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$3M Settlement for Fatal Suffolk County Prison Scuffle


Posted on Aug 16, 2011

Suffolk County has settled with the estate of a man, who died while in police custody from a head injury a prison guard inflicted, for $3 million.

Scott Eriksen of Mastic -- 20 years old at the time of his death -- was driving in Bohemia when he was stopped by deputy Sheriffs in June 2005. He was stopped for an expired registration, but was arrested for possession of marijuana. He was with his younger brother, Gary, at the time.

By 6:15pm, the Erikson brothers were in a Central Islip holding cell. According to Gary Erikson's affidavit, the sheriff's deputy, Edward Simovich, had taken Scott by the throat and threw him into a bench, causing injury to his head. Simovich's deposition tells the differing account of a mutual scuffle, in which both belligerents fell into the cell.

Regardless, Eriksen's head began to bleed profusely. Medical help arrived two hours later and found Eriksen drooling and shaking. He was declared brain-dead and was subsequently taken off of life support. A 2007 report by the state Commission of Correction shows that the deputies should have called for emergency help.

The settlement, however, was not accompanied by an admission of wrongdoing, which irked some lawmakers, who wanted to make sure this situation would never be repeated.

As a practicing medical malpractice, wrongful death, and personal injury attorney in New York, I deal with wrongful death tragedies every day. If you would like more information about how medical malpractice and accident cases work in the state of New York, I encourage you to explore my educational medical malpractice and wrongful death website. If you have legal questions,  I urge you to pick up the phone and call me at 516-487-8207 or by e-mail at [email protected] to answer your questions. That's what I do every day. I welcome your call.

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