AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Corrections Law for Jails, Prisons and Detention Facilities
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In a lawsuit
brought by a detainee's estate over a fatal beating by officers, a jury
awarded $56.5 million in damages against the officers, of which $29 million
were compensatory damages. The county that employed the officers provided
them with legal defense in the case. Over a year after the jury made its
award, an amendment to an Indiana state statute, Ind. Code § 34-13-4-1,
changed a discretionary duty of counties to indemnify employees for compensatory
damages when providing them with legal defense to a mandatory requirement.
The estate sought to collect the damages from the county under the amended
law. A federal appeals court found that the law in effect at the time of
the award allowed the county to decline to pay the damages, and that the
mended law did not apply retroactively. Estate of Moreland v. Dieter, #08-1478,
2009 U.S. App. Lexis 17866 (7th Cir.).
County could not be held liable for the alleged actions of a correctional officer in "orchestrating" an attack on a detainee which was unauthorized and not motivated by a purpose of serving the employer. Officer was therefore not entitled to indemnification under Illinois law for $400,000 jury verdict against him. Copeland v. County of Macon, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 6074 (7th Cir.). [2005 JB Jun]
Correctional officer acted outside the scope of his employment in opening a prisoner's cell to permit two other officers to assault a prisoner; officer was not entitled to indemnification for damages or counsel fees. Spitz v. Coughlin, 557 N.Y.S.2d 647 (A.D. 1990).
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