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Monroe Co. Sheriff Allowed To Settle Complaints Out Of Court

The move could save money by keeping some common types of lawsuits out of the Monroe County court system.

Monroe county jail

Photo: Ben Skirvin/WFIU News

Some types of suits are filed often against the Monroe County Sheriff, with most thrown out almost as often.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office is the most sued department in all of county government. After hearing an appeal from Sheriff Jim Kennedy the council voted to add a new line to the department’s budget. That will give the sheriff’s department the ability to settle a suit from funds already in the department’s budget without pushing the case through the judicial system.

Kennedy says his department is often sued over personal injury auto accidents on roads. He says attorneys assert a lack of traffic control devices or unsafe road conditions and name the sheriff’s office as a defendant. While these cases are usually dismissed they do go through the legal process.

But Kennedy says the most frequent suits actually come from within the Monroe County Correctional Facility where a number of inmates have a strong drug dependency.

“Our physician prescribes a slightly different drug frankly in many cases it’s not as expensive as the drug they were either on legally or illicitly and they don’t like that so sometimes they file lawsuits based on that,” Kennedy says.

Kennedy says sheriff’s offices around Indiana all experience a high number of lawsuits filed against them but Monroe County is unique in one way.

“Strangely enough in this county though unlike a lot of counties we have very few lawsuits that originate because of food,” Kennedy says.

Kennedy says most of the inmates praise the kitchen staff.

Kyle Clayton

Kyle Clayton is a WFIU news producer. He is currently studying journalism at Indiana University and comes to WFIU following an internship in the fall of 2011. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned home to Indiana in 2008 to begin his education and pursue his interests in writing.

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  • http://twitter.com/jamesananda James McNamara

    Very interesting story. #wonk

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