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Settlement reached in Vaughn uprising lawsuit

James Morrison
Delaware Public Media

The state of Delaware has settled the lawsuit brought by the family of slain corrections officer Lt. Steven Floyd and others in the wake of February’s Vaughn prison uprising.

The plaintiffs will split about $7.5 million in the settlement reached in mediation with former federal judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr.

The settlement includes workers’ comp claims and provides employment related benefits for the state workers involved.

The two sides agree the claims in the suit remain in dispute,  and state officials - including current Gov. John Carney and former Governors Jack Markell and Ruth Ann Minner - admit no wrongdoing. A federal judge postponed a hearing to dismiss the lawsuit last month.

In a joint statement, all parties involved say they are settling to avoid the burden and expense of protracted litigation and to bring closure to the matter.

"Each of the injured parties and their families wish to thank the general public, the members of the COAD Union, the Delaware and Maryland State Troopers and other law enforcement officers on the scene on February 1st and 2nd, 2017, first responders and media for their support," read the Plaintiffs statement.

"For the reasons stated in our court filings, the claims against all of the individual Defendants lacked legal merit.  All of the Defendants wish to express, however, their condolences and respect.  It is there hope that this settlement with the Department of Correction will provide a measure of comfort to the officers, employees and their families, whose service and sacrifice should be honored by all Delawareans," read the defendants' statement.

Lt. Floyd died during February’s 18 hour riot at Vaughn Correctional Center. The state has filed charges against 18 inmates involved in the uprising. Sixteen of them face first-degree murder along with two counts of first-degree assault, four counts of first-degree kidnapping, and single counts of riot and  conspiracy.

An independent review ordered by Gov. John Carney found adverse working conditions for staff, frustrated inmates and inconsistent enforcement of rules.

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