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St. Croix jail lawsuit settles for $1 million

St. Croix County, its insurer and a company that provided medical services to inmates have agreed to pay $1 million to the family of a 28-year-old man who died in jail.

An out-of-court settlement was reached with the family of Brandon Lee Hessler, New Richmond, who died March 18, 2007, three days after being booked into the county jail in Hudson.

U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb approved the agreement last Thursday.

The settlement calls for St. Croix County and Wisconsin Municipal Mutual Insurance Company to pay $812,500 and for Health Professionals Ltd. and its insurance company to pay $187,500.

The county is responsible for its $250,000 deductible, said St. Croix Corporation Counsel Greg Timmerman Monday.

Hessler's parents, Dan Hessler of Arden Hills, Minn., and Halleigh Hall of New Richmond, filed a wrongful death suit in Eau Claire County in February 2008.

A month later the suit, against Sheriff Dennis Hillstead and several St. Croix County jailers, was moved to federal court.

For more, see the May 6 print edition of the River Falls Journal or the Hudson Star-Observer.