Excessive Delay in Prisoner Release Subjects County to Liability for Jail Assault

KENNETH E. KING v. ANDERSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE
Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys:

Jonathan Swann Taylor, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Anderson County, Tennessee.

Bruce D. Fox and John A. Willis, Clinton, Tennessee, and Ronald C. Koksal, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Kenneth E. King.

Judge: SUSANO

Kenneth E. King was arrested for driving on a revoked license. He was put in a cell with several violent criminals. At his arraignment, the court ordered him released. The person charged with processing the release delayed his release by simply doing nothing. While awaiting his release, Mr. King was assaulted by one of his cellmates. He sustained serious injuries, including partial loss of vision in one eye. He filed this action against Anderson County (“the County”). After a bench trial, the court found the County 55% at fault and King 45% at fault for provoking the assault. It determined that the total damages were $170,000 reduced to $93,500 to account for King’s comparative fault. The County appeals. We affirm.

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