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Civil suit against former marshals now on track; settlement conf - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Civil suit against former marshals now on track; settlement conference ordered

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Jeremy Mardis Jeremy Mardis

The lawsuit filed by the family of a six-year-old shot and killed by Marksville City Marshals has resumed, and a settlement conference has been ordered, court records show. 

The family of Jeremy Mardis, 6, who died in the December 2015 incident, and his father, Christopher Few, who was wounded, filed suit against the two men, Derrick Stafford and Norris Greenhouse Jr., both of whom are now in prison - as well as the Marksville City Marshal, Marksville City Court, the town of Marksville, Avoyelles Parish, the town's insurance company, another deputy city marshal and a Marksville police officer. The suit alleges the two men caused Mardis' wrongful death while acting under color of law. 

Since the suit was filed, Stafford was convicted of manslaughter and attempted manslaughter during a trial. He is serving a 40-year sentence. Greenhouse pleaded guilty to a charge of negligent homicide and malfeasance in office, and is serving a 7.5-year sentence on those charges.

The plaintiffs in the case had asked the federal court where the lawsuit was filed to place all proceedings on hold until the criminal cases were over. After Greenhouse was sentenced in October, that stay was lifted and the civil suit got back on track. 

Now the court has ordered the parties to try to settle the case. The action, which is routine in federal civil cases, involves the judge ordering both sides to make significant efforts to settle the case - in other words, do more than make a demand or an offer of settlement. 

On March 14, the attorneys for all parties will have a telephone conference with the judge to report what they've done to try to settle the case. They'll then have until March 28 and 29, when the settlement conference with the judge will take place. Before that, each party will be able to send a confidential settlement position paper to the judge - so that the judge will be familiar with everybody's position before the conference takes place. 

When the conference does take place, everybody who has authority over a settlement agreement has to be there. If settlement attempts fail, the case will likely be set for trial. 

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