Garfield County Leaders Agree To Settlement In Wrongful Death Of Inmate Lawsuit


Tuesday, October 22nd 2019, 7:09 pm
By: Storme Jones


The Garfield County commissioners have agreed to pay a $12.5 million settlement to end a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Anthony Huff, 58, was arrested for public intoxication in June of 2016. He was placed in a restraint chair in the Garfield County Jail, where he was found dead 54 hours later.

“Our client’s family will never be made who by any amount of money,” Attorney Edward Wyant said. “They do appreciate the board of county commissioners resolving this matter in a way that protects Garfield County from the potential of a much larger verdict and acknowledges the severity of this horrific death.”

County commissioners said in a statement the amount is "reasonable under the circumstances of the case." And they "deeply regret that Mr. Huff passed away while he was being detained at the detention center."

According to court documents, Huff went an extended period without proper amounts of food, water or medical treatment.

However, Gavin County commissioners maintain the “county has always considered proper operation of the jail a high priority and will continue to maintain high standards at the detention center."

The settlement brings to close the lawsuit naming the jail, board of county commissioners, Sheriff Jerry Niles, the jail administrator, it's medical provider and four other individuals.

“The federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of our client, Anthony Huff, has been resolved in an amicable fashion, which won’t require further litigation,” Wyant said.

The sheriff and five jail employees were arrested in connection to the death in 2017. The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals later ruled Sheriff Niles would not stand trial.

Three employees, however, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter.

Attorneys News 9 spoke with say the county does have some insurance for lawsuits like this, however, the bulk will likely have to be paid using property to taxes.

 

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