Erie County settled a federal civil rights lawsuit with the family of inmate Felix Manus in June.
A federal judge on Monday approved the $1.1 million settlement between Erie County and the family of a work-release inmate who died after suffering an asthma attack during a shift in May 2018.
U.S. District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter approved the settlement in an order filed Monday morning in U.S. District Court in Erie.
Baxter’s approval finalizes the $1.1 million settlement that was previously described in court documents. The Erie Times-News first reported the settlement amount on June 28.
Erie County’s insurance will cover the settlement, though the county will pay a $10,000 deductible. The total settlement is $1,150,000, according to court records.
The family of the inmate, 48-year-old Felix L. Manus, filed the civil rights lawsuit against Erie County in July 2018 on behalf of Manus’ estate. Manus died at UPMC Hamot on June 11, 2018, about two weeks after he suffered the asthma attack during a work-release shift near Edinboro on May 30, 2018.
The suit, which also named two corrections officers as defendants, claimed the officers delayed calling 911 for medical care when Manus suffered the asthma attack and was having trouble breathing.
The suit named Joshua Pietras, a corrections officer, and Roger Herrmann, a lieutenant at the prison, as defendants.
Manus was in the Erie County Prison’s work-release program for failure to pay child support. The suit claimed that the officers brought Manus from Edinboro back to the work-release center, at 450 E. 16th St. in Erie, in a transport van before calling for medical help.
Surveillance videos from the work-release center showed that Manus waited an additional 20 minutes for medical care once he arrived at the work-release center. The Erie Times-News received the videos through a Right-to-Know request in June 2018.
Manus’ family has said that he suffered cardiac arrest because of a lack of oxygen and never regained consciousness after the asthma attack.
After news of the incident became public, Erie County updated its inmate transportation policy to require officers to call 911 first and await medical assistance if an inmate becomes ill.
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office declined to file criminal charges after reviewing the case in September.
Erie County never named the two corrections officers it said were disciplined in connection with the incident and declined to explain what discipline they received. Another Right-to-Know request from the Erie Times-News showed that neither officer was fired or demoted.
Madeleine O’Neill can be reached at 870-1728 or by email. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ETNoneill.