Settlement reached in Fresno in Steven Vargas wrongful-death case

Fresno BeeJanuary 5, 2012 

A settlement has been reached between the city of Fresno and the family of Steven Vargas, the man whose shooting death led to a high-profile federal trial last month.

Both sides have reached an agreement, which must be approved by the Fresno City Council. The council emerged from closed session this morning and said a news conference to discuss the Vargas case will be scheduled for this afternoon at City Hall. The Vargas case was on the council's closed-session agenda today.

This morning in Fresno federal court, both sides agreed to a payment amount for the five children named in the Vargas family's lawsuit against the city, police Chief Jerry Dyer and Sgt. Mike Palomino, who shot and killed Vargas in October 2009.

Last month, a federal jury found Palomino used excessive and unreasonable force in the shooting and unanimously found the city liable for Vargas' death. But the jury cleared Dyer of any wrongdoing and didn't hold Palomino personally responsible.

That complex ruling set up the next phase of the case, with U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii scheduling a Jan. 18 start for a trial to establish how much money the city owed the Vargas family.

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