Family settles lawsuit in Belmar man’s death

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BELMAR — The family of Timothy J. Harden, a Belmar man who died in 2015 after being arrested at a music festival, has settled its wrongful death lawsuit with Howell Township, where the event took place.

According to a release signed on Nov. 6, 2017 by Theresa Taylor, the administratrix of the Estate of Timothy J. Harden, and Melissa Barna — Mr. Harden’s sisters — the family agreed to settlement of $350,000 from Howell Township.

Mr. Harden died in police custody after he suddenly stopped breathing following an altercation with security personnel, who said he had been acting in a belligerent manner while volunteering at the Souper Groove Music Festival.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Thomas Mallon, alleged excessive force/deadly force, unlawful seizure, failure to intervene, supervisory liability, unlawful practice/inadequate training, civil rights violations, assault and battery, negligent hiring and training and negligence by the Howell Police Department.

However, a March 17, 2016 grand jury report found that Howell police officers responding to the incident had acted responsibly and that no criminal charges should be filed.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said that Mr. Harden’s death was ruled by the medical examiner to have been “an accident” and caused by “drug-induced excited delirium.”

According to the prosecutor’s office, toxicology reports revealed that Mr. Harden had cocaine, alcohol and marijuana in his system when he died.

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.