Gage County Found Not Liable for Jail Inmate Death

BEATRICE – A District Judge has ruled that Gage County and its sheriff were not liable in the hanging death of a jail inmate, July 4th, of 2013.

Judge Julie Smith issued her ruling in a lawsuit brought by Rhonda Reiber, the administrator of the estate of Chad Gesin, who died one week after hanging himself from a cell door with a section of blanket, in the Gage County Jail. He died at a Lincoln hospital, after being removed from life support.

The lawsuit sought one-million dollars in damages and followed a grand jury investigation that found no criminal wrongdoing on the part of sheriff’s office and county corrections.

A two-day bench trial on the liability issue was held in late January, with Judge Smith issuing her ruling today.  She ruled the county and jail staff were acting with “due care in accordance with rules of the Jail Standards Board”.

Judge Smith ruled the county did not have reasonable foresight to know that Gesin posed a risk to himself.  She also said the sheriff’s office staff was well trained and that no evidence was offered to show staff could have done more to prevent the suicide.  Her ruling stated that there was no evidence presented to prove negligent hiring or supervision….and that because it was not reasonably foreseeable that Gesin posed a threat to himself, there was no reason to believe he needed to be transferred to a mental health facility.

The judge ordered each side to pay their own attorney fees.

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