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      Kemppainen suing Houghton County

      The man formerly accused of setting a fire that killed four people in Hancock is now suing Houghton County.

      Forty-nine-year-old Ronald Kemppainen is alleging "cruel and unusual punishment" in his lawsuit against the Houghton County Board of Commissioners and the Sheriff . The complaint was filed with the United States District Court in Marquette on Friday by lawyer Steve Pence.

      The claims include a failure to meet minimal standards for recreation and out-of-cell time. It also cites cell size, overcrowding, and lack of separation as violations of Kemppainen TMs 8th Amendment rights.

      Kemppainen is seeking damages for the physical and emotional injuries he suffered during his more than 14-month incarceration. According to Pence, Kemppainen is doing this because it's "a safety hazard," and he thinks the facility should be improved.

      "It TMs not intended on any level to be hostile," said Pence. "I know they know [the jail is] antiquated and they put it to a vote."

      Just last fall, Houghton County voters overwhelmingly defeated a proposal for a new justice center, even though many officials stressed the fact that it could cost taxpayers much more if the county was sued.

      As of Monday morning, neither defendant had been served, though Pence said he had notified the county's lawyer after filing on Friday.