Judge OKs $725K settlement against Whitley County sheriff

March 27, 2015

Defendants jailed in Whitley County more than 48 hours without a probable cause hearing in violation of U.S. Supreme Court caselaw will share a $725,000 settlement, a federal judge ruled.

Plaintiffs will receive $43 per hour of over-detention based on terms of a settlement conditionally approved by Judge Theresa L. Springmann of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division.

The order signed Thursday notes only one person declined to join a class that includes 243 people entitled to a share in the settlement. The class consists of people arrested and held in the Columbia City Jail for more than two days prior to appearing before a judge. The over-detentions took place from March 30, 2006, through 2009.

The court also awarded class counsel Christopher C. Myers and Ilene M. Smith of Fort Wayne attorney fees from the settlement fund in the amount of $317,000. Class representative Lawrence Bickel will receive an incentive award of $10,000 in addition to his share of the settlement fund.

The case is Lawrence M. Bickel, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated v. Sheriff of Whitley County, 1:08-cv-102.



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