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Overton Commissioners Approve $1.3 Million Lawsuit Settlement

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Overton Commissioners Approve $1.3 Million Lawsuit Settlement

The Overton County Commission agreed Monday night to a $1.3 million settlement of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Jonathan Mark Hargis died while in the custody of the Overton Sheriff’s Department in 2021. County Executive Steven Barlow said the settlement would be the best way to protect the ten county employees impacted by the lawsuit.

“We feel that if we go to court there is a chance, even though we think we have a strong case, but there is a chance that it would put it off on the individuals,” Barlow said. “So the vote tonight is to bring that in and try to protect our citizens, our workers. That’s the ultimate goal.”

Barlow said the county met with the parties involved in the lawsuit before the settlement figure was chosen. He said the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation conducted multiple investigations into the incident and found no wrongdoing.

Chairman Darwin Clark said the county will have five to eight years to pay the settlement.

Attorney Robyn Williams said the lawsuit is a wrongful death claim with allegations about whether or not Hargis was falsely imprisoned and whether any of the officers used excessive force when trying to restrain him.

“TBI did an investigation to determine whether there was any criminal activity on the part of the employees,” Williams said. “There was no criminal activity or charges brought. Of course, we have the civil litigation, which would determine whether or not civilly a jury believes that there was any wrongdoing.”

Commissioner Gregg Nivens said that Hargis was a mental patient from the hospital who was being restrained in an attempt to stop him from injuring himself.

“The hospital couldn’t handle him and they didn’t have anywhere for him to go,” Barlow said. “And he was, to let him go, he could hurt himself or hurt others, and so they asked us to hold him until they found a place for him. And that’s where he came in nice, but then he was trying to kill himself. And so they was trying to help him.”

Williams said the city of Livingston already chose to settle for its involvement in the incident.

“I just want the public to know, too, that there was a lot of aspects of this case that the attorneys could not bring out that involved our decision too,” Commissioner Donna Savage said.


The post Overton Commissioners Approve $1.3 Million Lawsuit Settlement appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.