Award against Richland County sheriff reduced to $300,000

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A judge has ruled a trial was fair when a jury awarded a woman $1.6 million for what she said was harassment by Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and his deputies.

But The State newspaper reports that Circuit Judge William Keesley reduced the award to $300,000, which is the maximum allowed against a government agency.

Lawyers for Kay Paschal argued she was hounded by Richland County deputies before her arrest and was strip searched and tossed in jail before a judge dismissed a forgery and breach of trust charge.

Paschal’s lawyers say she was a caretaker and common-law wife of Columbia businessman David Wallace, whose $6 million estate was challenged after he died. The charges against Paschal stemmed from a $63,000 van bought after Wallace suffered a stroke.

———

Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com