News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Hopson denies wrongdoing in lawsuit

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

Just days after plaintiffs requested a default judgement for lack of replay, a Lyons man has denied wrongdoing in a lawsuit accusing him of burning down his neighbor’s home.

On Dec. 2, attorneys for William “Dale” Hopson, 50, denied all allegations in a $440,000 lawsuit filed by Connie and Herman Frieden, except to admit he and the Frieden’s were neighbors at the time of the incident.

Just two days before, on Nov 30, attorneys for the Friedens filed notice of their intent to seek a default judgment as more than 30 days had passed since Hopson was served with notice of the suit Sept. 29. Plaintiffs gave Hopson until Dec. 14 to file or they would petition the court for judgment in their favor.

A default judgement would grant the Friedens the full award without the need for a trial.

A trial has yet to be set. The Friedens are joined by property owner Ajay Property Management, LLC, in seeking damages.

Plaintiffs filed suit Aug. 30 in Marion County Circuit Court for the burning of the Friedens’ house on North Fork Road Sept. 9, 2020, after it was spared two days before by the Beachie Creek Fire. Hopson is accused of entering the property while the Friedens were evacuated and lighting the building on fire, using the wildfires as cover.

He is charged with first-degree burglary and first-degree arson and a trial is set for March 7, 2023.

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