Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess settles brutality suit for $400K against Lafayette Parish Sheriff Office
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office paid $400,000 to settle a federal brutality lawsuit for the 2014 alleged beating of an inmate.
Jason Brungardt, 41, of Lafayette, filed the suit last year after he said two former deputies — Brandon Gallien, 29 of Opelousas, and Michael McSheffrey, 35 of Lafayette — beat and pepper sprayed him in the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center in April 2014. He also alleged two other former deputies, Adrian Theriot and Scarla Celestine, knew about the beating but did nothing.
Brungardt had four fractured ribs and a punctured lung from the alleged beating, according to the suit, which was closed last month. He remained hospitalized for three days before returning to the LPCC.
Brungardt is represented in his police brutality lawsuit by Attorney Clay Burgess with the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess. The terms of the settlement were signed last week in Kansas, where Brungardt now lives. He received the $400,000 payment in one lump sum from the Sheriff’s insurance company. The settlement ends the claims against Sheriff Michael Neustron and the four deputies. According to the settlement agreement, it “is not to be construed as an admission of liability, criminal intent, act or conspiracy,”.
Gallien and McSheffrey were both charged with second degree battery and malfeasance in office after the alleged beating, and are awaiting trial. Brunghart is also awaiting trial for his April charges. He is accused of second degree battery, aggravated assault, possession of marijuana and self-mutilation by a prisoner.
Theriot and Celestine also were arrested for principle to battery and malfeasance in office. The DA’s office declined to purse the charge against Theriot, and has not pursued those against Celestine.
All four deputies involved were fired three weeks after the episode and arrested in June and booked on counts of second-degree battery and malfeasance in office.
As of late Wednesday, no attorney had enrolled to represent either McSheffrey or Gallien in their cases. Their arraignments are set for March 24, and both men face up to 13 years in prison and up to $7,000 in fines.
It’s unclear how long the deputies had been working for the Sheriff’s Office when the incident occurred. Capt. John Babin, a Sheriff’s Office spokesman, was not immediately available Wednesday afternoon for comment
When law enforcement officers abuse their power it is a breach of the public trust. The physical abuse received by an officer can leave lasting physical and emotion damage. Injuries can require significant medical intervention. Medical bills and loss of income can be a major financial burden. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of abuse, you need an attorney familiar with police brutality lawsuit procedures. Call the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess to schedule a FREE case evaluation. Our firm works on a contingency fee basis. If we do not collect a financial return on your behalf, you don’t owe us for our services.