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State to Pay $2.5 Million to Family of Prisoner Who Died of Thirst

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North Carolina officials will pay a $2.5 million settlement to the family of a former prisoner who suffered from a mental illness and died of dehydration last year, five days after he was put into solitary confinement in handcuffs. The man was found dead March 12, 2014 after he was transported to Central Prison in Raleigh.

The victim was a veteran of the U.S. Army who suffered from a schizoaffective disorder, a condition for which he did not receive treatment for at least six months. At the time of his death he was serving a 31-year sentence for repeated felony convictions and firing a weapon at private property. He was in solitary confinement for more than a month before he died.

In the months after the death, 25 people either resigned or were disciplined by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety in relation to the case. However, judges reversed at least two of those firings after appeals from the employees and reached settlements with three others, including the acting warden in charge of the victim at the time of the accident. A federal investigation is still ongoing in the case.

The lawsuit alleged that the victim did not receive some of his most basic human needs while confined, including water, and that he died of thirst. In the settlement agreement, the Department of Public Safety did not admit any liability but did include a promise to write a letter of apology. As part of the settlement, the deceased’s estate waives the right to pursue any additional claims against the department for any actions occurring during his imprisonment.

To learn more about your options after the wrongful death of your loved one, speak with a knowledgeable North Carolina personal injury attorney at Lanier Law Group.

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