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‘We will have to pay for that’ | Petition fails, former incarcerated persons held too long in Metro Corrections

It's a lawsuit that could cost Louisville millions. A new federal court ruling denies the city's petition, meaning the case moves forward.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Former persons incarcerated say their rights were violated when they were held at Metro Corrections for hours and even days after they were supposed to be released.

In a 2017 lawsuit, one formerly incarcerated plaintiff said he was sentenced to 3 days in jail and instead spent 5 days at Metro Corrections.

In January, the plaintiff pool widened by the thousands when a district court judge granted a class action lawsuit.

Now, any person imprisoned for four hours or more, after their time was served at LMDC, is now represented in the case. That is, if they can prove a failure on behalf of Metro Corrections.

On Nov. 24, an appellate court judge denied Metro Government's petition to that previous ruling.

“It's hard for me to put my arms around right now,” Jim Ballinger said. The attorney representing the plaintiffs tried to answer how many people are now included in the class action. He said his last estimate was in the thousands.

RELATED: Woman incarcerated at Metro Corrections, dies

As the time period stretches on, that number increases.

He said, “It is in the multi-double digit thousands, many, many people,” are now included in the class action (from February 2016 to present).

With precedents like Los Angeles and Washington DC, Ballinger said the number wasn't nearly as large, so this could be a record payout for Louisville.

WHAS11 News asked Metro Council president David James what he thought of the issue. He said it's a big problem.

"It causes problems with their employment, their children, their families, everything,” he said. “On top of that, this lawsuit, we will have to pay for that.”

It's not a done deal yet, Metro Government has a few options.

They could ask for the case to be reviewed or even sent to the Supreme Court.

We reached out to see, but were told Metro Government does not comment on pending litigation.

RELATED: Incarcerated woman found unresponsive at Metro Corrections dies at hospital

 Contact reporter Tom Lally at TLally@whas11.com or on Facebook or Twitter.  

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