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Tim Smith
Tim Smith
Attorney • 231-946-0700

City of Detroit to pay $2 Million for contributing to a death during lockup

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In August 2005, James Stone was arrested on a parole violation. While in lock-up/jail, he complained for over an hour about chest pains, but the City did nothing. He later had a heart attack and died. Had he received proper medical care and treatment, it was argued that his death could have been avoided.

It seems that one of the reasons the case settled was what the presiding judge called, "egregious misconduct" by the City’s attorneys during the discovery phase of the litigation. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Pepe accused the City’s attorney of repeated violations of discovery orders and court ordered deadlines.

Magistrate Pepe took the rare step of recommending to the trial judge, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood, that the City of Detroit be defaulted for their flagrant abuse of discovery. Before Judge Hood had a chance to rule on that issue and just before the jury was picked, the City settled the case for $2 million.