Clermont County pays $750K to settle inmate excessive-force lawsuit

Inmate says jail guards broke his spine in 3 places
Posted at 5:11 PM, Dec 09, 2021

BATAVIA, Ohio — Clermont County Commissioners approved a $750,000 settlement with a former inmate who accused jail guards of beating him so badly they broke his spine in three places and caused him to spend six days in a hospital intensive care unit for kidney failure.

Commissioners signed off on the settlement with Jared Schwartz Dec. 6, agreeing to an up-front cash payment of $565,262 to his Cleveland law firm for disbursement, followed by $184,738 in a structured settlement annuity contract to be paid to Schwartz in 2028.

“We believed the best option for the people of Clermont County was to settle this case now rather than risk further litigation expenses. The parties agree that neither the county nor any of its employees admit any liability or any wrongdoing in this matter. Having resolved this matter, all parties can move forward,” according to a statement from a county spokesman.

Schwartz filed an excessive-force lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati in June 2019 against Clermont County, Sheriff Robert Leahy, the sheriff’s office and seven jail guards.

The suit arose out of a Feb. 17, 2018 incident that happened while Schwartz was awaiting trial in jail. Schwartz claims he was beaten by officers who threw him to the ground, hit him repeatedly, hit him with a can of pepper spray and punched him in the face at least 10 times.

While he was handcuffed and defenseless, Schwartz said, a guard delivered a drop knee kick to his torso stating, “here’s one for the road,” followed by several knee strikes to his ribs. Officers dragged him out of his cell and one jail guard kicked him in the buttocks, according to the lawsuit.

After the beating, Schwartz claims he waited more than seven hours until officers took him to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with a right rib fracture, three vertebra fractures and acute kidney failure. He spent six days in the intensive care unit, and continues to suffer physical and emotional pain, according to the suit.

Schwartz alleges that the sheriff’s department did not take any remedial or disciplinary action against the officers involved, according to the lawsuit.

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