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$150,000 Settlement In Missouri Jail Suicide Suit

On May 21, 2008, the Sheriff of Adair County, Missouri agreed to settle a wrongful death suit brought by the family of a prisoner who committed suicide while at the Adair County Detention Center (ACDC). The settlement requires the county to pay $150,000 to the family of the prisoner, and up to $15,000 in costs.

From December 25, 2003 to December 29, 2003, Chris Maheu was incarcerated at the ACDC. Maheu, who suffered from depression, was placed on suicide watch after other prisoners and monitored telephone calls revealed that Maheu was suffering from suicidal tendencies.

While on suicide watch in a single cell, staff at the ACDC failed to properly monitor Maheu in accordance with jail policies, and failed to ensure that Maheu’s cell was not equipped with means for Maheu to commit suicide. Maheu hung himself on December 29th.

Maheu’s family sued the Sheriff of Adair County and other ACDC staff alleging violations of Maheu’s 8th and 14th Amendment rights. Maheu’s family alleged that the defendants were “grossly negligent, reckless and callously indifferent” to the suicide risk posed by Maheu.

The defendants agreed to settle the case for $150,000. Half of the settlement proceeds, $75,000, were paid to the attorney representing Maheu’s family, with the other half split between Maheu’s mother and surviving child. An additional $9,334.61 in court costs were paid by the defendants along with the attorney’s fees and expenses for the court appointed Guardian Ad Litem for Maheu’s child. Maheu’s family was represented by Daniel Miller of Columbia, Missouri. See: Maheu v. Clark, USDC ND MO, Case No. 2:06-CV-00069-ERW.

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Related legal case

Maheu v. Clark