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Lee County Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Prison Pepper Spray Death

Posted on February 18, 2013

Lee County has settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the widow of an Ohio man who died in a southwest Florida prison after being pepper sprayed more than a dozen times while in custody. The attorney for the widow said the settlement was “well into the seven figures.”

The incident began at the Lee County Jail on March 27, 2009 and ended with the man dying in the hospital two days later. According to WTSP.com, the man had apparently stopped taking his medications while visiting Naples and started to behave erratically. He was arrested on a disorderly intoxication charge on March 25 and then again for a trespassing charge on March 27.

The medical examiner concluded that the man’s death was a homicide, pointing to restraint techniques and pepper-spray used by the guards at the jail. WTSP reports that a photo taken from inside the jail showed the man strapped into a chair with a spit mask covering his face. He had pepper spray stains on the upper half of his body.

The suit alleged that the parties involved were guilty of excessive force, assault, and battery and had shown indifference toward the man’s medical condition.

While the victim’s widow is relieved that the case has been settled, she told WTSP that she still doesn’t believe that justice has been served for her late husband. “Nobody was ever found guilty, nobody was ever relieved of their job, which upsets me,” she said.

In 2010, the state attorney’s office cleared five corrections officers involved in the incident of criminal wrongdoing in the case.

“I feel like I’ve won the battle, but not the war,” the widow told reporters.

If you believe you’ve lost a loved one due to the negligence of another party or parties, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The Lee County wrongful death lawyers at Farah & Farah have the experience to guide you through the process with knowledgeable and compassionate legal representation. If you have questions about your legal rights, call us at (800) 533-3555 or contact us online for a free consultation.