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Kokomo Resident Settles Lawsuit with City and Coroner Price

Indianapolis, Indiana (January 12, 2015) – On November 5, 2013, Kokomo resident Martha Brittain filed a lawsuit against the City of Kokomo, the Kokomo Police Department, and Coroner Jay Price under cause number 34D04-1311-CT-905. The lawsuit concerned what occurred at Mrs. Brittain's home after she had been admitted to the emergency room and went into a coma. Not long after she was admitted to the hospital, police went to Mrs. Brittain's home after her husband was found deceased on the front porch. Officers entered Mrs. Brittain's home and conducted an investigation. Upon leaving the house that day, a KPD officer or someone from the coroner's office handed the key to the Brittain home to a neighbor. After awakening from her coma approximately two months later, Mrs. Brittain returned to her home and discovered that various items were taken including various electronics and family heirlooms. She sued the City and the Coroner for conversion, replevin, trespass to chattels and negligence.

While a trial had been set for April of 2015 by Judge George Hopkins, the Defendants agreed to resolve the lawsuit through a financial settlement to Mrs. Brittain. "I believe that she is satisfied with the outcome," said Scott Barnhart of Keffer Barnhart LLP, Mrs. Brittain's attorney in the case. Mr. Barnhart stated that the case did not just concern the financial recovery for the property that was taken from her home. He continued, "Rather, she hopes that her case can be seen as an important lesson to local law enforcement and to the Coroner's office that they have an important duty to not only protect citizens' well-being, but also to protect their property. This matter is all the more concerning given that the law enforcement and Coroner's actions took place while Mrs. Brittain was in a coma." The parties have signed and submitted a stipulation of dismissal to the court.