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$1,825,000 Settlement in Alabama Prisoner’s Death from Flesh-Eating Bacteria

$1,825,000 Settlement in Alabama Prisoner's Death from Flesh-Eating Bacteria

The settlement in a prisoner's death from flesh-eating bacteria at Alabama's Mobile Metro Jail now totals $1,825,000.

In September 2007, the City of Mobile agreed to pay $375,000 to settle its part in a lawsuit filed by Dana Carpenter, the ex-wife of James Carpenter, 42, who died at the jail on July 28, 2000. The $375,000 settlement is in addition to a $1.45 million settlement paid in 2003 by then-sheriff Jack Tillman and other county officials.

"I would hope and pray that Ms. Carpenter and her family made a difference by bringing this lawsuit and that this will never happen to anyone else at Mobile Metro Jail," said her attorney, Frank Hawthorne.

Jailers discovered James Carpenter's body 15 days after he was arrested for loitering, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He was shackled and handcuffed to the bed in his cell; medical examiners cited flesh-eating bacteria as the cause of death.

Even though the Metro Mobile Jail is run by the Sheriff?s office, Ms. Carpenter's attorneys argued in federal court that the City was also liable for her ex-husband's death because it had a duty to ensure its prisoners received constitutionally adequate treatment.

Ms. Carpenter had originally filed suit against the City, County and State in 2002, but in 2006 U.S. District Judge Brevard Hand ruled that three state officials named in the lawsuit could not be held liable for the County's actions.

Ms. Carpenter's lawyers also noted that her ex-husband never saw a municipal judge during his 15-day imprisonment, despite a law requiring suspects to be arraigned within 72 hours of their arrest. See: Carpenter v. Tillman, USDC SD AL, Case No. 1:02-cv-00625-BH-M.

Addiitonal Source: Associated Press

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Related legal case

Carpenter v. Tillman