Settlement reached against former police officer in suit alleging wrongful death

By Kyla Asbury | Oct 16, 2017

HUNTINGTON – A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit against a former Huntington police officer and others alleging the wrongful death of a woman after the officer used excessive force.

Cabell County 911 settled the suit for $35,000 and the city of Huntington settled for $337,500, for a total of $372,500, according to the Oct. 9 motion for court approval of wrongful death settlement.

The motion requests that the court approve the settlement as being fair, reasonable and in the best interest of the plaintiff.

The plaintiff seeks approval of payment of an attorney’s fee of 33 and one-third percent, totaling $124,166.54, pursuant to the agreement between the plaintiff and counsel, and litigation expenses in the amount of $53,682.92.

The estate of Annie Earle will receive $192,800.54, according to the document. The plaintiff, Lumumba Earle requests the court to apportion the balance of the settlement proceeds to be split equally among Annie Earle’s children, which three of the children receiving $27,542.94 and four of the children receiving $27,542.93.

The plaintiff was represented by Richard W. Weston of Weston Robertson.

On Jan. 11, 2014, it was reported to Cabell County 911 that Annie Earle had left St. Mary’s Medical Center against medical advice while they were trying to obtain a mental hygiene order to hold her. A 911 operator told Huntington Police Department officers that an active mental hygiene order existed, even though it did not.

While at St. Mary’s Annie Earle became agitated and was held against her will. This eventually led to a confrontation between Annie Earle and former officer Joshua Nield, during which he used excessive force by kneeing Annie Earle in the chest, causing a laceration of her heart. Annie Earle died soon after.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 3:14-cv-29536

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