By Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4)– Sheneen McClain, the mother of Elijah McClain, has filed a civil lawsuit against her original lawyers, claiming they demanded nearly $4 million in attorneys fees, “engaged in wrongful conduct,” and placed their “desire for publicity and self-aggrandizement ahead of Ms. McClain’s interests and instructions.”

Sheneen McClain (credit: CBS)

CBS4 obtained a copy of the lawsuit which was filed Tuesday in Denver District Court.

In 2019, McClain’s son, Elijah, died following a physical confrontation with Aurora police officers which involved McClain being given a dose of ketamine.

Soon after the death, Sheneen McClain says she met with attorneys from the Denver firm of Killmer, Lane and Newman and hired them to represent her. They filed a federal lawsuit over Elijah McClain’s death on Aug. 11, 2020. According to the new Denver lawsuit, McClain ‘became increasingly concerned’ with KLN’s representation.

She said they “faced obvious conflicts of interest”… “failed to explain these conflicts” and engaged in “ethical violations.”

Elijah McClain (credit: CBS)

The complaint goes on to say,”KLN’s attorneys incessantly sought media attention for their own self-aggrandizement campaign and, in doing so, made inappropriate and unauthorized public comments that did not reflect the client’s position.”

McClain fired the law firm in 2021, hired a different firm, and last November, Aurora agreed to pay $15 million to Sheneen McClain and Elijah McClain’s father.

According to the lawsuit, KLN demanded $3.9 million of the settlement in a demand letter sent on March 11.

Dan Wartell, an attorney representing Sheneen McClain, told CBS4, “Shes not going to pay the law firm that she feels did a disservice to her.”

In a response, Killmer Lane and Newman issued the following statement: “For decades we have fought alongside our clients to protect their constitutional rights and civil liberties. This is not just what we do, it is who we are and what we believe. Our team poured our hearts and souls into seeking justice for the McClain family and helped them achieve the largest civil rights settlement in Colorado history. We stand by our hard work on this case. The allegations are misleading, and in many cases entirely false. We hope that this misdirected anger does not distract from the important goals of continuing to force change in policing, and criminal accountability for Elijah’s killers.”

Brian Maass