PWRFL obtains $3 million settlement from King County on behalf of client who was severely beaten in King County.

King County agreed to pay $3 million to PWRFL's client, who was severely beaten by another incarcerated individual while at King County Jail.

In July of 2018, PWRFL’s client, Toby Meagher, was returned to King County Jail from Western State Hospital. Mr. Meagher, who suffers from mental illness, was housed with fellow inmate, Troy Leae.  Mr. Leae had been returned to general population at King County Jail in April of 2018, following a year’s long string of violent assaults on at least eight individuals while in custody and a competency-restoration stay at Western State Hospital.

Despite refusing to comply with the medication regime that was meant to stabilize him as well as violent acts of self-harm, Mr. Leae’s security classification was twice lowered over the three months after his return to King County.

Soon after Mr. Meagher's return hereported to jail officials that he was being threatened by his cellmate and pleaded to be rehoused. Although jail officials knew of Mr. Leae’s violent history, and though the 5-foot-10, 300lb Mr. Leae towered over the 145lb Mr. Meagher, his requests were ignored, and he was told to “handle it.”

On July 25, 2018, less than an hour after his final plea to be moved from his cell was disregarded, Mr. Meagher’s fears became reality, and he was viciously attacked by his cellmate. Mr. Meagher, was found unconscious in his cell, his face unrecognizable after Mr. Leae pounded his head against a metal sink. Mr. Meagher suffered a traumatic brain injury, broken bones in his face, damaged facial nerves and broken teeth. The attack greatly exacerbated his mental health issues and he continues to deal with trauma from the attack, requiring 24/7 support and care.

PWRFL’s Felix Luna and Tomás Gahan represented Mr. Meagher and his family against King County and the employees of the jail. PWRFL and Mr. Meagher’s family maintain that had proper protocol been followed regarding the housing of mentally ill inmates or if Mr. Meagher’s pleas been taken seriously, this assault would have been prevented. After four years of extensive litigation, including a decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed the District Court’s denial of qualified immunity to the jail employees named in the suit, King County settled the matter and agreed to pay a total of $3,000,000 to Mr. Meagher.

Read more about this case in The Seattle Times.