Sunday, August 7, 2022

New Hanover County pays $35,000 to former detainee in settlement

(File photo) A several year old court case has required New Hanover County to pay $35,000
(File photo) A several year old court case has required New Hanover County to pay $35,000

WILMINGTON — A four-year-old court case that reached the U.S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit in 2016 has returned to New Hanover County and is on the consent agenda for the county commissioners this week.

According to New Hanover County documents, “The Michael Anthony Dilworth v. New Hanover County Sheriff lawsuit was resolved by payment of $35,000 by the insurance company.”

In 2013, Dilworth was awaiting trial in the New Hanover County Detention Facility where he spent 85 days in disciplinary segregation as punishment for two separate infractions, according to court documents. One incident was an altercation between Dilworth and another inmate at New Hanover County Detention Facility, and the second involved an altercation with correctional officers.

Dilworth filed a lawsuit against “various detention facility officials,” on the grounds that his procedural due process rights were violated by not granting him a hearing before being punished and placed in segregation. An excessive force complaint was also filed against officers at the facility.

The charges against Dilworth were for failure to appear in court as ordered, but he had not yet been tried, according to the documents.

Detention facility staff placed Dilworth in segregation on May 11, 2013, for 45 days. Dilworth argued he was wrongfully punished because he was not the aggressor in the incident – his appeal to get out of solitary confinement was denied on the basis that a “videotape of the incident did not make clear who started the fight or how,” according to the case brief.

The County Commissioners are not required to take any action, and the money has been paid to the plaintiff, Communications and Outreach Coordinator Jessica Loeper said.

“North Carolina statute requires the settlement of any lawsuit to be placed in the minutes of the commissioner meeting,” she said.

_____________________________________________________________________-Michael Praats can be reached via email, Michael.p@localvoicemedia.com

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