Indiana Jail & Prison Death Case Results

Indiana Jail Prison Death Case Results

$1.175 million settlement for the family of a man shot and killed by the police in his own apartment.  The case was fiercely litigated for years and involved over 60 depositions and the hiring of 15 experts.  The case settled on the first day of trial for after the Plaintiff obtained a third award for sanctions against the defense for not producing evidence during the discovery process.  This case was believed to be the largest voluntary settlement payment by the City of Indianapolis/Marion County for a civil rights case.  Attorney Stephen Wagner was named the Indiana Trial Lawyer of the year by the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association as a result of his work on this watershed case.

$950,000 settlement for the family of a man who died while in police custody at a central Indiana county jail.  The young man, who had a history of alcohol abuse and was going through alcohol withdrawal which had progressed to full-blown delirium tremens (DTs), was to be monitored every 15 minutes around the clock. Jail surveillance video confirmed that he was left alone and without medication for long periods of time during his 72 hour detention.  by the time emergency medical personnel were called, he had already progressed into a coma and died shortly thereafter.  Despite the fact that the young man was not married and had no children, the settlement was well above the state tort damage cap of $300,000 applicable in negligence actions, indicating strong evidence of federal civil rights violations under Section 1983 which are not subject to the state damage cap.

$500,000 settlement for the family of a woman who hanged herself while in a southwestern Indiana jail for a minor alcohol offense, resulting in fatal injuries. The deceased left behind young children, and the jail staffing and monitoring was brought into question, as the deceased was still alive when found, but had been left unattended for too long which resulted in irreversible injuries which caused the death.

$425,000 settlement for the family of a man who died while in police custody at a central Indiana county jail.  The man was arrested for public intoxication and detained.  While in a holding cell, he began to experience alcohol withdrawal which progressed to delirium tremens (DTs), a medical emergency.  The man had a seizure, and the poorly trained jailers then forcibly restrained him instead of calling for medical attention.  The physical restraint included being handcuffed with his arms behind his back, which caused our client to go into cardiac arrest and contributed to his unfortunate death.  These actions were alleged to be violations of the our client’s civil rights, including his rights afforded under the Fourteenth Amendment.  The case was settled after we conducted extensive discovery into the training practices of the jail.  As part of the settlement, the jail instituted new training policies which will reduce the chance of this happening again.

$425,000 settlement for a young man with a mental illness who led police from 6 different agencies on a “low speed chase” similar to the O.J. Simpson case.  He was well known to the police who identified him by name on the police radio during the “chase.”  After disabling our client’s vehicle, the police broke the windows out of our client’s car, sprayed him with pepper spray, and dragged him from the vehicle.  He was thrown face down in a ditch, and numerous officers subdued him.  By the time he was in handcuffs, he had stopped breathing.  He was, unfortunately, never revived.  The defense claimed he died unexpectedly from “excited delirium syndrome;” we alleged this was a wrongful death due to positional asphyxiation; i.e., the officers on top of him did not allow him to breathe.  On behalf of the family we filed an excessive force civil rights claim against all of the officers involved pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.  The case settled after numerous depositions and the hiring of police and medical experts to prove our case.

$375,000 confidential settlement in a jail death case.  Our client was arrested for public intoxication and was taken to a county jail where he reported a history of alcohol abuse.  We alleged the jail failed to properly screen him for possible delirium tremens (DT’s), a potentially deadly complication resulting from alcohol withdrawal which develops in a small percentage of alcoholics.  Under federal law, a jail may be found liable under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 if the officers exhibit deliberate indifference to obvious medical needs.  Our client developed seizures and other symptoms of DT’s which were observed and documented by correctional officers.  He later died from what we alleged to be complications arising from DT’s.  The jail denied all liability, but settled the case and made changes to their policies.  This case was believed to be the largest jail death settlement in this particular county.

$350,000 settlement in a civil rights case arising from the prison death of our client while detained in the Allen County Jail.  The initial autopsy report suggested that our client died from a head injury; further investigation revealed what Plaintiff alleged to be the real cause of death: complications arising from untreated delirium tremens (DT’s), a potentially deadly complication resulting from alcohol withdrawal which develops in a small percentage of alcoholics.  The case was fiercely litigated, including the depositions of numerous correctional officers who made written observations of our client hallucinating, sweating profusely, acting bizarrely, and trembling—all signs of DT’s.  Plaintiff claimed that the Allen County Jail had an unconstitutional policy and practice of being deliberately indifferent to the medical needs of detainees suffering from alcohol withdrawal in violation 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.  Although the jail staunchly denied any liability for our client’s death, the jail did change its policies regarding monitoring inmates at risk for DT’s and provided more training on this issue.

$300,000 settlement for the family of an Indiana man shot and killed by police during a family disagreement.  Our client was shot in front of numerous family members, who had called police to ask for help in calming a family argument that did not involve any violence.  Our client had a piece of glass in his hands, which the defendant officer claimed he thought was a gun.  The damages recoverable were limited by the fact that our client was not married and had no minor children.  The case was an excessive force case filed under the federal civil rights statute, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983.

A wrongful death lawsuit recently settled by Stephen Wagner was featured in The Indiana Lawyer. In the case, Lynn Brewsaugh had sued over the wrongful death of her 38-year-old son, M. Shane Satterfield, while he was in a Decatur County jail in Greensburg, Indiana.

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DISCLAIMER: Past results cannot guarantee future performance. Any result in a single case does not constitute a promise, prediction, or guarantee regarding the outcome of any other case. Each case involves many different factors and thus results will always be different from case-to-case.

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Stephen Wagner and Jason Reese can handle your jail or prison death case with years of experience and proven results. Call the law firm of Wagner Reese today 888-710-9377 for your FREE consultation!

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