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Rory McKinney, Debbie Nichols civil lawsuit dismissed with prejudice

A lawsuit dismissed with prejudice means that the claim cannot be brought up in another court.

MIDLAND COUNTY, Texas — A lawsuit alleging wiretapping by the Midland County Sheriff's Office has finally been settled.

According to court documents, the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice on September 8, 2021, after both parties executed a formal settlement.

When a claim is dismissed with prejudice, it means that the claim cannot be brought back up in another court.

The lawsuit was originally filed on February 18, 2020, against Midland County, as well as Chief Deputy Rory McKinney and acting Sheriff Richard Gillette, both of whom were in office at the time.

Debbie Nichols, an employee of the sheriff's office, accused the county of illegally wiretapping her and others after certain employees seemed to have knowledge about private matters.

Open records requests filed by Midland County Attorney Russell Malm showed over 250 of Nichols' calls had been intercepted and recorded.

Nichols filed the lawsuit, initially stating that she was worried about the privacy of other Midland County employees, as well as outside citizens.

The Texas Rangers also launched an investigation into the sheriff's office not long before the lawsuit was filed. The results of that investigation have still not been released.