Wrongful Death Defense Cases
Estate of Justin Sturgis v. Corrections Corporation of America
Corrections Corp. of America
Mr. Higby represented CCA in this claim by the Estate of Justin Sturgis. Mr. Sturgis came to the Bay County Jail on Valentine’s night and had been charged with DUI. Unbeknownst to the arresting officer, and to CCA, Mr. Sturgis had ingested a small baggy with over 10 pills of the drug “Ecstasy” as the officer approached his vehicle. Mr. Sturgis started to demonstrate erratic behavior after being taken into the holding area at the jail. The jail nurse called the Emergency Room at Bay Medical and was advised to follow up in two hours. Mr. Sturgis, who denied having taken any drugs, proceeded to go into malignant hypothermia and overdose. He was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The family brought a claim against CCA and the State Attorney’s office convened a Grand Jury investigation of CCA. Mr. Higby guided the company through both proceedings. No criminal information was issued against the company, and the civil claim by the family was settled for a confidential amount before suit was filed.
Estate of Chad Littles v. Corrections Corporation of America
Corrections Corp. of America:
Bay County Case #03-316-CA
Mr. Higby defended CCA in this wrongful death case by the Estate of Chad Littles, an 18-year-old inmate of the Jail Annex who was beaten to death and kicked in the head by a group of inmates in the “D” Dorm at the Jail Annex. The dormitory style housing areas at the jail Annex housed up to eighty inmates who were overseen by two guards and a camera monitoring system. The inmates targeted Mr. Littles, as they believed he had “snitched” and advised officers of contraband in the dormitory. The case was settled for a confidential amount after extensive litigation, but before trial. Mr. Higby retained renowned corrections expert Gary DeLand of Utah to opine on liability in the matter. DeLand’s testimony was critical in obtaining a reasonable settlement in the matter.