Indiana woman reaches $640K settlement in son's jail death

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A southeastern Indiana woman has reached a $640,000 settlement in her wrongful death lawsuit that accused local officials of "callousness or reckless indifference" in her son's death at a county jail.

Lynn Brewsaugh had sued Decatur County's sheriff and the county's jail staff in federal court over the March 2014 death of her son, M. Shane Satterfield. The Greensburg man was serving a 14-day sentence for drunken driving when he died at the jail.

A coroner determined that Satterfield, 38, died of natural causes from complications of alcohol withdrawal.

Brewsaugh's attorney, Stephen Wagner, said a confidentiality agreement bars Brewsaugh from revealing specifics about the settlement.

But county Auditor Janet Chadwell told the Greensburg Daily News that the county's liability insurance company told her it settled the lawsuit for $640,000.

Brewsaugh said the settlement was reached late last year in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. Court documents show the case was dismissed Dec. 30.

The settlement award was split between Brewsaugh and Satterfield's father.

Brewsaugh said that while the settlement brought some justice, it's an empty victory.

"I miss my son immensely," she said. "Nothing can bring him back. I struggle with it every day."

Brewsaugh alleged that the jail staff didn't properly respond to Satterfield's deteriorating condition, which included hallucinations, talking to imaginary people and believing there was a bomb in his cell. She also alleged that staff placed her son on a 30-minute medical watch but allowed hours to pass between checks.

Inspections at the time of Satterfield's death indicated that the jail in Greensburg, about 50 miles southeast of Indianapolis, did not have sufficient staff to adequately supervise all of the inmates around the clock and that the number of inmates exceeded the jail's stated capacity.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.