Starke County Commissioners Discuss Class Action Lawsuit

Starke County Commissioners ( L to R ) Kathy Norem, Dan Bridegroom, Jennifer Davis

The Starke County Commissioners met yesterday to discuss the Class Action Suit brought against the County by inmate Jack Haut. Because the suit is not covered by insurance, the County must come up with the money for legal expenses. County Attorney, Marty Lucas, advised the Commissioners that it will cost a minimum of $100,000 in attorney fees. And he said don’t expect a quick resolution.

Haut, in his suit, is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief because of the conditions at the Starke County Jail. One part of the suit is the claim that the jail is consistently overcrowded.

If Haut is successful, the County will not be liable for a financial settlement, but could be forced to accomplish certain conditions at the jail.

Yesterday, the Commissioners decided to ask the Council to approve the first $100,000 in expenses from the $375,000 savings that had been realized from the reworking of the County Health Insurance fund. Ironically, that money was earmarked for jail repairs.

Haut has been incarcerated since a car vs. motorcycle accident that claimed the life of Tom White last summer.