Who Pays For Settlements

Who pays the settlements in murder case lawsuits? Insurance is expected to cover Cass County’s payments and costs associated with the lawsuit settlements with Nicholas Sampson and Matthew Livers. Cass County Board Chairwoman Janet McCartney said her recent conversations with insurance representatives and the attorney representing Cass County left her with the understating the county is covered.

The Cassgram details how both Sampson and Livers spent months in Cass County Jail charged with murder until released Two Wisconsin residents pled guilty and are in prison for the shotgun slayings of Wayne and Sharmon Stock at their rural Murdock farmhouse in April of 2006.

The suits said Cass County Sheriff’s Department and Nebraska State Patrol investigators conducted a coercive interrogation of Livers that led to a false confession and the implication of Sampson, his cousin. Also, a Douglas County crime scene investigator was convicted of a felony for planting evidence in a car in the cases against Livers and Sampson. A separate lawsuit is still pending against that investigator.

The matters have been pending for years. Sampson’s lawsuit was filed in the spring of 2007 and Livers’ suit was filed in the spring of 2008. There were a series of pre-trial filings and decisions along the way as the cases merged. A federal court ruling last November allowed the civil rights violation lawsuits to proceed after the defendants had filed a motion to dismiss.

Sampson’s $965,000 agreement was announced by his attorney on Friday. The Omaha World-Herald reports the settlement with Livers totaled $1.65 million. Cass County’s payments will total about $1.5 million in the two settlements. (NSP and Douglas County will pay the balance.) The settlements will be a county board agenda item, probably at one of the two regular meetings in November, said McCartney.

Cass County is insured through the Nebraska Intergovernmental Risk Management Association (NIRMA), a not-for-profit, member-owned and operated risk management and self-insurance pool designed by and expressly for Nebraska counties.

NIRMA hired the attorney that represented Cass County through the pre-trial motions and negotiations.

McCartney said deductibles on the insurance policy have already been met and a 2013-14 budget adjustment is not anticipated.

It is too early to determine what impact the settlements may have on county insurance rates but McCartney did note that the county had a good year in terms of claims last year and the county received a $31,321 premium dividend check from NIRMA.

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