Civil Rights & Constitutional Law
Former jail nursing director Gary Brack sues County Executive Budish, MetroHealth CEO Boutros...
May 22, 2019
Thursday, December 12, 2019
CLEVELAND, OH—Today in federal court, Corrionne Lawrence, who three months ago filed a civil-rights complaint alleging he was beaten and endured retaliation by Cuyahoga County jail officials for cooperating with a U.S. Marshals investigation into the jail, reached a tentative $140,000 settlement of his lawsuit. According to county attorneys, the settlement is subject to formal approval by the Cuyahoga County Council. The agreement was reached through the facilitation of U.S. District Judge James S. Gwin.
Lawrence had alleged that corrections officers in the fall of 2018:
The suit also recounted numerous other instances of abuse against Cuyahoga County jail inmates, showing that the County has a custom, policy, pattern, and practice of fostering a culture of abuse and corruption at the jail and failing to train and supervise corrections officers.
Lawrence’s lead counsel, Ashlie Case Sletvold, said, “Mr. Lawrence is pleased that the county is taking steps toward resolving the incidents against him in a way that befits their seriousness. He hopes that this resolution is the first step in resolving the County jail's ongoing human-rights crisis.”
Captioned Lawrence v. Cuyahoga County, et al., Case No. CV-19-921522, the suit alleges violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; civil assault and battery; and civil liability for criminal acts including felonious assault, unlawful restraint, intimidation, menacing, interfering with civil rights, and dereliction of duty.
The individual corrections officers in the suit named include Christopher Little, Brandon Smith, Barry Hickerson, and Beverly Witt. Two other officers sued remain unidentified.
Cuyahoga County has done nothing to hold these corrections officers accountable.
Chandra Law has filed five suits against the County and its corrections officers this year alone over abuse, torture, and other misconduct in the jail. The others include:
The firm filed a sixth lawsuit against the County, Ken Mills, Armond Budish, MetroHealth, Akram Boutros, and Jane Platten alleging retaliation against Nurse Gary Brack, who blew the whistle on jail conditions to County Council and was swiftly removed from his position as nursing director.