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Louisiana wrongful death claim takes new turn

The death of a loved one is devastating. Moving forward can be particularly difficult when there is a belief that the death was caused by the wrong doing of another person. The family of Willie Lee is now seeking justice through a wrongful death claim filed against Sheriff Marlin Gusman.

Lee died on March 15, 2014, while in police custody. The 40-year-old was arrested for criminal trespass, unauthorized entry and criminal damage to property. It has been alleged that Lee died after being beaten by inmates and abused by deputies who failed to provide proper medical attention after his injuries. Instead, Lee died after a fatal cardiac arrest.

Attorneys for Lee's family have filed a motion to compel in Civil District Court on September 15, 2014. Attorney Logan Greenberg said he was forced to take drastic action after the sheriff's office failed to produce requested documents and have not communicated with counsel. The first deadline to provide documents came on July 15 and was ignored. A follow-up email was sent on August 1, 2014, and September 8, 2014. On October 24, 2014, the sheriff's office was ordered to appear in court to address the motion.

The state of Louisiana allows certain people to filed wrongful death claims. If the deceased has children or a spouse, they are entitled to compensation. If the deceased does not have children or a spouse, the parents of the deceased can pursue compensation. Anyone who believes that they may have grounds for a wrongful death claim should seek the counsel of an attorney.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "Sheriff Gusman ignores records requests in wrongful death lawsuit, family says," Richard Webster, Oct. 3, 2014

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