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Mahoning County to pay fees to law firm

  Legal Business  -   POSTED: 2007/06/29 13:43

Mahoning County commissioners approved paying legal fees of $99,500 Thursday to the law firm that sued the county in 2003 for having an overcrowded and unsafe jail. Prosecutor Paul Gains explained the fees were for work the firm Armbruster and Kelly of Akron did while working out a consent decree that detailed what would be needed to get the jail fully reopened and in compliance with the U.S. Constitution. That effort was completed May 17, when three federal judges signed a court entry that established standards for jail staffing, improvement of jail conditions, the reopening of jail facilities by Aug. 1, an allotment of jail beds for Youngstown city prisoners and an emergency prisoner-release policy to prevent future overcrowding.

In 2005, the lawyers won what Gains calls the liability phase of the case, in which U.S. District Judge David D. Dowd Jr. sided with the inmates and took control of the lockup.

Generally the losing party in a case pays the winning party's legal fees.

The county's insurance company, the County Risk Sharing Authority, also known as CORSA, paid the legal fees associated with the liability phase, Gains said.

But CORSA argued it shouldn't responsible for the fees associated with the consent agreement, Gains said, and he agreed to assign his staff to represent the county in that matter and to pay Armbruster and Kelly's fees.


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