Montgomery County agrees to $3.5 million settlement in jail death

Robert A. Richardson Sr., 28, suffered a seizure and died in the Montgomery County Jail. Lawyers for the county and the family have reached agreement for a $3.5 million settlement.

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Robert A. Richardson Sr., 28, suffered a seizure and died in the Montgomery County Jail. Lawyers for the county and the family have reached agreement for a $3.5 million settlement.

Montgomery County and its insurers have agreed to pay $3.5 million to the family of a man who died while handcuffed in the county jail in 2012, according to attorneys who negotiated the deal.

Robert A. Richardson Sr., 28, suffered a seizure and corrections officers and medical personnel put him in handcuffs and restrained him face down until realizing 22 minutes later that Richardson had died.

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“It’s a huge victory for the family in terms of what the civil justice system can offer them,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Nicholas DiCello, adding that the civil trial was scheduled to begin Monday before the sides started final negotiations in mid-December. “The family’s been living with this and pursuing justice since Robert’s death back in 2012.”

Attorney Paul Krepps said he represents ex-Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer and several corrections officers but that legal fees will be paid by the county’s insurer.

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“The amount is $3.5 million,” Krepps said. “It was a case that both parties agreed that we should sit down and try to resolve it. I believe that both sides are pleased that we were able to resolve it.”

DiCello said several steps must happen before the agreement is official, including probate court proceedings, finalizing the details and filing in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.

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The settlement — along with $500,000 paid earlier in a settlement by jail health-care provider NaphCare — brings the overall total to $4 million due to Richardson’s family that includes nine minor children.

“We’ve been to the Court of Appeals. We’ve been up to the Supreme Court of the United States and back. So it’s a great victory as far as justice can be obtained by way of a settlement of the claims,” DiCello said. “And the family is happy in that regard.”

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Richardson was in jail for not appearing for a court hearing related to unpaid child support. He would have been released if $2,500 had been posted on his behalf, according to court documents.

“You know it’s always tough to bring closure to these situations because obtaining a monetary settlement — which will go a long way for his minor children and his family members of course,” DiCello said, “that’s really a far cry from what they’re going through in terms of their son, and brother, and father, and grandson, being gone.”

RELATED: Internal investigation finds no violations of policy

An internal investigation found no wrongdoing by jail personnel, finding that employees “restricted Mr. Richardson’s movement to prevent Mr. Richardson from injuring himself.”

But in a deposition, sheriff’s office Capt. Chuck Crosby admitted that Richardson was placed in restraints while in a prone position, which is in violation of departmental policy.

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