Nassau County officials have an absolute duty to ensure the safety of inmates, and cannot claim limitations on liability for noneconomic loss, an Eastern District federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Arthur D. Spatt, setting the stage for last week’s $1.6 million verdict in the case of Rangolan v. The County of Nassau, said jail officials had “one of the highest nondelegable duties” to protect inmate Neville Rangolan from being attacked by a fellow prisoner.