Wrongful death lawsuit dropped

COSTA MESA — A federal wrongful death lawsuit filed against a Costa Mesa police officer involved in an off-duty shooting in Temecula three years ago has been dropped, court records show.

The family of Shaun Vilan agreed to settle their wrongful death suit against Officer Scott Dibble for a waiver of attorneys' fees last month, acknowledging in court documents that there was little to gain from moving ahead with the case.

The federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of Vilan's 10-year-old son, Dillan, and Taylor Willis, who was also shot by Dibble outside a Mexican restaurant on March 8, 2008.

Investigators concluded that the elder Vilan, Willis and others attacked Dibble outside the restaurant after Dibble got into a confrontation with the group inside.

Dibble was sitting in a chair outside when the men attacked him from behind, smashing a chair into his head and pummeling him even after he identified himself as an off-duty police officer, authorities concluded.

Dibble fired at his attackers, hitting Vilan twice in the chest, killing him. Willis was wounded but recovered.

Prosecutors declined to file charges against the officer.

Costa Mesa's attorney, a member of the Jones & Mayer law firm that Costa Mesa City Hall contracts with, said in court documents that Dibble was essentially protected from any financial judgment against him because he declared bankruptcy.

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