US appeals court rules against jail guard sued after brawl

CINCINNATI (AP) — A divided federal appeals court panel has ruled that an Ohio county shouldn’t have to pay for the defense of a jail guard being sued by an inmate over their 2012 jailhouse brawl.

The Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2-1 decision Friday overturns a lower court ruling that Portage County in northeast Ohio had a duty to defend fired corrections officer Connie Sutton. The county was also sued by Holly Anderson, who claims she was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.

The appellate ruling says Sutton would be entitled to a paid defense if she acted with good faith within her job duties, but found she was inflicting “gratuitous physical punishment” by pepper-spraying Anderson twice after she was no longer a threat.

Sutton claimed she acted in self-defense. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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