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PA County Wins Jail Mistreatment Case and Receives $10,000 Settlement

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Washington County received a settlement payment of $10,000 in a case filed by David D. Wise regarding reported mistreatment at Washington County jail, according to The Observer-Reporter. The county was represented by Edmond Joyal Jr. in the case Joyal said the payment is unprecedented in the Western District of Pennsylvania, which is part of the Third Circuit in the federal system.

The settlement was approved on Thursday by county commissioners which involved the county, law firm Cohen and Wilwerth and attorney Kevin W. Tucker. The county asked for claims involving legal fees, costs and other sanctions following the legal action taken by Tucker and attorney Lawrence Fisher for Wise, a former jail inmate. Wise suffers from epilepsy.

Wise was in prison for homicide by vehicle on July 16, 2010 when he suffered a seizure. Wise claims that he was delayed treatment due to jail Capt. Michael King not immediately calling 911. Joyal said that an inmate who claimed to see Wise being mistreated would not have been able to see it happen. Joyal told this to the Washington County Prison Board following the trial in April.

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Multiple employees of the jail were named in the lawsuit, but many of them were removed by the court as the case progressed. In the end, the court ruled for the county. On behalf of the county’s insurance carrier, Joyal asked for sanctions against the people who filed and handled the case for Wise. The $10,000 will be applied toward the $25,000 deductible for the county.

Joyal is planning to file a separate motion against Fisher for his role in a frivolous lawsuit. His motion will also request sanctions.

“We’re pretty happy with it,” Joyal said. “And we’ll see what happens. There have been a lot cases where people have tried to get them. Judge (Nora Barry) Fisher is probably going to have to write an opinion.”

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