Lawyer: Potential Vaughn Lawsuits Could be Costly - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lawyer: Potential Vaughn Lawsuits Could be Costly

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The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, Del. (Photo: WBOC) The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna, Del. (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. -- A longtime lawyer in Delaware believes potential lawsuits following the deadly hostage situation at the Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna could be expensive for the state, potentially costing millions of dollars.

Georgetown Attorney John Brady, a longtime lawyer in Delaware, said he expects the state could find itself paying significantly more money to the family of correctional officer Steven Floyd, who was found dead after law enforcement stormed Building C at the prison and resolved the prison uprising, than the $1.6 million settlement it made with a counselor who was held hostage and raped in 2004.

"We've never had a death of a correctional officer before and however that gets resolved, the wrongful death rates higher than an assault," he said.

Tom Neuberger, a Wilmington attorney representing Floyd's family and estate, as well as two correctional officers also held hostage and three maintenance workers who were in the building, has indicated he intends to pursue legal action against the state and sent a letter to Gov. John Carney demanding relatives like Floyd's wife receive more information about the autopsy.

Additionally, Delaware could face a class-action lawsuit from Dover Attorney Steve Hampton, who said he has received more than 100 letters from inmates who claimed they have been beaten and treated inhumanely since the Feb. 1 incident.

"Whether it can be a class action or not, I can't make that determination but there are certainly enough affected for it to be a class," he said.

Donald Parkell, an inmate at Vaughn who has previously filed legal motions against the state, has also filed a federal lawsuit connected to the inmate uprising.

Department of Correction officials have declined to comment Neuberger and Parkell's lawsuits. Numerous phone calls by WBOC seeking comment on the claims raised in letters sent to Hampton have not been returned.

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