An unfortunate teenager who was placed at Chad Youth Enhancement Center in Tennesee died in June, 2007, following an incident where two guards used an improper choke hold on him.
The incident, characterized by plaintiff's attorney as a "brutal attack", happened in full view of a surveillance camera. Although the coroner ruled the death a homicide, the local grand jury refused to indict the two Chad employees.
Suit was initiated in US Federal Court, by the teen's mother.
How does a teenager's life warrant a $10.5 million settlement? In terms of money damages for those who might have counted on him for support in the future, his work life had not even begun. He was placed in juvenile detention for stealing a car and violating his probation through marijuana use. At this early stage in his life, his earning potential was uncertain and unpromising.
The dollar figure settled on must have been for his pain and suffering just before death. Under New York law, when the interval of time between injury and death is short, the factors to be considered include the victim's degree of consciousness, the severity and duration of pain and the apprehension of impending death.
Asphyxiation and the struggle to breathe cannot be anything other than horrible, however, the figure agreed to seems excessive to me.
Since the case was settled by agreement of the parties, the sum will not be appealed, it will be paid.