August 21, 2011
LaNia Coleman, The Bay City Times
BAY CITY — A federal judge in Bay City has approved a $1 million settlement in the wrongful death suit filed by the family of Brett Elder, the Bay City teen who died after Bay City police used a Taser to subdue him.
Eugene Elder Sr. filed the lawsuit against the city and Cpl. James Lyman in December 2009, nine months after his 15-year-old son died at a party on South Catherine.
An autopsy showed the teen died of “alcohol-induced excited delirium” coupled with “application of an electromuscular disruption device.”
Officers were called by party-goers who said the teen attacked a woman, placing her in a headlock.
Bay County Prosecutor Kurt Asbury has said the teen was intoxicated, “highly agitated and combative” and “took a fighting stance” against three officers.
Lyman deployed his Taser, the probes of which struck Brett Elder in the torso, according to reports. Witnesses claimed the teen had his hands cuffed behind his back when the Taser was fired.
Based on the state police investigation, Asbury declined to authorize criminal charges, saying the evidence did not prove any officers committed criminal acts.
Acting on the recommendation of retired Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Pamela Harwood, who served as mediator, U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Ludington signed an order for the disbursement of $1 million to four of the teen’s family members and the family’s attorneys.
The settlement provides $219,554 for Eugene Elder Sr.; $200,000 for Eugene Elder Jr. and Eric Elder, Brett Elder’s brothers; and $1,000 for Nancy Malucci, Brett Elder’s grandmother, court records show.
Another $7,500 is to be paid to attorney Howard Linden for administering Brett Elder’s estate.
The remaining $371,946 goes to Southfield attorneys Geoffrey N. Fieger, James J. Harrington IV and Robert M. Giroux Jr. of Fieger, Fieger, Kenney & Giroux, who represented Eugene Elder, according to court files.
The Bay City Times could not reach the Fieger law firm, Bay City attorney Kenneth G. Galica or city officials.
Eugene Elder Jr. declined to comment and other family members could not be reached.
WELCOME to TRUTH ... not TASERS
Sunday, August 21, 2011
August 21, 2011