Federal lawsuit against city involving overdose can move forward

September 20, 2018
A wrongful death lawsuit against the city from the estate of a man who died in police custody while chained to a desk in 2015 can move forward, a federal magistrate ruled this week.   Lance E. Royal Jr., 33, was arrested after a traffic stop in June 2015 as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation. As he was taken from the car, police noticed he was chewing cocaine, according to court documents.   Royal overdosed and had a seizure and died while chained to an interrogation desk at the Fort Wayne Police Department, the documents say.   Royal’s wife argues in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne five police officers and the city caused his death by denying him medical care after he was arrested.   In a 56-page opinion filed Monday, Magistrate Paul R. Cherry sided with the city on that claim and ruled the officers are immune from those allegations under the Indiana Tort Claims Act. But he ruled the city can be held liable under a legal theory that says a party is responsible for the acts of its agents.   mleblanc@jg.net
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