Becker County commissioners met in closed session Tuesday with attorney Bill Everett to discuss a civil suit filed against the county by a former jail inmate.
In 2018, Kyle Rusness, 37, of Detroit Lakes filed a multi-million dollar federal lawsuit against Becker County and several county employees.
According to a 14-page complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Rusness was "near death" when he was taken to a hospital after spending 2.5 weeks in the Becker County jail. Court documents say Rusness was suffering from "life threatening anemia" and bleeding into his brain and both eyes.
In the complaint, attorney Oliver Nelson of Minneapolis says the county showed "deliberate and inhumane indifference" to his client's condition. He's asking for at least $3 million.
Rusness had been in Becker County custody in connection with a burglary charge between Jan. 17, 2015 and Feb. 3, 2015.
Everett said no action was taken by the County Board on Tuesday. Rather, he met with commissioners to provide an update and have a discussion about the litigation under the attorney-client privilege.
The litigation remains pending, he said. The period for conducting discovery expired in June. Pre-trial motions for dismissal and summary judgment are due by the middle of August. No firm trial date has been set, and he is not sure of what implications that COVID-19 may have on future scheduling.
Everett, of the law firm Everett & VanderWiel, PLLP, of Buffalo, Minn., was hired by the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust, which insures Minnesota counties.