Tuesday, July 10, 2018

$675,000 to be paid to woman injured in the El Paso County jail

Posted By on Tue, Jul 10, 2018 at 11:51 AM

click to enlarge Pippa McCully is manhandled in the jail by El Paso County deputies. - U.S. DISTRICT COURT FILING
  • U.S. District Court filing
  • Pippa McCully is manhandled in the jail by El Paso County deputies.
A woman who was injured in the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center in April 2014 will be paid $675,000 in a settlement arranged by the county's insurance carrier.

The Board of County Commissioners acknowledged the settlement at its July 10 meeting.

The case involved Philippa "Pippa" Grace McCully, who was 21 when she was arrested for trying to drive her car into four people. Then a college junior, McCully was taking prescription drugs at the time for a medical condition, according to news reports.

While at the jail, McCully suffered head and knee injuries and bruising after a deputy used a leg sweep to knock her down. Undersheriff Joe Breister told commissioners the movement that resulted in McCully's injury has been banned from use in the jail.

McCully later was given probation on a single count of menacing.

Assistant County Attorney Lisa Kirkman told commissioners on July 10 the county's excess insurance carrier agreed to the settlement to avoid additional attorney fees and a possible high jury award. She said the county spent $250,000 on defense attorneys, thereby triggering the excess carrier's involvement, which handled the case. The county neither admits nor denies to any wrongdoing by acknowledging the settlement, she said.

"So the $675,000 settlement — that is money paid by the excess insurance carrier, not paid by the citizens of El Paso County," Commissioner Mark Waller emphasized.

The acknowledgement of the settlement was handled as an emergency item, because the agreement required confirmation by July 12, and commissioners don't have a meeting on that date.

The incident occurred in Terry Maketa's final year as sheriff. He left office on Dec. 31, 2014, two weeks before his third term expired, accused of creating a hostile work environment by favoring certain female employees with whom he allegedly had sexual relationships.

McCully filed a lawsuit in April 2016. The payment could be the highest settlement amount ever paid due to an El Paso County matter. In recent years, the county paid $300,000 in two different cases. In 2010, the county settled a lawsuit filed by the mother of toddler Alize Vick, who was killed in 2007 by a foster mother who had previously been the subject of Department of Human Services complaints. The county also settled in 2013 with the family of Christine Vargas, who was shot and killed in 2011 on South Nevada Avenue as she drove away from deputies trying to serve a warrant.

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