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Friday, December 13, 2019

Cuyahoga County Settles One Jail Lawsuit for $140,000, Faces Another New One

Posted By on Fri, Dec 13, 2019 at 9:48 AM

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Cuyahoga County has already and will continue paying out hefty sums to settle lawsuits brought by inmates of the troubled jail who have documented and alleged gross misconduct and use of excessive force.

One plaintiff, Corrionne Lawrence, this week reached a settlement with the county for $140,000. Lawrence had filed a federal civil rights lawsuit that earlier this year alleging jail officers beat him, among other retaliatory efforts, because he cooperated with U.S. Marshals in their investigation of the jail.

The Chandra Law firm, which has a number of other previous and ongoing suits tied to the jail, represented Lawrence and summarized his various contentions in a press release announcing the settlement.

- Confined him to a restraint chair for hours to punsih him for speaking Spanish during his booking;
- Knowingly allowed him to be attacked by another inmate being held for the murder of Lawrence's cousin;
- Beat Lawrence as he was handcuffed in an elevator with a non-functional security camera—and then denied him medical treatment for his injuries;
- Threatened to mace and hang him, and, as one correction officer allegedly threatened, “make it look like a suicide;” and
- Retaliated against him by threatening him, serving him rotten food, and denying him access to basic hygiene—all for reporting to U.S. Marshals Service investigators these and other abuses.
As this one reached a settlement the county was dealt a fresh lawsuit filed by the sister of Gregory Fox, an inmate who died in 2018 at MetroHealth days after he was found hanging in his cell. Sarah Gelsomino, who along with Terry Gilbert represents Fox's sister, said in a press release, "The point is to reform the system. The jail is still in a state of humanitarian crisis. The county needs to make drastic reforms to keep people safe.”

The lawsuit alleges that jail officials and officers ignored multiple signs that Fox was suicidal and could harm himself, including verbal pleas from Fox himself, and that understaffing meant that officers did not monitor or check in on Fox as often as they should have.

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