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$2.1 Million Awarded in Beating Ordered by Kentucky Jail Guard

On July 9, 2021, a federal jury awarded $2.1 million in damages to an alleged Kentucky shoplifter who was beaten by fellow prisoners at the Shelby County Detention Center on the orders of a jail guard.

According to the complaint, Joshua Reece was 31 when he was arrested for pilfering two boxes of fruit roll-ups from a Dollar Store in Simpsonville in November 2015. When he arrived at the county lockup, guard William Anthony Carey recognized Reece as his wife’s former romantic partner and placed him in a holding cell with violent detainees, ordering them to beat him. Reece was left with permanent injuries and memory loss.

Carey was fired and convicted of a minor felony, serving almost none of a 90-day sentence. But after news of the attack was published, the FBI got involved, and Carey was charged with violating Reece’s civil rights. He is still serving a four-year sentence in federal prison in New Jersey for that conviction. Though Shelby County was dismissed from the civil lawsuit, Carey’s attorney said it’s still on the hook for the damages awarded to Reece.

Reece was represented by Garry Adams and Daniel Canon. The breakdown of damages is as follows: $400,604.50 for loss of earnings; $83,666.79 for medical expenses; $1,300,000.00 for pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life; and $400,000 for punitive damages. See: Reece v. Carey, U.S.D.C, E.D. Ky, Case No. 3:16-cv-00069-GFVT-EBA. 

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Related legal case

Reece v. Carey