to justify their actions.

The County informed Kim that they had also received another $30,576.08 payment for her.

Incidentally, the suit asserts that these payments prove Kim should have been receiving benefits and not drawing off her own personal work “bank.”

Subsequently, Hill had notified Kim of yet another payment of $32,930.88, but she allegedly refused to release it to her.

Two months later Kim received that check minus funds deducted for ‘garnished wages.’ No information was provided as to why there was a garnishment nor about any authorizing court order.

Horrifyingly (because it was avoidable), according to the suit, “on February 8th, 2024, CCMSI notified Mrs. Frankel that for the first time since she suffered her injuries she is deemed to be permanently disabled.” Kim’s employer had been told that could happen if she didn’t receive proper and timely medical care.

From the first NPA article, I wrote, “Far worse, when first diagnosed, doctors told Kim, ‘There may only be a three-year window for treatment to be effective.’” When I wrote that, over three years had passed. Now, we’re a month away from four years.


Sorry for shouting, but from my perspective, Kim’s condition appears to have been avoidable and, worse, her employer’s alleged actions appear malicious. To be generous, one could argue incompetence rather than malice. After all, in one instance, an employee accused Kim of attempting to defraud the system by claiming a different ailment when she’d just used an alternative term for the same medical condition.

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But whenever incompetent “mistakes” are made that go only in one direction, that points to malice, right? I mean, did Kim ever receive any “mistaken” extra benefits. Her benefits, including medical care, were either delayed, denied, or withheld.

In the various “Cause[s] of Action,” Kim offers several well-documented (either quoted or paraphrased below) allegations:

“Defendant’s [employer’s] acts were pretextual, intentional, malicious, outrageous and were meant to harass, intimidate, threaten, demean, insult and harm Mrs. Frankel.”

“Defendants acts caused Mrs. Frankel to suffer embarrassment, stress, mental anguish, emotional pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of activities.”

The suit alleges, Sheriff Balaam “had actual or constructive knowledge of …” the cruel treatment Kim received.

“The County, WCSO and Sheriff Balaam fired… Mrs. Frankel and induced her to retire by their actions and conditions that violate public policy and for Mrs. Frankel’s refusal to violate public policy.”

In a reference to a sad reality, Kim alleges the intolerable conditions could have been remedied. Yes, if the officials had done their jobs correctly and followed policy and the law.

Kim is asking a jury to award her “compensatory damages for loss of wages and benefits, the pain, suffering, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of work and life activities, stress, and emotional stress caused by Defendants’ acts proven herein.”

As for damages, there aren’t enough zeros to adequately compensate for what their employer has made Kim, David, and their family endure—and will continue to endure for the rest of their lives.

From the Fifth and final Cause of Action: “Because the County, WCSO, had advance knowledge that Sheriff Balaam, Chief Herrera and Hill were violating public and state and federal laws, and condoned their actions with a conscious disregard of the rights and safety of others, Mrs. Frankel is seeking an award of damages for the sake of her example and by way of punishing the County and WSCO in accordance with NRS 42.007.”

The final line of the suit adds: “For any additional or further relief as may be just and proper.”

Sorry, folks. The just and proper ship set sail long ago. If only Kim’s employer could turn back time to when the former cop’s injuries could have been appropriately treated. Can the court order her employer to do that?

Kim, this former professional athlete, law enforcement officer, wife, and mother wouldn’t have had so much of the joy in her life stolen from her but for these institution’s and individual’s inexplicably wicked actions. Again, these were people this dedicated public servant depended on in her time of need. Instead, they became the people she needs rescuing from.

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Let’s hope the judge and jury do the right thing, and this lawsuit can provide Kim, David, and their kids, who all maintain remarkably positive attitudes, with a little of the solace they so richly—and finally—deserve.