Inmate death lawsuit against Washington County dismissed

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Monday afternoon against Washington County, the jail, the sheriff and several jailers that was filed by the parents of an inmate who died nearly three years ago.

Stewart Peppers was 22-years-old when he died in April 2013 while at the Washington County Detention Center. His parents filed a lawsuit claiming he was beaten while restrained.

Autopsy results released in 2014 listed Peppers death as accidental and the result of a condition called excited delirium, which can lead to hallucinations or death.

The suit, which sought $21 million, was dismissed in federal court in Greeneville Monday afternoon by Judge Ronnie Greer.

In an opinion that accompanied the judgement, Greer wrote that the court had trouble determining the “precise allegations” in the case.

In the order, Greer wrote “that the plaintiffs recover nothing of the defendants and that the action of plaintiffs against the defendants be dismissed on the merits.”

“Although the case was scheduled to go to trial starting on March 8th, the Court determined that there was not any admissible evidence to prove that the officers violated Mr. Pepper’s constitutional rights,” Jeff Ward, counsel for the defendants, said in a news release. “Thus, the Judge determined that the officers were entitled to have the case dismissed without having to go through a trial.”

Copyright WJHL 2016. All rights reserved.

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