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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

County settles inmate death lawsuit

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sharp County settled a federal lawsuit March 15 in Little Rock. The suit stemmed from the death of jail inmate Brian Lashley in 2008. The suit originally asked for $150,000 and was settled for $35,000.

The lawsuit against former Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver, as well as the county, came after the inmate died while in jail in February, 2008.

James E. Patrick, II was the estate's administrator and asked for $150,000 for compensation for loss of enjoyment of life, lost earning capacity and other damages, including punitive damages that were related to an alleged civil rights violation.

The lawsuit alleged that the inmate died of sepsis and pneumonia due to delay of treatment by the county while he was being housed in the jail.

It said the jail administration did not completely respond to complaints by Lashley and that the jail did not have anyone qualified to make medical diagnosis of the inmate.

Although the complaint could have gone to trial, Sharp County Judge Larry Brown issued a statement explaining that, even if the county won, the attorney's fees could have been costly.

The county and the former sheriff did not admit to any wrong doing. The suit will be paid by the county's insurance.

The county and Weaver were represented by the insurance company's attorney, Ralph Ohm.

The case was set for trial in November of 2010 but, due to a scheduling conflict, the judge could not hear the case on that date. The settlement was made prior to a new trial date being set.

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