Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, December 9, 2019

St. Clair County settles another jail hanging suit in federal court; Amount not disclosed

Lawsuits

By The Madison County Record | Mar 13, 2019

General court 09

BENTON – For the second time in two weeks, St. Clair County sheriff Rick Watson settled a suit over the death of a jail inmate. 

Watson and the estate of Bradley Scarpi notified U.S. District Judge Phil Gilbert of the settlement on March 6, and Gilbert approved it on March 7. 

Watson and estate administrator Dwayne White, Scarpi’s brother, did not report the amount of the settlement. 


Watson

Jurors awarded the estate $301,000 at trial last December, but White petitioned Seventh Circuit appellate judges for a new trial.

He argued that Gilbert dismissed a claim he should have allowed. 

The settlement ends the appeal. 

White’s lawyers from Northwestern University had settled a similar suit for the estate of Joshua Jurcich on Feb. 25, for $850,000.

Scarpi and Jurcich died in 2014, by hanging themselves. 

Scarpi’s estate sued Watson and jail employees in 2016, claiming they “failed to protect him and went so far as to encourage him to kill himself.” 

Jurors awarded the estate $150,000 in compensatory damages, $150,000 in pecuniary damages, and $1,000 in punitive damages. 

Each side claimed Gilbert should order the other side to pay its legal fees and costs under civil rights law that allows such an award to a prevailing party. 

Watson claimed he prevailed because jurors awarded less than the county’s final settlement offer. 

As part of the settlement, each side withdrew its motion for fees and costs.

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Northwestern UniversitySt. Clair County Sheriff's Office

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