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Indiana County Pays $28,000 to Settle Prisoner’s Excessive Force Suit

by Dale Chappell

LaPorte County, Indiana has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former prisoner who claimed county jailers used excessive force against him.

The suit, filed by Marcin Kulbacki, alleged that guards at the LaPorte County jail tased him and otherwise used excessive force, causing head and facial injuries, after he was arrested and jailed on a DUI charge in February 2015.

Surveillance video showed Kulbacki being booked into the jail with no injuries to his head or face, and the medical intake report indicated he had no injuries. However, his booking photo showed significant facial injuries, including a badly swollen eye. He claimed in his lawsuit that guards tased and beat him in the jail’s shower area where there are no cameras.

When Kulbacki asked to be seen by medical staff, he was told “the nurse was too busy to see him,” his complaint stated. After he was charged and released, he went to a hospital where he was treated for contusions, a head injury and fractured facial bones.

Kulbacki filed suit in LaPorte Superior Court in January 2016, claiming he had been subjected to excessive force in violation of his constitutional rights. He said the guards’ conduct “was outrageous in character and so extreme in degree as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and is intolerable in a civilized society,” and added the beating was in retaliation for his refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test.

After Kulbacki’s lawsuit was removed to federal court, LaPorte County officials agreed to settle the case for $28,000 in September 2017. Kulbacki was represented by attorney Scott L. Barnhart. See: Kulbacki v. Boyd, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Ind.), Case No. 3:16-cv-00057-JD. 

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Related legal case

Kulbacki v. Boyd