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Ryan Ferguson sues for remaining part of settlement

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Ryan Ferguson, the man awarded $11 million for his wrongful incarceration, is suing to get the rest of his money.

The lawsuit filed against St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company seeks to recoup $8.254 million Ferguson's attorney, Michael Berry, believes it owes Ferguson. The company, doing business as Travelers Insurance, covered the city of Columbia for law enforcement liability from 2006 to 2011 for up to $2 million a year.

Ferguson sued the city in 2014, along with the six police detectives who accused him of killing Kent Heitholt, for his time spent in the Boone County Jail and Jefferson City Correctional Center. Ferguson was released from prison in 2013 after an appellate court vacated his conviction for second-degree murder. Both sides reached a settlement in July, and Judge Nanette Laughrey awarded Ferguson $11,004,000 in emotional damages and attorneys fees.

The insurance company notified the city in 2014 that it would not protect the city or the officers in the lawsuit, since the alleged "wrongful acts" of the officers happened before it started providing coverage.

The city has paid Ferguson $2.75 million so far for the settlement through its current liability insurance and with self-insured retention.

Ferguson's lawsuit claims that the damages in question happened during the time Travelers covered the city - five years of his incarceration. Travelers' denial to cover the city, Berry argued, put the officers at risk, and left them "no choice" but to settle the lawsuit.

 


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