Jacksonville attorney Michael D. Marrese will represent the estate of a Clay County Jail inmate who died last March after allegedly being confined to a restraint chair, fitted with a hooded mask, and repeatedly maced with pepper spray underneath the mask by corrections staff.
Detailed in an online article by Clay Today, the family of inmate Daniel Joseph Linsinbigler, 19, is suing Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler and eight jail employees in an “individual capacity” over the workers’ alleged violation of Linsinbigler’s Constitutional rights leading up to his sudden death. Associate Medical Examiner Stacey A. Simons, M.D. has ruled Linsinbigler’s death a homicide, with the official cause of death listed as asphyxiation. The lawsuit claims this was a result of “excessive force” used by prison staff.
According to Marrese, money has nothing to do with the suit. Linsinbigler’s family merely wants to know the truth about their son’s untimely death.
“For example, the medical examiner ruled [Linsinbigler’s death] a homicide and the Sheriff’s Office cleared these deputies, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the family trying to find out what the truth of the matter is because those two findings don’t line up,” Marrese said.
Filed in Jacksonville in U.S. District Court, the lawsuit does not seek specified compensatory and punitive damage amounts. Instead, Marrese says, it will be left up to the jury to suggest an appropriate level of compensation, as Linsinbigler’s estate seeks only an award of costs, reasonable attorney fees, and “other relief as the Court deems appropriate.”
“For the family, frankly, this isn’t about a dollar. This is about the civil rights of their son. This is about their son who was being detained,” the Morgan & Morgan attorney told Clay Today. “They maced him and put a mask over his head and he was left tied up in a chair and was found dead in a chair after screaming for help.”
The lawsuit claims Linisinbigler was denied due process of law, was treated improperly in terms of search and seizure, and was treated in a cruel and unusual manner by jail staff, allegedly violating his fourth, eighth, and fourteenth amendment rights, respectively.
Filed by estate attorney C. William Curtis III, who is represented by Marrese, the suit further alleges that even after Linsinbigler was found without a pulse, the defendants unreasonably delayed notifying jail medical personnel. It’s these aspects of Linsinbigler’s death, the alleged actions and omissions of jail employees, which are at the center of his estate’s suit.
“The family just wants to know the truth in what happened and they can live with that,” Marrese said.