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Federal appeals court reverses damages awarded related to fatal Mississippi prison fight

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JACKSON, Mississippi — Damages levied against a Mississippi prison guard cited for recklessness during a 2007 fight in which an inmate died and two others were injured have been reversed by a federal appeals court.

Corrections officer Sharon Hampton and others were sued by the family of slain inmate Donald Reed Jr. and the injured inmates in 2008.

In 2012, a federal jury in Aberdeen, Mississippi, ordered Hampton — the only defendant left — to pay $25,000 to each of the two injured inmates and $100,000 to Reed's family.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week threw out the damages award. The court says the families didn't prove that Hampton's actions during fight rose to the level of deliberate indifference to the inmates' safety.

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