Settlement reached in wrongful death suit

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A federal civil lawsuit involving the city of Celina was recently settled. The suit concerned the alleged wrongful death of a man when he was shot by an Ohio police officer. In the settlement, the man’s estate was awarded $800,000.

The details of the incident are unclear, but it seemed to have started on April 10, 2013, when the police officer was called to investigate a man accused of improperly displaying a firearm in public. The exact events leading up to the shooting were not detailed in a news report, but the officer is said to have shot and killed the man. The handgun the man was accused of displaying unloaded, and the man’s family claimed that the shooting violated the shooting victim’s civil rights.

The man’s family decided to file a wrongful death suit naming the officer, along with the city of Celina, as defendants. In exchange for the financial settlement, the lawsuit was subsequently dismissed. In addition, neither the officer nor the city admitted responsibility. Since the suit was filed, the Celina Police Department has implemented several new policies including its use of force policies.

In this instance, the family of the man who lost his life decided to accept the settlement, presumably because they believed it was in their best interest. When a a wrongful death lawsuit is litigated in Ohio, whether in federal or state court, the plaintiff is not required to accept a settlement. A viable claim may be litigated through trial if the plaintiff feels that choice is the most likely to produce the most favorable outcome based upon the available evidence.

Source: 19actionnews.com, “Wrongful death lawsuit settled with city of Celina, Ohio“, Jan. 6, 2015