Taser manufacturer sued after man’s death in Marshall

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Dec. 17, 2013, 10:32am

MARSHALL - The family of a deceased Texas man has filed a lawsuit claiming that the man died as a result of receiving too many shocks from a Taser.

C.S. Slade Sr., Dorothy Slade, Kim Spearman, as next friend of two minors, Tanisha Slade, and Heirs of Marcus Dewayne Slade, filed suit against the city of Marshall, Former Police Chief Stanley Spence, John Johnston, Courtney Wells, Stacey Roach and Taser International Inc. on Dec. 12 in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division. 

The suit states the incident occurred on Jan. 4, 2013, when the Marshall Police Department responded to a disturbance call at a duplex apartment on Scoggins Street in Marshall.

According to court records, the police arrived and confronted Marcus Slade, who was near a truck and appeared to be in an agitated state. When Slade stepped away from the truck, it was revealed that he was totally nude and continued acting in an aggressive manner.

Slade was Tasered seven times by various officers during the encounter, the suit claims. He was placed in a police unit for transport and another officer allegedly made a comment about Slade being under the influence of an intoxicating substance.

When the police unit arrived at the Harris County Jail, Slade was discovered to be non-responsive and was eventually pronounced dead, according to the suit.

Defendants Marshall, Spence, Johnston, Roach and Wells are accused of using excessive force and battery with infliction of bodily injury.

Defendant Taser is accused of strict products liability for assembling, marketing, distributing and selling a “defective and unreasonably dangerous” product.

Taser is also accused of negligence for failing to provide adequate warnings regarding repeated or prolonged use, use on persons who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, use on person who are distress, shocked, or fatigued and use on persons with head wounds.

The lawsuit is seeking an award of wrongful death, survival and compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, court costs, exemplary damages and interest.

The plaintiffs are represented by William Todd Hughey of The Hughey Law Firm P.L.L.C. in Marshall. A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:13-cv-01102

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