Jury awards tourists $650K in Katrina jail suit

AP News
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Posted: Oct 14, 2010 3:21 PM
Jury awards tourists $650K in Katrina jail suit

A federal jury in New Orleans has awarded more than $650,000 to two Ohio tourists arrested for public drunkenness and jailed for more than a month in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina.

The jury concluded Thursday that Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman falsely imprisoned Robie (RAH'-bee) Waganfeald and Paul Kunkel Jr. They also found that one of Gusman's chief deputies violated their constitutional rights by not allowing them to use a phone.

The men claimed they were illegally held in inhumane conditions after the jail flooded. They asked the jury to award them more than $1.3 million.

A lawyer for Gusman says the sheriff's office did an outstanding job caring for and protecting inmates during the 2005 storm's aftermath.