On July 5, the City of Columbia, including six current or former Columbia Police Officers and Clarendon Insurance, entered into a settlement agreement in connection with the Ryan Ferguson litigation.
The officers involved in the litigation maintain that they conducted a thorough, professional and ethical investigation into the murder of Kent Heitholt and deny they violated Mr. Ferguson's constitutional rights.
However, in order to avoid a lengthy, difficult, and uncertain trial on the issue of liability, in which some of the insurers that issued policies to the City of Columbia have denied that they have a duty to cover the officers in the Lawsuit filed by Mr. Ferguson, the parties have agreed to settle the liability portion of the Lawsuit which includes having the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri enter a consent judgment on the liability portion of the Lawsuit.
Additionally, Clarendon Insurance will pay its insurance policy limit of $2.25 million dollars and the City of Columbia will pay its self-insured retention of $500,000. The settlement agreement limits the monetary damages recoverable from the City, Clarendon and the officers to a total of $2.75 million.
A bench trial to assess damages was held on Monday, July 10, 2017 in the District Court. The District Court entered a Judgment that exceeds the settlement amount, but the excess amount of that Judgment would only be able to be satisfied from the proceeds of the denying insurance companies, not the City of Columbia, the officers or Clarendon Insurance.
Due the interest in this case and subsequent records requests, the settlement agreement is attached to this release.