Indiana to pay family $25M in child death lawsuit

"Courtroom Gavel" by Joe Gratz, public domain

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (AP): Indiana officials have agreed to pay $25 million to a family that was wrongfully prosecuted by the state Department of Child Services for their 14-year-old daughter’s death.

The case was dismissed Wednesday after a settlement was reached.

According to court documents, the department sought to prosecute Roman and Lynnette Finnegan for neglect despite an investigation showing that Jessica Salyer died in 2005 from taking a prescribed medication that had a fatal interaction with another medication she took for a heart condition.

The Finnegans sued three of the department’s workers, an Indiana State Police detective and a doctor in 2008, claiming their constitutional rights had been violated.

In 2015, a jury found the officials sabotaged investigations into the girl’s death and awarded the family $31 million. The Indiana attorney general’s office appealed the verdict last year.

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