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Florida Personal Injury

Family Agrees to Multi-Million Dollar Settlement for Son’s Wrongful Death

According to reports, the family of a 19-year-old boy who suffocated and died while strapped into a restraint chair at the Clay County Jail has reached a multi-million dollar settlement for their wrongful death lawsuit filed against the jail. Daniel Linsinbigler, 19, was asphyxiated in Clay County Jail in March 2013. The death was ruled a homicide by the state Medical Examiner, but a subsequent investigation cleared the police involved of any wrongdoing.

According to the police report, Daniel was picked up on March 2, 2013 after barging into hotel rooms at the Stay Inn Suites in Orange Park, where he was living at the time. He unfortunately had a history of mental illness and apparently had suffered a mental break after smoking a once-legal convenience store drug, K2 (otherwise known as Spice).

When police found Daniel, he was running around naked and proclaiming that he was Jesus Christ. They arrested him and charged him with two misdemeanors. After several days in jail, Daniel had an outburst, began kicking the door of his cell, and screaming. A corrections officer removed Daniel from his cell, pepper sprayed him, and forcibly placed him in a restraint chair.

Daniel began to form excess saliva from the pepper spray, so officers placed a spit mask over his head. According to other witnesses, that is when he began calling for help. He was complaining that he could not breathe and had chest pains. No one came to his aid, and he eventually died.

The family has long claimed that the police were negligent in their treatment of the teenager. In the settlement with Clay County Jail, they agreed to drop their claim of negligence in exchange for $2.2 million. The agreement specifically forbids the family from commenting on the terms of the settlement, and Clay County officials also declined to comment on the settlement costs, which will ultimately be borne by the county taxpayers.

Florida Wrongful Death

In Florida, wrongful death is defined by statute in the state’s laws. Sections 768.16 – 768.26 are collectively known as the “Florida Wrongful Death Act.” Within these statutes, wrongful death is defined as “when any death is caused by a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” The purpose of the act is to shift the losses resulting from the death from the victim’s family to the ones responsible for the death.

A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed in addition to or in place of a criminal lawsuit if no criminal liability was found. Potential beneficiaries of a wrongful death lawsuit typically include parents, a spouse or partner, and children of the victim, but anyone who relied on the person financially can also be an interested party. Damages for a wrongful death lawsuit can involve economic and non-economic damages, and they include:

  • Medical and funeral expenses;
  • Lost wages and potential earnings;
  • Loss of benefits;
  • Loss of inheritance;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Loss of care and protection;
  • Loss of companionship; and
  • Loss of consortium.

Call a Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you have a loved one that has died as the result of the negligent or reckless acts of another in Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Fort Myers, or West Palm Beach, let the experienced wrongful death lawyers at The Pendas Law Firm help. Call or contact the office today for a free and confidential consultation of your care.

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