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ONLINE EXCLUSIVE - New trial in Dixon estate civil case?

Cary Ashby • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:01 PM

There could be a new civil trial to determine damages in the 2004 stabbing death of an 11-year-old foster girl.

"Nothing has been scheduled or set," said Toledo attorney Joan Szuberla, who represented the county in the March trial. "It's hanging out there."

Huron County Common Pleas Court recently scheduled a Jan. 22 hearing to determine the amount of attorney fees the plaintiff, Connre Dixon's estate, might receive from the county.

On March 23, a jury determined the defendants, the Huron County Department of Job & Family Services and the Huron County Commissioners in 2004, should pay $600,000 to Dixon's estate.

Visiting Judge Judith Cross ruled in mid-October to reduce the amount by half a million dollars. The judge wrote that the original verdict was excessive, saying the jury "lost its way" and called the $600,000 "not justifiable under the law."

Cross gave Willard attorney Jim Martin, who represented Dixon's estate, 21 days to accept or reject her ruling. Because he didn't accept, Szuberla said, there could be a new trial on damages. Martin was unavailable for comment Monday.

Szuberla noted that both sides could appeal the results of the first trial.

"That appeal might happen. ... It's very complicated," she said. "Will that trial happen anytime soon? It's hard to tell."

Former Monroeville foster father Paul Efaw is serving three years in the Hocking Correctional Facility for Dixon's Oct. 18, 2004 stabbing death. Attorneys originally named Efaw as a defendant in a subsequent civil lawsuit, but he was dismissed without explanation before jury selection began in the March trial.

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