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Lawsuit alleging 'savage beating' by Butler County jail guards tossed

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Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, 1:41 a.m.

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Butler man accusing Butler County correctional officers of “savagely beating” him.

Devon Kuhn, 37, agreed to withdraw his lawsuit, said Marie Milie Jones, a Pittsburgh-based civil rights and employment attorney who represented Butler County in the case.

“The county was pleased that the plaintiff agreed to withdraw his case,” she said. “There were some hurdles in the case, and they made a determination in the case.”

Kuhn's attorney did not return calls seeking comment.

In the suit, Kuhn named Richard Gigliotti, the warden at the time of the alleged May 2009 incident; deputy wardens Arthur Marx Jr. and Richard Shaffer, who has since become warden; and four correctional officers whose names were not listed in the complaint.

Kuhn claimed that the wardens failed to supervise the correctional officers properly and permitted them to “intimidate, threaten and punish detainees and inmates.”

He alleged that Butler County police arrested him on May 19 for trying to steal a bicycle. At the time of his arrest, Kuhn was out on bond on his third DUI charge from a month prior, according to court records.

He was taken to the county jail and, the next day, got into an argument with a correctional officer, the suit claimed. That led to a beating by guards that caused a “severe head injury,” the suit claimed.

Kuhn claimed that his father was told by Gigliotti that Kuhn suffered the injury when he fell off a toilet and was being flown to a Pittsburgh hospital, according to the lawsuit.

Medical personnel determined that Kuhn suffered a blood clot on the left side of his brain.

He underwent surgery and was in a coma for a month, according to the suit.

He then received about two years of treatment.

The suit stated that he suffers from moderate paralysis of his right leg and foot, left hand and wrist and is nearly blind in his left eye.

Kuhn said he cannot operate a vehicle, must have 24-hour supervision for the rest of his life and “will never be a productive member of society.”

The lawsuit sought damages for pain and suffering and medical expenses.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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