Man files claim against county

June 20, 2003 12:00 am

By SCOTT PESZNECKER

An Arnold man has filed a multimillion dollar claim against Calaveras County for injuries he says he suffered at the hands of county jail guards.

Charles Marsh is asking the county for $5 million to pay for present and future medical bills and lost income. His claim, filed with the county clerk, said jail guards assaulted him after he was arrested for allegedly drinking and driving.

At their regular meeting at 10 a.m. Monday, the Board of Supervisors will vote as part of their consent agenda whether to grant Marsh's claim. Calaveras County Counsel Skip Batchelder said he is recommending that supervisors reject the claim.

Marsh was arrested, cited and released on the morning of Jan. 16 on suspicion of drunken driving. A criminal complaint filed Feb. 6 charges him with two counts of misdemeanor drunken driving.

A state Department of Justice report said Marsh's blood-alcohol level was .20 percent. The legal limit is .08 percent.

The complaint also charged Marsh with a misdemeanor count of resisting, delaying or obstructing peace officers while at the county jail a couple of hours after his arrest.

But that's when Marsh was allegedly assaulted by officers, said Daryl Lander, Marsh's Cameron Park attorney.

In the claim he filed with the county, Marsh says jail guards assaulted him and committed "intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress."

According to the claim, Marsh broke his left hip and injured his neck and shoulder.

Other than to say that Marsh's claim is "not founded," Batchelder said he could not comment on what happened that morning at the county jail.

"We believe there is no liability on the part of the county or the officers involved," Batchelder said.

The guards named in Marsh's claim are Josh Gillespie, Dustin Galliazzo and Chad Roots.

Calaveras County Sheriff Dennis Downum could not be reached for comment.

Marsh pleaded not guilty to all three counts on March 25. His trial begins Aug. 20.