On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Wednesday, February 13, 2013.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult under the best of circumstances. When there are unusual circumstances surrounding such a death, it is all the more difficult to handle. Cleveland residents may be interested in the story of a wrongful death case in which a man died of an overdose of pepper spray while in police custody.

In 2009, a woman called the police when her husband began acting erratically. She asked the officers to take him to the hospital so he could get medication. Instead, the officers booked the man into jail on disorderly intoxication charges. The judge’s order for the trial states the man was sprayed more than 12 times.

Ultimately, the man died as a result of the spraying. The coroner’s report states the death is a “homicide due to OC poisoning,” which may place the liability for his death on the law enforcement officers. OC is oleoresin capsicum and is the main ingredient in pepper spray. The judge in the case stated that jurors could conclude police corrections officers were “simply attempting to harm” the man.

The man’s widow has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. It alleges that while the man was in jail, he was sprayed with pepper spray 10 times in a 48-hour period while in a restraint chair. The case will be heard later this year.

Dealing with the wrongful death of a loved one is difficult. Despite the emotional turmoil associated with the death, researching possible legal action to cover funeral expenses, and the pain and suffering associated with the death may be necessary. If a loved one was the victim of a fatal accident that was due to the negligence or wrongful act of another, you may have recourse to a wrongful death claim due to their untimely passing. To explore those options, please seek out competent legal counsel.

Source: My Fox Tampa Bay, “Pepper spray death headed for trial,” Doug Smith, Jan. 31, 2013