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Los Angeles County Pays $110,000 for Wrongful Jail Death

Los Angeles County settled a lawsuit for the wrongful death of Julius Gray in the North County Correctional Facility on November 21, 1998. Gray, jailed for corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, died from a ruptured aneurysm, according to the homicide investigation and coroners report. But Gray's family's forensic pathologist came to a different conclusion: while Gray did die from the aneurysm, the aneurysm was due to a micro-fracture of the neck, caused in turn by blunt force trauma.

During the course of the ensuing litigation, Gray's 12year-old nephew and 13-year-old niece, who had visited their uncle on the day of his death, testified that they saw Gray being hit and choked by a Sheriff's Deputy, a fact never told to the homicide investigators. Nonetheless, the Countys experts remained resolute that there was no fracture.

Projecting a possible $1.3 million verdict if a jury believed Gray's pathologist and the two child witnesses, the County -- having already expended $100,360 in defense fees fighting the case, agreed to settle out for $110,000 in April, 2006. See: Gray v. County of Los Angeles, USDC SD CA, Case Nos. CV 99-7149 CBM (RCX); CV 99-11315 CBM (RCX).

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Related legal case

Gray v. County of Los Angeles